New Books This Week

Another fine week for reading. From top to bottom, they are: Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin by Kristin Brace, The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Narrator by Bragi Olaffson, Salvage issue #5, and Jacobin issue #30.

Kristin announced Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin at a reading back in, I think, late April. This is her first book, and it is wonderful!

I picked up The Cooking Gene and Kitchen Confidential at the We Are Lit popup bookstore, which was set up in the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids. They are run entirely online, with occasional popups, and have an excellently curated selection of books.

Narrator came in as the most recent volume from my subscription to Open Letter Books.

Salvage is an interesting journal based in England, to which I subscribed on a whim. I discovered it during an afternoon of reading leftist fiction and researching different -punk subgenres. I came across a reference to “salvagepunk” and, upon further inquiry, this was one of the top results, with China Mieville’s name displayed prominently. I honestly never expected to receive any issues of this, but here it is, and it is a thing of beauty.

Receiving a new issue of Jacobin is always a pleasure. The writing is top-notch, the content important and interesting (particularly in the current pre-apocalyptic political climate), and the physical artifact is a thing of beauty.

New Books This Week

pile of books

This was a good week for books. From top to bottom: Selected Poems of Sergei Yesenin, Voronezh Notebooks by Osip Mandelstam, First Love and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev, Selected Poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky, The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, Celadon by Ian Haight, Granta issue #144, Apex Magazine Issue 110, and Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.

For links to these authors, books and publishers, please see their listings on my 2018 Reading List page.

Thanks to a small gift card from work, I was able to pick up the four Russian authors from Amazon.com. They are unusual-enough titles that I didn’t want to burden the local bookstores with hunting them down. The Watts and Roanhorse books I ordered from Books and Mortar here in Grand Rapids, and I have ongoing subscriptions to the two journals. I picked up Ian Haight’s book at a small signing in Lowell this past Monday. It was great to finally meet Ian, after publishing him in Issue 1.3 of The 3288 Review, back in early 2016.

Since I just finished reading At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell and Paternus by Dyrk Ashton, Trail of Lightning is currently at the top of the to-read pile, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Some Recent Literary Aquisitions

A small bonus from work allowed me to pick up a few books which have been on my want list for some time. Yeah, I have eclectic reading tastes. From top to bottom, they are: New Kind of Rebellion, by Rachel Gleason; The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang; Ambiguity Machines by Vandana Singh; Afrofuturism by Ytasha L. Womack; New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich; and The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.

ConFusion 2018: Poetry in Novels

(These are my lightly edited notes for a panel I participated in at the ConFusion Fantasy and Science Fiction Convention in January of 2018)

THE PANEL: Poetry in Novels (21 January 2018, 10:00)

PANELISTS: Amal El-Mohtar, Clif Flynt, Jeff Pryor, John Winkelman, Mari Ness

DESCRIPTION: “Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass include lengthy poems, placing them in a long tradition of long-form fiction that incorporates poetry into the work. How does writing poems for prose fiction differ from writing poems that stand alone? What distinct techniques does it require? Where do poems within stories exist in the landscape of genre poetry today?”

PRE-PANEL NOTES

PANEL NOTES

  • Poetry can be time-shifted in relation to the story in which it appears
    • In situ, as a bard or skald composes a poem based on events as they are happening
    • Used to imply history/world-building for the setting. An epic poem is written between the time of the events which it recounts and the time in which it is read.
    • The poem itself can be placed in a specific place in history based on written style or language or word usage.
  • Poetry can be used for world-building, either experienced by the characters or as related by the narrator.

MY THOUGHTS

Boy, did I over-think this one–in part because I love poetry, and in part because Amal El-Mohtar was also on the panel and I wanted to bring my “A” game.