:: Buzzwords Archive: January 2010. Click here for the latest posts.

ampere’s and (published 19/01/2010)


Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:

How artistic theft has been provoking anger, jealousy and insults since Roman times

& Haruki Murakami‘s Pinball 1973 back in print [via LHB / read 3:AM‘s interview with Murakami from last year]

Ken Baumann on Clarice Lispector‘s The Passion According to G.H.

& Paul A.Toth on Maurice Blanchot‘s The Writing of the Disaster

& Grievous Jones Review on Darran Anderson‘s poetry collection Tesla’s Ghost

& Lookshelves: the site for literary voyeurs [via @ElectricLit]

[Image: Francisco Javier de Santiago y Palomares]

ampere’s and (published 18/01/2010)


Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:

The beards of Hamlet

& Elmore Leonard’s dialogue

& A profusion of Peake

& Paul Morley interviews Brian Eno

& Gene Myers interviews Pete Seeger

& Christiana Spens interviews Gavin James Bower (& 3:AM‘s interview with Spens)

& The legacy of Polish poster design

& BaudrillardThe Murder of the Real

[Image: Ulysses: fast track to 1934 best seller]

Caleb woz ere (published )


Caleb J. Ross finished up his blog orgy tour in support of his recently published Charactered Pieces with a week-long stint on Buzzwords. Here’s his week digested:

Brought to you by Caleb J Ross. The first name in durability. The last name in class Caleb’s welcome post

Part one in a one part series of cartoons based on blog posts I recently read Caleb’s rebuttal to the impossibility of music influencing literature

Dear 3:AM Magazine Aw, shucks, a love letter to 3:AM (compromising photograph included)

Five for: Scott C. Rogers of Black Coffee Press

ampere’s and Caleb’s lit links from around the web

We can smell bullshit. We thrive on passion Why hocking your book to a bunch of strangers ain’t always cool

AWP and Me Things to do in Denver in April with Caleb.

You can read an interview we did with Caleb back in October of last year. Better yet, show him some love and read his book.

3:AM Reloaded (published 17/01/2010)


What you (may have) missed on 3:AM recently:

Fiction: ‘Lesson for My Son III’, an excerpt from badbadbad, a multimedia novel by Jesús Ángel García; ‘Ceramica’ by Catherine Foulkrod

Reviewed: John Holten on Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2010

Interviewed: Caleb J. Ross, guest blogger on Buzzwords last week, puts five questions to Black Coffee Press’ Scott C. Rogers

Poetry: Marek Kazmierski on Melissa Mann’s collection Baby, I’m Ready To Go; Darran Anderson’s Van Gogh’s Ear:

We consider the legacy of William Blake at a crucial point. For many many years, his was a neglected reputation that had fallen into disrepair. Gradually through the efforts of historians, writers and artists with commendable foresight (the first of which was notably WB Yeats) and also the simple fact that his work in both poetry and painting is incontrovertibly astounding, he was rehabilitated and the accolades, for what little they’re worth, have generously flowed since. The danger now is that posthumously Blake is made that most contemptible of things; a national institution. He is, friends, being embalmed and elevated by the very establishment that metaphorically defecated from a great height on him and his kind, now that his betters can shill a small fortune from exhibitions and auctions. Once William Blake’s legacy was in danger of perishing through disregard, now it dies on the dissecting table of English Literature courses.

More chilling still is his adoption by the denizens of Middle England due to the wholesale theft of the hymn Jerusalem (adapted from the preface of his poem Milton; “And did those feet in ancient time…”) as a kind of unofficial English National Anthem. No harm in that you might reasonably think, that is until you see the warbling stiffs on Songs of Praise or the butcher’s apron-waving hordes at the Last Night at the Proms belting out his verses through slots in their puckered ruined faces and your stomach starts to churn. It’s the most bitter of ironies. Alas the fine tradition of English libertarianism from Freeborn John onwards has been woefully hijacked by the the shat-minded Right. However, brothers and sisters, when the ghost of William Blake is wheeled out by some kind of jingoist windbag, remember that this was a man who was anti-authority to the marrow of his bones, remember that his soul belonged to the half-demented inner streets of London rather than the chancels of Canterbury or York and that if Jerusalem is an alternative anthem it is one, not for a nation of Thatcherite shopkeepers or the psychotic traitors lodged in the citadel of the Square Mile but rather a mystic Internationale, for the unsilent minority, those bellowing down the centuries for social justice and the freedom to be whatever they choose, the culture-bearers and fuck-ups, not the disgusted of Tunbridge Wells but the disgusting of Soho. In other words, he is yours.

The Missing Links (published )


The return of Dan Rhodes. * Ah, Six Minute War — those were the days. * The Philip Larkin tourist trail. * Christian Boltanski at the Grand Palais in Paris. * The Critical Flame. * Ziegfeld girls. * Harry Bravado, Matthew De Abaitua‘s new blog. * Punks Not Dad. * The BBC‘s forthcoming Arena feature on Brian Eno. * Rohmer RIP. * Naked New Year’s Eve. * Stewart Home, who is taking a break from blogging, spot-on as usual: “Too many blogs look like their author hasn’t read through what they’ve posted even once! If you’re not prepared to read your own writing, you shouldn’t expect anyone else to do so either!”. * Edmund White and the literary lottery. * Mods!. * Photography’s first footsteps and an interesting piece on Brian Duffy. * What writers risk in not repeating themselves, Stuart Evers on why Jonathan Lethem‘s diverse output isn’t going to win him a dedicated readership. * A photographic tour of William Burroughs’ apartment, object by object (via @parisreview) * 1984 documentary on the life of William Burroughs (via davidbmetcalfe) * The Naked Apocalypse of William S. BurroughsNaked Lunch (via same) * The occult & pop culture. * The International Dada Archive. * What’s he on about? Caustic Cover Critic on the book covers of Alasdair Gray. * The Futurists & WWI. * Guernica on Werner Herzog’s re-issued journal Of Walking in Ice. * In theory: The Death of the Author, 3:AM‘s Andrew Gallix revisits a classic essay by Roland Barthes. * Hitchens on J.G. Ballard (via @RichardMetzger) * New Gormenghast novel, written by Mervyn Peake’s wife based on notes left by the author, is to be published by their son after being discovered in an attic (via @thebookslut). Also, help the British Library acquire the Mervyn Peake Archive. * Henry Rollins is still as mad as hell. * David Bowie before he was a gay alien sex demagogue (h/t Niven Govinden) * The new Ian Dury biopic: “Refusing to sanitise and scrub up one of Britain’s least likeliest, but most memorable, pop stars, this is a vivid, scattershot and unflinching portrait of a man whose disability left him bitter, brittle and rather brilliant too.” * Tony O’Neill interviewed by Dan Fante in Beat the Dust: “I think that a lot of modern writers are fakes and frauds. If you only followed what was going on now you’d get the impression that writers are a bunch of pussies, so there aren’t many current writers who are influencing me at the moment. I should be influencing them.” * Billy Childish is burning Penguin books (h/t Adelle Stripe) * Infinite Jest goes to the big screen. * NY Tyrant+Ken Baumann+ Blake Butler= Eno’s Oblique Strategies (for writing). * Icon, the fiction issue (Will Self, Cory Doctorow) * Powell’s interview Joshua Ferris. * Camille Laurens and Marie Darrieussecq and the plagiarism feud. * Jarvis Cocker, the next John Peel? * The Bunny revolution. * Manifeste Mutantiste.

Content (published 16/01/2010)


Author and Radio On director Chris Petit presents his new documentary at the Curzon cinema tomorrow (Sunday 17 January):

From the director of Radio On comes Content, an ambient 21st century road movie which looks at life through a rear view mirror, evoking memories of other journeys, contemporary multi-media, middle age, fathers and sons and the post-war political landscapes of Europe and the USA.

AWP and me (published )

By Caleb J. Ross.


I won’t be your humble messenger in April. Unfortunately (for me, not you, I assure you) my stint here at 3:AM is a short one. So, I’ll use a portion of my remaining time to mention/brag about my annual trek to the Association of Writers and Writing Projects conference, this year taking place in Denver, CO USA. The AWP conference, in all honestly, is a bit of a hi-brow, academia-heavy schmooze fest that would normally not be all that enticing for me. But on my first voyage, a few years ago as an undergrad, I got hooked. I credit the students who came with; they knew how to drink.

Yes, there are a lot of professor types with patched suit jackets and plenty of MFAers who exude undeserved self-satisfaction on the ruse of horn-rimmed glasses and New Age philosophy jargon (NOTE: not all MFA students are like this…let me make that clear). But, beyond that initially off-putting description is the unique opportunity to meet, talk with, and even have a couple beers with some well-established writers. And bonus if you are actually fans of theirs (I’ve met Brian Evenson a few times – he’s like Oprah to me. And Stephen Graham Jones, he’s honestly one of the coolest, most down-to-Earth geniuses alive).

I’ll be attending this year, along with a full list of some of my closest writing compadres (Richard Thomas, Gordon Highland, Christopher Dwyer, Nik Korpon to name just a few; many more friends of mine will be there to ensure I come back with a regrettable tattoo). And this year I won’t be a simple voyeur, I’ll be an annoying, question-asking-for-the-sake-of-you-guys voyeur. I’ve set up a blog at www.calebjross.com/awpblog/ that will act as a near real-time hub of information about the panels, the writers, and the events of AWP. There will be a Twitter stream, a Twitter Pic stream, a YouTube channel, and, if I can find a plug-in for it, a drunk-o-meter. Essentially, I want people who aren’t in attendance to be really, really jealous of me.

If you are going, and want to be a contributor, let me know. The more eyes and ears, the better. If you aren’t going, and want to be a contributor, sorry. But visit the blog during the days of April 7th–10th to feel like you were there.

We can smell bullshit. We thrive on passion. (published 15/01/2010)

By Caleb J. Ross.


The literary community – specifically the small press community of readers, writers, and publishers – is not susceptible to bullshit. A recent thread at the ChuckPalahniuk.net forums*, started by a new member with a book to sell, immediately devolved into a spirit-breaking campaign against promotion (especially promotion of shitty writing, but that’s a topic for a different post).


This type of treatment within online literary communities is not uncommon. Especially among communities with a strong and lengthy history, the sense of camaraderie and support between members often leaves little room for newbies looking to leverage the passion of established members for a few sales. Full disclosure: I’ve talked up my collection, Charactered Pieces, a bit at ChuckPalahniuk.net and here at 3:AM but I’ve been an active participant/reader since 2004 for the former (I’m thirstygerbil over there) and even longer for the latter.

The point being that one must prove passion before hocking any wares. Investment in a community and the people who populate it is a necessary part of being an author who hopes to have his words read. One hopes that passion and investment comes first, before the book, and only later does it makes sense to introduce the goods in hopes of a few sales, but that can’t always be the case.

So this begs the question: if I already have a platform (this is salesy-marketing talk for “group of people who will likely buy my stuff”), then wouldn’t the big presses already be courting me with huge advances and tour promises? And if so, what’s the point of caring what these close-knit communities do to me should I tell them simply “buy and read my book”?

A: I think passion has to be a component of any authorial endeavor, whether one decides to express that passion before or after a book is published. Doing so before publication obviously has the benefit of lacking any perceived consumerist agenda. But even getting involved with communities – through forums, book groups, private lit blogs, and any other thing that has cropped up since this article has been posted – after publication at least proves to those whose money you need that they are spending it on something created with passion.

In summary:
Authors: don’t just think about reading and writing; join the conversation about it.
Readers: you are awesome. Great work.

*Chuck Palahniuk himself, the namesake of the forums, is not a small press writer by any means, but his fans often tend toward outsider, non-mainstream reading material.