Tag Archives: Adam Robinson

Awful Interview: Adam Robinson

14 Aug


A few days ago Publishing Genius launched a Kickstarter to fund promotions of the five books they plan to release in 2014. Over here at Vouched we are big fans of Publishing Genius. Their Head Honcho, Adam Robinson, was our first-ever Vouched Visitor and we’ve featured reviews of several titles of theirs over the past few years in addition to carrying them on our tables.

It only leads to reason that we vouch for their Kickstarter also! You’ll want to, too, after reading this Awful Interview with the aforementioned Adam Robinson – who somehow has never been awfully interviewed by us before (!? I know, we’re not sure how that is either).

Adam Robinson on  a Ferris Wheel in Atlanta

Adam Robinson on a Ferris Wheel in Atlanta

Adam, you’ve recently launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for your 2014 releases. Can you tell me a bit more about that kitten (or as the french would say, “le chat”)?

Oh hi! That kitten is from, I think, 2010, when I put out Timothy Willis Sanders’s book Orange Juice. Tim and I talked about what should be on the book, and he said he wanted a cat. I asked Justin Sirois if he would make a quick cover with a cat on it. This is what he made, kind of as a joke. But we loved it so much, Comic Sans and all, that later he made it into a logo.

Any idea where the cat is now? Does he have a name? Also – tell me a bit more about your feelings in regards to Comic Sans MS.

Ooh, good question. If I had to guess, I’d say Clarice is off in college now, studying oceanography. She loves fish. As for Comic Sans, I like it because it’s an easy typeface to know things about. I think it was developed by Microsoft for that little dog/paperclip that would pop up and offer annoying help. People hate it because the “o” angles the wrong way. It’s awful. It was only supposed to be used to be non-threatening and make computers seem easier to use. Like if you’re asking a question to a “paperclip, it makes sense that it would answer in a stupid font. Because I know all that stuff, I love Comic Sans. Can I share another picture? I call it “Comic Sads.” I took this photo in the Adirondack mountains, which is weird to me because life there is pretty sweet.

I like to imagine Clarice in a little kitty submarine. (Does Lisa Frank take commissions? Do you think she would draw that for me?) Comic Sans makes a lot more sense to me all of a sudden. Why do you think that Jeep driver was such a pessimist? I mean, he lives in the mountains and has a pretty sweet ride – what’s not to love?

I figure the driver is just being an American Buddhist. Life is hurting, hurting comes from desire, eliminate desire and eliminate hurting . . . by getting a dope ride and putting a meditative wheel cover on it. Can you imagine being his kid, getting picked up at school? If you were his kid’s teacher, what would you think?

I mean, it would make me a bit concerned for the child’s well-being. I imagine the kid turning in blank homework with “What’s the point?” scrawled listlessly across the top of the page or sitting by herself on the playground after lunch, kicking pinecones and throwing away the crusts of her tofurkey sandwich. But you know, she could grow up really centered and realistic. She could graduate at the top of her class. It’s hard to say.
This whole scenario is really throwing me through a loop, you know?

Well, see, that’s why it’s good we have Comic Sans to take some of that pressure off.

Oh wow! That is a relief! What Saint invented Comic Sans anyway? I want to shake his hand. I was about to spiral into an existential crisis there, and Comic Sans spared me from the sink-hole.

So Publishing Genius 2.0. Tell me a little more about it? Like where did you get that big ol’ phone from the video? I need one of those, my eyes just ain’t what they used to be.

That phone gets such good reception, it sounded like the printer was just next door. But anyway folks, Publishing Genius 2.0 is a project not just to publish five books next year, but also to do more than what I’ve been able to do in the past with those books. That means I want to print higher quantities of each and get them into more stores. But as your readers know after what happened to the mighty Mud Luscious, it is burdensome to expand without a surplus of resources. The $10,000 I’m asking for isn’t actually more than what I would already spend on five books. I’m still going to be using the existing PGP budget. More important for that, though, is that I’m really hoping that people’s generosity will keep going once we hit that $10k mark.

That answer is totally on the money. Sorry.

Oooh I see what you did there! It sounds like a really great cause. Any noteworthy bonuses for donations made?

There are some great incentives to pledge, I think, but they’re going fast. Art by John Dermot Woods and Stephanie Barber and Michael Kimball are all gone now. You can get all the books we’re releasing next year for $100. You know, Kickstarter is hard. When I’ve thought about it in the past, I thought, “Why contribute to this? Isn’t it supposed to be a money-making proposition? Like, if someone is going to sell something, why fundraise for it?” But now I totally get it. Getting an infusion of money allows a project to grow into, or beyond, what the market will automatically sustain. I think it’s going to allow for a generally higher level of quality for products in the future. Is it possible to consider Kickstarter a cultural renaissance? People are supportive beyond commerce. It’s beautiful.

30 x Lace

30 Apr

The fine folks at Birds of Lace and Carrie Murphy have created and since been tumblin’ daily throughout April with a poem from a poet (as spotlight) and a recommendation from that poet. A mighty little collection they’ve made I say. I say say say that you should check out the whole thing, but in case you need a Point A, B, and C, here are three of my favorites, so I guess start there if you trust me (hopefully hopefully so). Always makes me smile real big to see people celebrating National Poetry Month!

Adam Robinson

Ocean Vuong

Nicole Steinberg

Everyday Genius Goes Print in June

30 May

Everyday Genius, one of my favorite online journals perhaps of all time, is releasing a special print issue for June 2012. It looks like this, which is a cover designed by Jimmy Chen, who’s a pr’ kewl guy.

I think it’s to celebrate or commemorate something or other, but all in all, it just looks awesome, and has an incredible line up of contributors (Aaron Burch, Stephanie Barber, Michael Kimball, Catherine Lacey, Joseph Young, et al), and this is all just to say you should go here and purchase the damn thing (it’s only $11 after shipping), and you should probably do that before June 1st, because then you could win a Publishing Genius prize pack, which includes a bunch of incredible books from PGP and a PGP tote to carry them in and a PGP coozy to keep your beer coozed, or if you’re a recovering alcoholic, to keep your soda pop coozed.

New Feature: Vouched Visitors

25 Apr

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new feature here, Vouched Visitors, starting in May. Essentially, there are a bunch of people we wish we could have on the team here vouching their favorite work online, reviewing their favorite small press books, talking shop about why they love reading, etc. but these people are as busy if not busier than we are, and being a regular contributor at Vouched just isn’t in the cards.

So, we’ve decided to start asking these people to visit Vouched for just a month and do just that. Every month we’ll have a new Visitor talking up some of their favorite small press goodness.

Starting things off in May will be the ever awesome Adam Robinson of Publishing Genius Press. It’s only fitting that Adam would kick this off, as he and PGP have been supporting Vouched from the very beginning. Adam is also the author of two collections of poetry: Say, Poem and Adam Robison and Other Poems by Adam Robinson. I highly suggest you check out both of these collections, as well as hop over to Publishing Genius and taking in all the amazing work he’s been putting out for the past 6 years.

Another reaction to If I Falter at the Gallows by Edward Mullany

31 Oct

If I Falter at the Gallows
Edward Mullany
Publishing Genius Press, 83 pages, $12

Christopher wrote a wonderful personal response to If I Falter at the Gallows by Edward Mullany last week, a wonderful book of poems released by Publishing Genius recently. So much has been said around the web recently about this book, I thought I’d sift through my own thoughts on the book as a way to add to the conversation:

1. An entry point? The epigraph. Charles Simic: “Who put canned laughter/into my crucifixion scene?” The pseudo-humor, a mark of ha-ha entertainment, slapped against the tragic, the personal tragedy, someone’s personal tragedy.

2. If I had to tell someone about these poems, I’d say something like “They’re short poems with lots of head space to roam, like a dot-to-dot picture that could be either a horse with flames coming out of his eyes or an old person serving soup to the homeless on the day he/she dies.”

3. We find that sinkhole brevity over and over, a little picture, a bearded man pushing another bearded man down a dune (“Comic Relief”) or retreating soldiers who aren’t supposed to be retreating getting killed anyway (“Either/Or”), and it’s kind of funny like in that AH THAT SUCKS way, but then in all that white space we stumble into questions like “WHY WAR?” or “WHY THE SHOVE?”

4. Why does anyone need to be crucified in the first place?

5. I guess I’m yet another reviewer person responding to what Mullany said about his poems in NANO fiction:

I don’t aim to write funny poems, but neither do I aim to write sad poems. I try to describe reality through the voices of people so stunned by their experience of reality that they see with a kind of insane clarity.

6. Insane clarity! I like that. It reaches out for something that I think the clarity-driven, plain-spoken writing that I encounter sometimes misses: a sincere interest in the craziness around us.

7. I’m taking it way out of context, but I’m reminded of this quote from Ways of Seeing by John Berger:

To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself. A naked body has to be seen as an object to become a nude.

8. A naked poem can be cool I guess, where someone’s like look at this and it’s disturbing or funny, but what Mullany does, maybe a more accurate word is gives, what Mullany gives is an object, a nude object, transformed into this lovely other.

9. “To The Woman Who Jumped In Front Of A Train” is a poem from the book that exemplifies this point:

I am wearing a yellow
dress, and I am walking

with you towards a gate above
which is a sign only

one of us
can read.

10. Is this funny? Maybe, but also it is tragic and these two things slapped together are startling. This is obvious, but a good piece of art is not just the means of dealing with experience, but the place for such dealing.

11. I’m reminded of what Adam Robinson, lead man of Publishing Genius, said about his own poem “I am going to have sex with these people” from his book “Adam Robison and Other Poems” in an interviewer for Issue 1 of Beecher’s Magazine. The interviewer said that “the language of the poem is the language of you trying to figure out what the poem is.” And Adam responded:

Mairead Byrne said a similar thing on her jacket review for the book, that “somewhat skeptically” the book “marks out a testing ground for poetry.” I’m really happy about that. It wasn’t something I was doing intentionally in the language, but it’s always on my mind, more than in a “is this a good poem” way. Because I think Poetry (capital P) has a lot of vitality. Even good poems can be lame, can be who cares? So my objective with the bro-sona language is to move the process right onto the surface of the poem. Rather than have the reader cut through the craftiness, my intention was to start them off with, uh, crappiness and filter through that for the “poem.”

12. Maybe in a little different way than Adam meant for his own poems, but definitely with the same core, Mullany starts and ends with the “crappiness” of life, the peculiarity of living, the tragedy of a bunch of humans being together on this stupid earth.

13. The reader, if patient, can walk around on the surface and slowly sink in, instead of sinking in from the beginning.

14. Like “Either/Or,” “Ode To The Bayoneted Soldier” meanders within one of the suckiest parts of human conflict, war:

In the woods beside the snowy
field, the footprints

15. Christopher, in his response to the book earlier here at Vouched, mentioned that overwhelming feeling of “what does anything matter,” and did a great job of exemplifying how Mullany’s poems connected to him and this question.

16. Looking at “Important,” which was the first poem Christopher singled out, I’d say that Mullany’s poems again and again, for this reader at least, point out that what matters depends on the person, but some things (should?) matter to nearly everyone, like art or war or death.

17. The poems in If I Falter At The Gallows snips the most affecting bits from these BIG THINGS and spreads them out where the reader can roam around.

18. Realization is beautiful.

Smile Politely Chambana

12 Nov

Champaign-Urbana’s, Smile Politely, has a great interview with Andy Devine, Adam Robinson, and Michael Kimball re: Andy’s reading this Sunday at The Iron Post. I’m planning on going to this. Whose comin’ with me?

Stories & Beer Reading Series
ft. Andy Devine
4pm @ the Iron Post
120 South Race Street
Urbana, IL 61801

This is Aaron Burch reading last month at Stories & Beer, a couple stories from his recent book How to Predict the Weather:

That was a weekend to remember.

My first reaction was, honestly, that I don’t like the name “Shane.”

14 Jul

Just read this vulnerably cute/friendly and funny conversation between Adam Robinson and Shane Jones regarding the publication of Light Boxes on Publishing Genius and its subsequent rise to Penguin.

I have to admit, I’ve been trying to find ways in my head to justify selling Light Boxes at the Vouched table despite its big house status now — “Well, it was initially released on a small press, right?”

But, regardless, I’ve a feeling Penguin won’t exactly schluff copies to some dude with a book table.

So, in the meantime, I’ll simply make it a part of Vouched Online. If you’ve not snagged a copy of Light Boxes, you should. It’s an artistic and imaginative book with aspirations much, much larger than its page count.