Tag Archives: Everyday Genius

Will We Ever Stop Laughing? A Poem by Hiroshi Shinoda.

9 Jan

I’ve been sitting on this one a long time, a poem at Everyday Genius by Hiroshi Shinoda that was posted back in mid-December.

I don’t have much to say about it. Actually, I don’t have anything. It’s just a great poem, a poem that haunts. I read it a month ago now, and it keeps cropping up in my brain, and I’m sure it has so much more to say, I’m sure I can dig and dig into it and extrapolate meaning and bullshit, but really, this is a poem I just want to enjoy. This is a poem.


That city in Africa
where everyone started laughing
one by one
and they couldn’t stop
no one could stop laughing
even to eat or drink
or breathe
I read about it
and dreamt it last night
they couldn’t eat or drink or breathe
and they couldn’t stop laughing

Read the rest at Everyday Genius.

Ravi Mangla’s Visiting Writers Chapbook is up for FREE!

12 Dec

A while back I vouched for Ravi Mangla‘s selections from his visiting writer’s series over at Outlet, Pank, and Everyday Genius. Well here’s some awesome for you: Uncanny Valley Press just released a 23 stories from the series as an ebook. Even better, it’s free and very well designed!

Here’s a sneak peak:


Vladimir Nabokov bought my daughter a chess set, with pieces carved from sandalwood by hand. Every little girl should own a chess set, he said, and my daughter nodded in feigned agreement, eager to rejoin her friends. Late afternoon, once the guests had left, my wife sent me to collect the plates and glasses from the backyard. And there was Nabokov, crouched in the garden, his pant cuffs folded to his knees, following a caterpillar across his finger.

Moulton’s Story in 9 Parts

26 Oct

The Genius is getting a lot of love from me this week. Funny how that’s worked out. I have been meaning to vouch this story for awhile now, and I just stopped being lazy enough to get it posted. Anyway.

I’m not normally so down with heavy formal play in fiction. I mean, I’ve seen it done and done well. Bosworth’s play in his new novel Freight is fantastic, in the way it works with the story, and at the same time, doesn’t distract. But, most formal play, in my opinion, serves more as a distraction to the story than it compliments. But that’s just me. I am mostly easy to please. I don’t need any tricks. Just give me good sentences. Talk to me. Help me see something beautiful, if not in the story, in the syntax. I don’t even need a character all the time. Just move something in me.

Iris Ann Moulton’s “Short Story in Nine Parts” moved me:

I.    It is somewhere rainy and lush. Everyone’s t-shirts are dirty. There are irreconcilable halves of bumper stickers stuck to cheap cars. There are not very many roads in.
II.    There is only one house of note, in which most everything occurs.
     A.    The house is stoic and grappling.
     B.    The garden is polite.
          a.    It is very easy to grow here.
          b.    Research: what is bougainvillea? And also: where?
          c.    Many of the flowers have bright bushy heads, like puppets.
     C.    The entry way is splotched carpet.
     D.    Something intended for keys now catches spare change, movie stubs, rubberbands.
          a.    Keys are still lost.

Sabrina Stoessinger stopped my heart.

23 Sep

That pretty much sums it up. I read this flash fiction the other day at Everyday Genius, and the punch in the last sentence stopped my heart for a second. That’s all there is to it. Just read it.

Five-year-olds do not understand funerals and wonder why Uncle Mac is here when he’s only supposed to be here at Christmas. And who are all these other people? And why is everyone so quiet all the time? When five-year-olds hear about cremation they cry because they’re scared that the great big fire that everyone talks about will hurt their father like it hurts their little fingers when they touch the stove. Five-year-olds do not understand heaven and wonder constantly where it is and ask questions over and over again and want to know why their father had to go there and why he can’t stay here.

Read the rest at Everyday Genius.

Julie Carr writes The Real at Everyday Genius

1 Sep

I’ve been in a big poetry phase lately, and it’s nice, to feel affected again by poetry, to feel the words under my skin again. I’m in a strange spot, really. I’ve been suffering a bit of ennui, perhaps, a wanting to feel something more than I’m capable of feeling. Poetry is bringing me back to that feeling right now, especially language-based poetry; I am responding more lately to poetry that breaks things; I am having that feeling like when I first read e.e. cummings.

Julie Carr’s poem “The Real” does this for me, and I think it will do it for you, too. Check it:

I saw a woman smack her child on a Metro platform in Paris,
so hard he fell over.
                                      There grew
a quietness //

Read the rest at Everyday Genius.

Mathias Svalina Sees Wondrous Things

19 Aug

I saw Svalina read at the PANK/Annalemma Divination reading at last year’s AWP, and he owned the microphone. He read longer than anyone else, I think, but I don’t think anyone cared. I know no one at my table did, and my table was full up with 6 other fellow writers as jaded as I am with bad readings. There was clapping, hollering, laughter. At one point, I laughed so hard I lurched backwards, I bumped into a passing waitress and there was a clattering and shattering of glass. Mathias didn’t break steam, kept right on, his words pounding and pounding.

It’s awesome to see this piece of Svalina’s recently in Everyday Genius, and to see how he can own the page just as easily as he owns the air. This is an excerpt of his book, I am a Very Productive Entrepreneur recently out from Mud Luscious Press. I highly recommend.

I started this one business that applied to the eyes of our clients the opposite of blinders, what we called Seeingers.

See everything! Every detail before you in intense exactitude! This was our pitch. Our scientists stumbled upon these Seeingers during an experiment on the bone structures of kaleidoscopes. It was a failed venture, until two of the scientists, depressed at their impending unemployment, got gin-drunk in the lab & ended up half-naked with the bones of kaleidoscopes strapped around their faces. What they saw in that moment they could not describe. Later, during his debriefing, the senior scientist said it was the visual equivalent of when you bite through your tongue & suddenly feel how your teeth are both weapons & exposed bones.

Read the rest at Everyday Genius.

*Video of the Divination reading is at PANK blog. I highly suggest watching it–one of the best readings I’ve ever been to ever.

Sommer Browning’s favorite works republished at Everyday Genius this month.

1 Aug

That was an unnecessarily long title that explains pretty much everything, but I’ll also toss in this little note from Browning at EG:

When I wondered what I’d fill a literary journal with, I thought about the overwhelming emphasis on the new, the mind-spinning quickness of the publishing world & the relatively short shelf-life of the book. So, I decided to smack it up, flip it, rub it down, oh no, which is to say I decided upon some constraints. I would publish only previously published work. What you will find this month is what I’ve read, gazed at and fell in love with over the past few years.

Lack of Oxford comma aside, this note thrills me. I love this act of curation, and espcially given the evidence of her first day’s selections (a set of 3 poems by Arda Collins that strike immediate, hold on with quick-breathed wonderstruck, how they grab me and say, “FUCKING READ ME!”), I can place solid bets on thinking this month at Everyday Genius is not a month to be missed.

The News

At last, terror has arrived.
Next door, the house has gone up in flames.
A woman runs from the burning wreck, her face smeared
with blood and ashes. She screams that her children are kidnapped.
It’s truly exciting, and what more would anyone ask?
(…more at Everyday Genius)

Garden Apartments

I wondered what I would do the rest of the day.
People were running their lives from here.
They had a coffee table and mugs with writing on them.
They had the rest of their lives. It was just like the other day.
The weather was warm for the first time.
I was out walking.
A young couple came out of a house.
She had just taken a shower,
blow-dried her hair and put make up on,
and put on light-colored pants and a t-shirt.
I smelled her shampoo
when they passed, and I felt afraid of the day.
(…more at Everyday Genius)


If only we knew what our choices were,
something besides being flogged.
I can’t say I mind being flogged,
but I also don’t do much else.
Yesterday it was as though I was back with the old watering can,
watering the tree out the window,
thinking about the old church
where all my memories began and are stored.
(…more at Everyday Genius)

Heather Christle Will Read You a Poem

13 Jul

To celebrate the release of her new collection of poetry, The Trees The Trees, Heather Christle is reading poems by phone to anyone who calls 413-570-3077.

Tomorrow is the last day.

I just called myself over my lunch break. I didn’t know whether it was going to be reminiscent of my childhood public library’s Dial-a-Story, where you could call 448-1222, and listen to a recording of a librarian reading a children’s story.

It is not that. Heather herself answers, her voice alight like bubbles. You can choose a poem or not. She will read to you. It will be good. She read to me “The Plan,” and it was good. It made smiles on my face.

It could be this poem that was recently published at Everyday Genius.


Because we are mammals
we illuminate glasses of milk

We make wine and play the triangle
whose corners ring through us to the night

Read the rest of the poem at Everyday Genius.

SSM: “Twins” by Lily Hoang

15 May

This month, Justin Sirois is guest editor over at Everyday Genius. All the pieces published this month are responses to an animated gif, like this one to which Lily Hoang responded to with her story “Twins.”

She’d always wanted girls, two of them twins twinning and twisting, she always imagined they’d be the same, look the same, speak in their special twin language. Instead, she got boys, two of them, not twins in the least, different as planets from separate galaxies: more like one was a burnt out moon full of dust and death, the other like a pale planet one its way out. Determined, she calls them Shelley and Sheldon. Determined, she puts them in the same clothes. They are a riot of a bunch, if two could ever be called a bunch. And she bunches their hair into horse’s tails: she calls them unicorns, their little penises had to have some use.

Read the full story at Everyday Genius.

There’s something terrifying to me about this story. This story reads like an underlying fairytale, but I can’t help but remember my dad telling me once how my mom had it all planned out. She wanted a boy and a girl. I was supposed to be the girl. She even had a name for me: Angie Dawn.

But when I came out of that womb, my tiny newborn penis the heir apparent and the doctor, “Congratulations, Mrs. Newgent. It’s a boy,” I wonder if there was a disappointment there. I wonder if my mother’s first thought about me beyond the elation of her labor coming to an end was disappointment.

Shortly after my mother died, I was checking out at a local grocery store. My girlfriend at the time and I were there buying groceries, and I think I said something jokingly that ended up sounding kind of prickish, and I immediately apologized, felt awful. The lady at the cash register just laughed, smiled at me, said, “Oh, I know it was a joke. You seem like a nice young man. Your mother would be proud.”

It stopped me dead in my tracks. I just stared at her, unmoving. I almost cried right there in the checkout line. It was months after my mom’s death. I could laugh easily when a friend accidentally tossed a “Your mom,” joke my way. And this lady, out of nowhere, “Your mother would be proud.” I gathered my groceries. It was all I could do to walk away, and God, I hope she’s right.

You Are Not the Food

23 Feb

Just had one of my Google Reader meltdowns where I couldn’t handle everything sitting there, waiting for me to read it: I needed to have the feeling that things were off my plate, accomplished, and done with. So, I cleared my Reader, marked everything as read, although I didn’t read hardly any of it, which means I’m probably going to miss a lot of good stuff in PANK and The Collagist and Word Riot and Dogzplot and the other handful of journals I follow through feeds.

But. I had been meaning to vouch this for the past week or so now, and I wasn’t going to rob you of this. I actually got to see this live, Mike Young’s piece, “You Are Not the Food” at Everyday Genius, which he initially read as part of the Beecher’s-Publishing Genius Reading at the National Zoo at AWP (photos here) a couple weeks ago.

You are near the meal ticket on the edge. Have you seen the apple crisp and can I get a brisket. Flesh of jiggles, flesh that’s dried. Hallelujah butter glisten. Cornbread dressing and fried tilapia and macaroni and chickpea salad. Taco shells and caramel pudding and mystery spare ribs and parmesan butter and Slurpee rotisseries.

You can’t just read this poem in your head. You can’t just hear Mike read this poem (though this helps). You have to read it out loud to yourself. You have to feel your tongue slap, mouth wrack, lips slip over the tickle tantrum tastes. If not, you’re missing the point.