Tag Archives: Jamie Iredell

SSR: I Was A Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac

5 Nov

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I Was A Fat, Drunk, Catholic School Insomniac by Jamie Iredell
Future Tense Books
200 pg // $12

When we strip our adolescence of its hangovers, drunk stupors, the existential crises, angst, and adolescent missteps – what we’re left with is the sobering toxicity of youth.

 

Indie Lit Classics: Greying Ghost Press

5 Jul

In 2009, Ryan Call called Greying Ghost Press “a press to be excited about” and he was right and is right and seems like will be right for a good while to come. Check out Ryan’s spotlight from four years ago over. Then check out the rest of this post for 2013 Greying Ghost chatter from myself and others.

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The first Greying Ghost chapbook I ever encountered was I Am In The Air Right Now by Kathryn Regina. It might’ve been the first chapbook I ever bought myself, like looking back to remember the self-titled Savage Garden CD as the first I ever bought with my own money. I had never seen such a skinny, beautiful book–mirrored title, diagram stuck in the middle, maroon page spooning the cover. And the poems! The poems are not shy, though they might want you to think they are. In the air, they are, with their whimsy and their spirit, their new touch on the old heartbreak.

from “i thought there would be no one in the air”

the air is empty but

there are several families living in my chest.

I am going to open my own store and sell only

things that i especially like. puppets, diet coke,

spell books, beautiful rocks. i am going to sell

these things to the families in my arteries.

some of the people in the families die. there is a funeral

in my kneecap. the grandmother throws herself

into the grave. the children play at empty plots.

And 99 numbered copies later, poof, they are gone, have been gone, tucked away on select important shelves, just like so many of GG’s finest releases.

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Matt DeBenedictis, publisher of Safety Third Enterprises, on the radness of Greying Ghost Press:

Every chapbook I’ve ever ordered from Greying Ghost Press felt like they had me in mind when they made it, or they had a faithful hope in a cumulative reaction of cornerstone thoughts on first glance: the little details etch themselves like romantic gestures that can’t fade into the past.A circular die cut on a thick cover stock reveals a map and a nestled ampersand (J.A. Tyler’s Our Us & We), books folded like pamphlets are given wraps and buttons like they are gifts. I feel like a thieving’ little shit when I open some of them. I’ve been tempted before to just immediately frame their chapbooks on the wall (without opening a page) and just let the reviews on Goodreads be enough of a satisfaction.

The care that Greying Ghost Press puts to each chapbook is a knowledge that printed words are far from over; we still have so much imagination on how to rest ink onto paper.

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Cassandra Gillig, keeper of that dumb poetry blog, on GG’s hosting the Corduroy Mountain archives:

Probably the part of Greying Ghost I enjoy the most (since it is very easily sharable & free to access & this is something of great value to anyone looking to get into a press & find out what they are doing) is their online archiving of Corduroy Mountain.  Corduroy Mountain was, unarguably, something too special for human consumption–a literary magazine worth all of the awe & envy most can & should muster.

You can see everything that was published in Corduroy Mountain on Greying Ghost’s Issuu Site, which is an incredible thing.  CM also does a great job of showcasing the perfect brilliance GG publishes on a regular basis.  In addition to making things that are frustratingly gorgeous, GG has published some of my favorite writers.  Becca Klaver’s Inside A Red Corvette is kinda funny, way good, & so honest.  Dan Boehl’s sometimes perfectly sparse and always overwhelmingly perspicacious Les Miseres et les Mal-Heurs de la Guerre is nearly too wonderful for words.  Paige Taggert, Kathleen Rooney, Jac Jemc, & Sasha Fletcher all released stupidly good things with the press.  Not to mention the JA Tyler & Schomburg chapbooks which I feel are adored universally by those who have read them.

The appeal of Greying Ghost is, of course, their willingness to take risks and to publish writers who are experimenting with form, and, while this is not necessarily the first press to do it, the work GG has championed is perfect and enriching and, wholly, presses like GG are the reason small press publishing is so exciting right now.

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Matthew Mahaney, author of Your Attraction to Sharp Machines (Bat Cat Press), on his favorite GG chapbook, Sugar Means Yes, by Julia Cohen and Mathias Svalina:

The silver-blue wallpaper cover pages define the room of this chapbook, the physical borders of a world in which brothers and sisters use foxes, masks, razors, and salt to teach us the true, dark meaning of every object and action, and where a new lesson will find you each time you visit.

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And when you order one of these fine fine cared-for chapbooks, the envelope also comes stuffed with bonus goodies, a.k.a. pamphlets, these little brushstrokes, printed and folded goodness, from folks like Danniel Schoonebeek, Wendy Xu, Jennifer H. Fortin, Brian Foley, and more.

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Carrie Lorig, author of NODS. (Magic Helicopter Press), on her two favorite pamphlets (one of which happens to be mine, awww shucks, WOW):

In South Korea (a town called Imjingak / 임진각), there is a Pamphlet/Leaflet Launch Site. It is about getting information across a young, sore border. Now that there is a ban, and they use large balloons.

According to the OED, the word ‘pamphlet’ is named for a popular love poem, Pamphilus, seu de Amore, with a Greek name (It has not been tested in French. -OED) that means “friend to everyone.”

At my catering job, during a lull in service, the sweating girl next to me mumbles, “If your wedding is going to be this big, you need to just do the food family style.” Big bowls for whole tables. Passing and touching moves it fast, spreads it fast.

Pamphlets, flyers, leaflets. Like ants or my friend Bridget’s bees, I hardly imagine them alone. I see them as the sudden waterfall swim they cause in the air. I see them devouring a part of the ground.

My two Greying Ghost pamphlets were pressed to me. Right before M.G. Martin left a dance party in Boston, he put “Sister, Thank You,” (#47) in my hand. It was fucksnowing, I’m sure, when I opened the manila envelope with “Don’t Reason” (#40) by Tyler Gobble inside.

“Don’t Reason” – The symmetry, the railing against the title, in Gobble’s “Don’t Reason” is as beautiful and smallbig as HALLELUJAH. “I can’t believe / that was you “, “You can’t believe / the words,” “The fact we need / God,” “The fact we need / Meth Sun,” “How can they talk / about so many overturned cars,” “I heard a man / singing a song / on a bus” A prayer is a thing you assemble and aim with don’t reason. You assemble it in the face of no galaxy you can reach into. You put your head in the fridge to cool off. You don’t do it to get an understanding of why we send these floating, desperate chunks of flower and human ash and plane crash and hum drifting out.

“Sister, Thank You” – I don’t always think repetition is as conscious as we insist it is. What if every time you say a word, you are not as aware that it is the same word as the previous word you just uttered as you are that you are saying the word however you are in that moment, on that part of the page, in that blank space of the conversation. It doesn’t matter what comes after it or before it. This might be how the constant onslaught of thank you interrupted by “roses, sister, language, mouth, tongue, deep, without, bones, skin” is thinking about repetition. I can echo through them all together, taking in the longitude and population and spelling out carefully as it gets big enough to be a Thank You nation-state. Or, I can encounter each of them alone, failing alone, struggling alone, to get to a sister. There are 11 rocks in this one, two in that one. A beluga that won’t be touched unless you are naked.

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Jamie Iredell, author of lots of good stuff like The Book of Freaks (Future Tense Books), on the lasting goodness of Greying Ghost Press:

I’ve pretty much always loved GG. This goes back to the early days of the “online lit” thing, or “alt lit,” whatever you wanna call it. And maybe they weren’t even really the “early days” either, but whatever. I bought Peter Berghoef’s “News of the Haircut,” “Help” by Adam Fieled, “At The Pulse,” by Laura Carter (a very close friend of many years), “I Will Unfold You With My Hairy Hands” by Shane Jones, “The Tornado Is Not A Surrealist” by Brian Foley, “Walden Book” by Allen Bramhall (this was a huge book for me; it was amazing and amazingly designed), and “Naturalistless” by Christopher Rizzo. I was blown away by these books, and at the time I was writing my own stuff and was publishing it in literary magazines. Carl was, at the time, putting together stuff for the first Corduroy Mountain issue, and I submitted. He liked what I’d written, and asked if I had enough to make a chapbook. That was the middle section (“When I Moved to Nevada”) of what became my first book, Prose. Poems. a Novel. Since all of that went down, I’ve still been a GG fan, as Carl has continued to produce amazing work: “Inside A Red Corvette” by Becca Klaver, “I Am In The Air Right Now” by Kathryn Regina, “Our Us & We” by J.A. Tyler, “Pretend You’ll Do It Again” by Josh Russell, “Sky Poems” by Nate Pritts, “The Poughkeepsiad” by Joshua Harmon. And they just keep coming. Amazing books, Careful attention to language and design. Carl Annarummo is a diamond in coal field of contemporary lit.

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Two of my favorite GG releases, for both their perfect design and dropping-of-the-jaw poems, are Imaginary Portraits by Joshua Ware (full disclosure tag: Vouched contributor) and Plus or Minus by Weston Cutter. Two very different books, but paired together in my heart. Ware’s is a pocket-sized thing, sturdy dark dark cover with die-cut window for the title to peek out from its yellow home. Cutter’s book is sheathed in a map. Ware’s poems are vignettes masquerading as visions. Cutter’s poems are uncompromising meditations. Moving poems and unique cases, these are two of the newer and most fitting representations of the stellar work Greying Ghost produces.

from Cutter’s “Yours, Alaska”:

in cragginess and distance, in separation

and bearing; in your imagination Alaska

I want to know if you see my Minnesota

as the dumb cousin pestering for a pass

during the post-Thanksgiving football game

and what about Montana, Alaska? Okay,

no one can ever be as cold, Alaska, but

let’s start a band, call ourselves the Chills:

you’ll wear a trucker’s hat, play the bass,

lay a beat for the rest of us to throb

longingly along to but Alaska you know

you can’t stay frozen forever, yes?

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“The quality of their productions alone make them one of the most sought after small presses to work with — if you ever get the chance, jump at it!” – Hosho McCreesh, author of several awesome books

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Grab yourself a subscription for Greying Ghost’s 2013/2014 catalog or pick up one of the few past releases still available. This stuff is hot.

Vouched on the Road: Atlanta with Jamie Iredell

27 Jul

Photo by Koneko Photography

Jamie Iredell is everyone’s favorite ATL uncle-type. He is the kind of guy who balances the grown-up living (watch him beam about his daughter; dude is Mr. Poetry at SCAD; serious working writer with a handful of books in the works/contracted) and the rad go-go-going (the man loves to hike; he co-hosts ATL’s reading series Solar Anus; one of the coolest talk-over-a-beer guys ever).

I came across Jamie’s work a few years ago when I won a copy of his book The Book of Freaks over at HTML Giant. I dove into that thing. I dive back into that thing when I need a reminder of how wacky life can be cool. Here is a freak for you.

Also the trailer:

Pre-Visit Interview with Jamie Iredell

1. How long have you lived in Atlanta?
10 yrs.
2. What are your favorite pieces of Atlanta?
The thighs, drumsticks, and wings.
3. What brought you to Atlanta? What keeps you in Atlanta?
PhD. in creative writing. That my wife has a good job and that she pays the bills.
4. How has Atlanta influenced your writing?
I frequently write the word “y’all”
5. If you could live in any city, what would it be and why?
Chicago, and I think you know why.
6. How’s the literary scene in Atlanta?
It actually sucks, compared to comparable cities of the same size. Much smaller cities (San Francisco, Portland, OR, Austin, TX, etc.) have far more lively literary scenes. Atlanta’s not much of a reading city, and I don’t know why that is, but my guess is the city’s youth, lack of a tradition in the publishing industry, and such.
7. Describe Atlanta in three words.
Hey, tee, hell.
8. What are you most stoked to show me in Atlanta?
I don’t know. My baby? She’s cute. You probably don’t like babies. I’ll show you a strip bar where most of the strippers also have babies, the evidence of which is sometimes way too apparent.

All of my previous interactions with Jamie were like my first two this visit–chattering, drinking beers, being at a reading. This guy is a busy dude with family, with teaching, with writing, but he makes it, he makes it happen, he makes it out to readings and organizes readings and supports supports supports.

Southern Comfort Tour Ladies

This visit, I saw my first Solar Anus reading, a series Jamie runs with Blake Butler and Amy McDaniel, usually at the Beep Beep Art Gallery in Atlanta. Packed to the gill-slits, this month’s reading hosted the Southern Comfort tour with Elizabeth Ellen, Mary Miller, Donora Hillard, Brandi Wells, and Chloe Caldwell, with special guest Scott McClahan. And from this one and the chatter I hear about the others, this series is how I dig them: a little rowdy, beer-provided, cooool space, and post-reading hangage.

Photo by Michael Straub

The next night was the big Vouched ATL birthday party, a special event that featured twenty of Atlanta’s brightest writer-people reading selections of work written by students in Wink and the Wren’s Nest , creative writing tutoring programs in the city. The event was a fundraiser for these two groups, and seeing so many kickass writers, like Jamie, using their reading spirits to celebrate these rad kiddos and organizations was a really special moment.
My last day in town was reserved for our big adventure, hiking to the top of Kennesaw Mountain. Jamie, a West Coast guy who grew up wandering the forests and nature out there, is a fun fun dude to follow on a trail. He knows the history, like about the battles that took place there in the Civil War. He knows the nature (hope this is allowed to be mentioned: he’s writing a series of prose poems right now about the trees of Atlanta). Even better, I have this love of nature that gets amped up in the rain and it started raining in the middle of our trek. A perfect BIG way to chop my way out of the city.
After a long week of readings and drinking and this mega-rad hike, before leaving ATL, I had to have me a final big hefty meal. Jamie delivered, taking me to DBA BBQ, one of those stick-it-to-your-ribs places.
My longest, busiest stay of the road trip (and sadly last of these Vouched posts), Atlanta was a kind, exciting place, a full scorecard of the literary and the wacky and the rowdy and the relaxing. And that is exactly the kind of time Jamie showed me, a lot of major goodness packed into one awesome writer-guy.

SSR #13 of 15: The Book of Freaks

15 Jul

The Book of Freaks
by Jamie Iredell
Future Tense Books
136p, $11

This is my type of encyclopedia- the kind that doesn’t heavily costume the humorless or strip the wacky into something mundane- equal parts dark comedy and a field-guide.

Tyler Gobble On The Road

11 May

This summer, I’m taking a two-month road trip, doing a few readings, playing lots of disc golf, hanging out with cool people. You can read more about that here.

I can’t bear to leave this beautiful blog behind, so to keep me in the loop, I’m gonna meet up with a writer at each of my major stops. I wanna experience this strange city, learn more about the writer, and get a sense of how they live in this place.

And then, I’ll report back here with audio/video, a mini-interview, and a recap by me, plus anything else the writer might wanna feature.

So far, here’s the lineup:

Akron, Ohio: Nick Sturm, Mike Krutel, Sammy Snodgrass

Chicago, Illinois: James Tadd Adcox

Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Katy Gunn

Atlanta, Georgia: Jamie Iredell

I’m also looking to add a few more writers, if any of you have suggestions/requests for the series (MI, KY, TN, NC, and WV are other possible locations).

Also, to help raise money for the series (like buying the writers’ dinner, etc.), I’m doing a poem-postcard fundraiser for the trip. Here is more info on that if you’re interested.

THX FOR BEING SO NEAT

SSR #6 of 15: Prose. Poems. A Novel.

13 Jul

This is bold of me, right?  Jamie Iredell’s Prose.Poems. A Novel was the very first single sentence review here on Vouched. Also, Tyler Gobble shared some love for Jamie’s more recent work The Book of Freaks earlier this week. I’m not afraid of overloading you with his good words, because there’s no such thing as a good word overload. The fact of the matter is you need to read Jamie Iredell’s work if you haven’t already.  Prose. Poems. A Novel will be for sale on my Atlanta Vouched table and I couldn’t be happier about it.

So here we go:

Prose. Poems. A Novel is a bear trap embedded in the grimy, corrosive, American earth waiting to catch you in its rusted spring-loaded hinges; it may not be a polite, but it is an experience.

Single-Sentence Review: The Book of Freaks by Jamie Iredell

27 Jun

The Book of Freaks
by Jamie Iredell

Future Tense Books
$11, 136 pages

Jamie Iredell takes us for an awesome journey into the freaky dressed up as wacky weirdos folded then unfolded in these entries, a place where these freaks easily escape their cages, in their slithery way–I’m warning you–huddling too close for comfort in this constant beam of cleverness and associative imagination.

 

Vouched ATL @ Artlantis with the Solar Anus reading series

8 Jun


This past Saturday I had the honor of setting up my first Vouched Books table at the third annual Artlantis Festival. The Solar Anus Reading series and I shared the booth for the day, which meant I got to spend the entire day with Amy McDaniel. It was a complete success. Books were sold, poems were read, mint-bourbon-lemonade and laughs were had, friends stopped by, and the whole day was full of merriment. Here are some pictures of our tom-foolery: 

A huge thank you to all of our friends who came by to support us, and all of the new friends we made. Special thanks to Jamie Iredell, Mark Basehore, and Blake Butler. And thank you most of all to Amy McDaniel for the lemonade, sandwiches, and all-around magnificence.

Single-Sentence Review: Prose. Poems. a novel. by Jamie Iredell

1 Nov

Jamie Iredell’s Prose. Poems. a novel. reads like a rattlesnake bite, leaves you with a tourniquet around your thigh, your best friend or lover on their knees at your ankle, mouth lipped around the reddening skin leeching out what would kill you otherwise.