Tag Archives: RAVI MANGLA

The Best Thing I’ve Read This Week: Corium Magazine

5 Sep

The Summer issue of always-delightful Corium was released Tuesday, and what a treat to find that Ravi Mangla is guest editor for this issue, what a complement to Lauren Becker’s exquisite collecting skills! Ravi is no stranger to the Vouched website or to our hearts, and he’s put together such a collection of smart and meloncholy bits of literary fireworks that you will read on with a building fever! You will read on with gusto! You’ll hope for more of the same and you’ll delight in not finding it. What’s more, he has arranged the issue in reverse alphabetical order, because Ravi Mangla is endlessly charming.

Inside is a solid set of stories and poetry that will tickle your bones in their most comfortable, knobbiest places, unpeel you like fifty heads of lettuce. They’ll scratch something underneath your bored cartilage, excite that basal ganglia nosegay of memory, make you want to get up and walk around with these words.

Look, for example, at a few lines of James Westoff’s “Dog Farm,” which starts you right out with a funny heartbeat and keeps surprising you along:

At one point, my father estimated we had over six hundred dogs.

Why?

We never talked about why. We usually just talked about how we could get more dogs. It was this thing in my family, our mission. Every morning at breakfast each went over his or her plan for that day. Here’s how I’m going to get some dogs.

Then there’s the painted beauty of Ashley Farmer’s stories, which remind me of a lovely Soviet ruin-porn website I’ve been frequenting, minus the social guilt. Just look at “Happy Hour,” printed here in its entirety:

In the city I find more city. Deer vault from parking structure to parking structure. When I jangle my keys they tremble near concrete beams. It is so wild when the building shakes. I use my arms to protect myself. I avoid mirrors, filing cabinets, windows. In an emergency, the carpet beneath my desk becomes desert. I sift it for miles and I sweat through my jacket like an animal. My shoes are crammed with sand.

One day a train parked in the lobby, an accidental renovation of smoke and glass and crushed black granite. My neighbor stepped from the train. He stepped through shards of his reflection then through mine, his face alive and tan. Happy hour began happening at the nearest outdoor assembly points, but who was smiling? Then the girders and skylights assembled again. They began their slow repair, just like us. Then neared repair. Nearer and nearer. Repairing.

Or maybe read these lines taken from Jim Ruland’s very short fiction “[Not] [So] [Long] [Ago]”

The forest is so beautiful.

It is old and the trees soar and the soil ticks with blood.

There are birds and then… something else.

It starts as a whine and grows louder and louder until the barely audible complaint transforms into a thunderous howl that shatters the silence.

[A] [      ] [      ] [     ] [train.]

In a quiet forest, you can hear them coming from a long way away.

Those who were killed here came in trains.

The poetry section too will tickle your enamel and your armhairs, will make you want to bend with the poets, bend into letters. Read “If I Were a Jackknife,” by San Francisco local Laura E. Davis, and you’ll see what I mean:

I’d have a slipjoint.
Put just the right pressure
on my back & I’d bend. The world
would be less circular, less filled
with old hymns. People could look through
the space my head took up in front of them
in the movie theater. But you wouldn’t
pin me against the back wall
credits rolling, hands on my ribs.
No ribs left. Just that slipjoint. My blade
would always be big enough
to fit back into my own handle.
I wouldn’t say this. I’d have
an awl or a can opener & I’d bend
half-wise, away from other sharp things.
That much would stay the same.

Don’t stop here, by any means. Wander around this issue, try it on like an endless set of footie pajamas that doubles as a fifty-person tent, that triples as an overgrown amusement park, painted all around with strange faces.

Laura Straub’s END O’ THE YEAR list

21 Dec


My futon’s favorite people:
Matt Bell & Brian Oliu, Amber Sparks, and Tyler Gobble.

Cool Presses that started working with Vouched the past six months: Lazy Fascist, Sarabande Books, Queen’s Ferry Press, Curbside Splendor, Spooky Girlfriend, and Black Ocean.

COVER ART: May We Shed These Human Bodies and The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan, Vol. 1

People I’m still confused to have not met IRL yet: Mel Bosworth and Christy Crutchfield

My Husband’s Budding Bromances: Ben Kopel, Tyler Gobble, and Kory Calico

Top 5 Stage Presences in no specific order: xTx, Devan Goldstein (when reading and also when he sings the shit out of some Bon Jovi), Amy McDaniel, Zach Schomburg, Peter Davis.

Favorite Dance Party: Lit Party @ AWP- duh! 

Thing that makes me feel like !!! every time I read it: Ravi Mangla’s Visiting Writers from Uncanny Valley Press

Favorite special thing: Electric lit’s recommendations in my inbox. SO RAD. Also Matthew Salesses’ Writer in Residence series at Necessary Fiction.

These book tours came and BLEW ME AWAY: Bloof books tour, The Southern Comfort Reading Tour, & the Over the Top tour.

Awful Interviews that still make me laugh big and large:  Joshua Ware, Michael Nye, Matt Bell, & Nicholas Tecosky (who still owes me an arm wrestle…)

What Would You Carry On Your Vouched Table?

31 May

I shouted this into Facebook and Twitter World and got some cool lists from Ravi Mangla, Mel Bosworth, Rob MacDonald, KMA Sullivan, and Diana Salier. I added my own list and babblethoughts and BOOM a new column in the Vouched Satellite/Smalldoggies Magazine series is up. CHECK IT PLZ.

Also, what would be on your own Vouched Table? Seriously, tell us, tell us!

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:

1954

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.

Deluge by Jane Wong

16 Nov

Poking around web journals today (read: not reading well, just browsing), this poem wrapped its hands around me, like READ ME KEEP GOING YES CONCENTRATE YES. My mind was foggy; now it’s not foggy. So compact, so structured, yet strong, like good father hands to pop me on the chin, say get back to work.

Get your mind right with the first section:

(WHALE HEART)

Men of science say it is miraculous: cut the heart open and it will shine out like a ruby. Left overnight, it becomes a hive, a city, a moon to sleep in. They say to tunnel through the arteries we would need a map. We would need to spread the ribs open like a fan, even if it’s winter. Once, when a whale washed ashore, we buried the heart in a crater. We felt it swimming through the soil, under our feet. During a flood, a child saw it breaching through the trees.

Also, this issue holds a cool thing by Ravi Mangla called Ways that has me all foggy again, but more like a good person just rearranged my life. (Mangla, you might remember, was Vouched by Laura recently.)

Four Micros from Visiting Writers

12 Nov

Ravi Mangla recently had these four micros released on Electric Literature’s blog, Outlet. You may have also seen some other micros from his Visiting Writers series on >Kill Author and Everyday Genius (His writing gets around. I respect that). I’m going to go ahead and let you know, you should really read these. If you don’t believe me, check out this excerpt:

Jorge Luis Borges asked me to select a record at random. I picked one from the nearest milk crate. Laid it on the turntable, lowered the needle. Borges sat in his favorite red chair with his pipe, nodding along. When the symphony finished, he leaned back, like after a satisfying meal. Fine choice of music, he said approvingly, despite no such choice having been made.

 

See? I told you.  100% charming.