Tag Archives: Sasha Fletcher

Poor Claudia has a Crush on Sasha Fletcher and DAMMIT so do I.

14 Jan

Right around the time I decided to launch a Vouched table here in Atlanta, Christopher gave me a copy of Sasha Fletcher‘s When All Our Days Are Numbered Marching Bands Will Fill the Streets and We Will Not Hear Them Because We Are Upstairs In the CloudsJust typing out the title makes my threading pulse speed up. Now, just a year or two later, the spine of the book is cracked and white- a callus only my most loved titles can claim.

Then this morning- be still my heart!- I discovered Poor Claudia announced its latest Crush on Sasha. These five poems will win you over! Check out this excerpt from the chap’s first poem this is the year where astonishing things try to kill us (sidenote- Sasha rules with titles):

There are days I feel like waking up and discovering
I am pretty enough to be strapped
to the prow of a ship. If you’ve ever dreamed
of being pretty enough to be strapped to the prow of a ship
raise your hands. Otherwise proceed to the bank.

Further in you’ll find that love is real!!!!!!!!

We are standing on the pier trying to watch the sunset
but it’s not there. instead there are ships
wrecking themselves all over the place. We applaud
wildly…

Read the rest! 

 

 

 

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10 Oct

I saw that one of my favorite journals, Sixth Finch, had a new issue out. With the online journals that I read most of the work from every issue, I like to take an evening to sit down and read it, instead of reading a few pieces here and there like I do with other journals. Tonight was my date with Sixth Finch, and as usual, the thing delivers! Below are some reactions on the issue.

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Cover art feels a little grittier, a little edgier than I’m used to seeing when I pop up Sixth Finch. Rad.

I dig dig dig the color schemes they use.

The first piece, “Summer Camp for Sirens” by Kathleen Balma, takes some serious strides. To go from “We get a new flag for everything we learn. There’s even a new flag for learning how to earn a new flag!” to “We are taught never to talk about this. Our organs do the talking for us. The mouth of all pain is called the brain” (and have it work so well!) is just fantastic.

I’m glad to see Sasha Fletcher continues to refuse to tame his imagination. Gorgeous leaps and laps in the poem here, “Let Me Tell You About My Day.” 

I don’t know what to say that would sound cool or smart about “Butterfly” by Elizabeth Hildreth, but here’s a part from the middle that I can’t stop thinking about:

         Being inside the sea

if you like the sea must be

like being inside a body

you like, inside hiding,

inside a song you like,

the motor running,

hanging in the trees.

“TMI” by Dara Wier reminds me why human interaction is so beautiful. The strange flow of conversation. The awkward moments and how we handle them. The unrelenting desire to say what we think, what we know. GOODNESS.

I don’t know much about visual art, but I think Sixth Finch is trying to change that, not letting me skim over this section ever. I particularly enjoyed Family Day’s eeriness, Canopy #4‘s movement, and Finding Balance‘s difficult-to-place endearing strangeness.

SSM: “i laughed so hard i fell down” by Sasha Fletcher

5 May

This post is bending the rules a little bit, I’ll admit right out of the gate (but honestly, the rules were already bent on day 1 of SSM when I posted a short story by Tobias Wolff that was collected in a book that was obviously not released on a small press, okay). “i laughed so hard i fell down” is not technically a short story, but an excerpt from Fletcher’s novella, When All Our Days Are Numbered Marching Bands Will Fill the Streets and We Will not Hear Them Because We Will Be Upstairs in the Clouds, an exceptionally long title for an exceptionally good book.

But! I contend that “i laughed so hard i fell down” stands on its own as a short story, so I’m making it a part of SSM.

Like I said yesterday, I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately, pretending to be a man of the earth. As of yesterday, I am now looking forward to the fruits of 4 strawberry plants, 4 raspberry bushes, tomatoes, red peppers, and a smattering of herbs.

After all the hard work I put into getting these plants into the earth, I do admit to feeling a sense of pride, a sense of having worked (Matt Bell and I were just talking about Denis Johnson’s story “Work,” another short story you need to read). I’ll fully admit to a perhaps misguided romanticism around gardening and other forms of simpler, hard labor, but there still exists something to it. Thinking about Fletcher’s story right now gets to something deep, something that sometimes eats at me, specifically in this passage:

I was up all night drawing pictures of plants. I cut them out of the paper and glued them to some cardboard. I glued the cardboard to some paint stirrers and I planted them in the yard. I tried to make sure that there were some pretty good plants in there.

*
I am building you a garden the best that I can. I built you a steamboat. I built you a window. I built you a river.

*
I built a ship out of the floorboards and I floated it on down the river.

*
I made the river out of what rivers have always been made out of.

*
I believed in tradition as much as I could for all the ways it could help me and all the ways that it would.

Sometimes I envy my brother, a steelworker. I know. If I spent a week doing his job, especially a week in the middle of January or August, I would absolutely hate it. But, what I envy about it is its tangibility. Take for instance the new Indianapolis Colts stadium.

My brother built this.

The Lucas is an engineering marvel. The structure itself is awe-inspiring and beautiful, which should be enough for my brother to take pride in being a major part of its building. What’s more, look how many people are there. At any given event, my brother can see 1,000s upon 1,000s of people enjoying this thing he helped create over the course of 3 years.

There is something there that I envy. Making a life of writing and art has little of such tangible acknowledgment. We are creating objects for which a greater portion of the world’s population has neither care nor use. This is not me bitching. It’s a simple fact, and I don’t think I know a single writer or artist who hasn’t had the same romanticized notions of a simpler, more laborious profession.

I often think of a line by one of my favorite bands, Waxwing, when I get into this line of thinking, from their song “What These Hands Have Grown,” that goes: “I wish I were a farmer to be satisfied with what these hands have grown, but no food of mine sits in the bellies of others.”

There’s a yearning there, in the song, in Fletcher’s story, in my chest, hopefully in yours too, to create something of real meaning and value to others, something as necessary to sustain life as food.

Just as my brother holds to his tradition of a hard day’s work for all the ways it can help him and all the ways it will, I hold to my tradition of art, of storytelling. Because just as structures are necessary for humans to have a home, stories are necessary for humans to have a history.

Josh Mickelson on When All Our Days Are Numbered

16 Aug

I know I’ve mentioned often Sasha Fletcher’s When All Our Days Are Numbered, but I’ve been holding off reviewing myself on here because I wanted to save some space for my buddy Josh to say a few words on it.

What interests me about Josh’s perspective is that he doesn’t fancy himself a writer. He likes to jot some stuff on occasion, but he doesn’t treat writing as a passion or vocation.

On a recent camping trip with Josh and a dozen other mutual friends, we had a long drive home on which we listened to Matt Bell’s Wolf Parts. Josh’s enthusiasm with that book, and subsequent other small press books and journals I’ve encouraged him to check is the very reason I’m doing Vouched.

There’s a constant refrain that writers these days are simply writing for other writers, especially in the small press community, but Josh is a singular example of that refrain being bullshit, and I’ve heard countless other examples from others.

Thanks for punching this quick review out, Josh.

What happens when our every day lives meld with our dreamscapes? It would be almost as if my vivid imaginations are being poured into a pot with the bills I have to pay or the car insurance I need to renew. Maybe when they are all mixed together we are elevated into this new world. A world where we can build anything we want and be flexible within the constraints of our reality. These freedoms can be both rewarding and frightening when that feeling of disconnect sets in.

This is the feeling I had when reading Sasha Fletcher’s first novel(a) When All our Days Are Numbered Marching Bands Will Fill the Streets & We Will Not Hear Them Because We Will Be Upstairs in the Clouds. He takes risks with both ideas and language itself. I felt as if I was reading a direct transcript of Fletcher’s thought-stream. The book inspired me to be more open to my own imagination and invite the people I love into it.

***

Josh Mickelson lives in Denver, where he breathes thin air and is altogether awesome at being awesome.

Newcomings.

2 Jul

Despite some email glichery, I’ve finally gotten word that sunnyoutside and mud luscious are both on board with Vouched.

This means I’ll be able to offer Modern Love by Andrew Scott and For All These Wretched, Beautiful, & Insignificant Things So Uselessly & Carelessly Destroyed… by Hosho McCreesh, both out on sunnyoutside.

And also, We Take Me Apart by Molly Gaudry and when all our days are numbered marching bands will fill the streets and we will not hear them because we will be upstairs in the clouds by Sasha Fletcher.

I’m glad to finally get things going with both of these presses, as the Vouched table wouldn’t feel complete without the four of these titles.