From the piece, by Tobias Carroll: “It’s been a decade since Natasha Wimmer’s translation of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 was first published in the United States. Given this amount of time, several writers have begun exploring the impact and influence of Bolaño’s bibliography, with a particular focus on this mammoth work. That’s the case with Jonathan Russell Clark’s An Oasis of Horror in a Desert of Boredom, which does an excellent job of explaining why Bolaño’s work continues to resonate today, even as it also critiques aspects of it that haven’t aged as well. I asked Clark about the origins of the book, the process of writing it, and what unlikely literary facts can emerge when exploring Bolaño’s body of work.” Continue reading…
I was interviewed on the literary podcast Go Away, I’m Reading! Check it out here!
From the GAIR site: “Book critic Jonathan Russell Clark talked with us about the satisfaction he finds in writing criticism, his inspirations and the capriciousness of what hooks him in books. We also talk collecting books (and how they become the most hated objects in the house), unintentional manifestos, handling reader feedback, bridging the gap between older critics and the current literary and digital landscapes, and the way nobody ever takes a book recommendation.”
From The Spine‘s website: “Literary critic Jonathan Russell Clark starts at the very beginning by talking about a book he carried to school in first grade because he wanted to look smart (it’s a big one). In a high school English class, he read E. E. Cummings and everything changed. Now he lives in an apartment filled with books and reads for a living. We talk about what makes reading uniquely engaging.”
Tin Can Mailman’s founder Will Huack spent time on the Islands of Tonga while volunteering for the Peace Corps. One of Tonga’s islands, Niua Fo’ou, or “Tin Can Mail Island,” is so named because without a safe port for mail ships the islanders received their mail in tin cans heaved from the side of the boat. In 1972 with a few hundred books and some fruit crates for shelves, Huack opened Tin Can Mailman in Arcata, California. Eventually, though, Huack’s love for the South Pacific won out, and in 1994 he sold Tin Can to Richard Sanborn and Calista Sullivan and moved to Kauai. Sanborn and Sullivan only owned Tin Can for five years, but in that time they were able to secure a grant to renovate the store as a historical landmark. In 1999, they sold the place to Wadeth Bory, a longtime employee of both Huack and Sanborn who, along with manager Samantha Brown, still runs Tin Can Mailman’s operations. Continue reading…
The Women of the World Poetry Slam | Literary Hub
Since 1990, the National Poetry Slam has taken place in a different city each year, and an Individual World Poetry Slam was added in 2004. In 2008 Poetry Slam, Inc. introduced the Women of the World Poetry Slam (hereafter WOWPS), a rich and essential event, which this year takes place from March 9th to 12th in Brooklyn. During the four days of WOWPS, 96 of the best slam poets from around the globe (limited to, according to PSi’s mission statement, those “who live their lives as women… including gender non-conforming individuals”) will read, spout, quip, jab, shout, prattle, sing and croon—and they will inspire you in deep, unimagined ways. Slam poetry is a vital art—for women, poets of color, and LBGTQ writers, yes, but for every person invested in hearing other people’s voices, for those who may not find themselves in the characters of canonical literature, for anyone who yearns to expand their notion of this earth, and all the wildly talented, intensely effective artists who dwell within it. (Photo: Mahogany Browne. Photo credit: Kia Dyson.)
Check out my interview in 0s&1s Reads! It’s my first interview as a writer and critic, and I couldn’t be any more stoked about joining some of my favorite writers in “The Art of Commerce” interview series. Here’s to 2016!
An Interview w/ National Book Award-nominee Karen E. Bender | Literary Hub
According to herself, Karen E. Bender feels “more natural” as a short story writer, and, according to me, she’s a fantastic one. The stories in her first collection Refund aim directly at their targets, the prose clean and sharp, unobtrusive but startling—in other words, she’s the kind of writer who employs her language in the service of her characters and her situations. Authors of this ilk—Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathan Englander, Antonya Nelson, Rebecca Lee—possess a confidence that may seem undercut by the lack of flash, but make no mistake: it takes a great deal of self-belief and skill to focus on a story’s content (and content that, it should be noted, pursues real human moments rather than histrionic drama) rather than its presentation.
The Time I Got Really Stoned and Interviewed Jesse Eisenberg | Literary Hub
The idea of me interviewing Jesse Eisenberg for this website had been floating around for a while. At first I was going to do it, then I wasn’t, then I was again. I was supposed to talk to him Friday night, then Saturday, and when I contacted Jesse’s people on Sunday morning, they said they’d find out what was going on. So when I heard nothing more, I figured it wasn’t going to happen. So I got really stoned. And now I have to interview my first genuine (i.e. non-literary) celebrity while high out of my goddamn mind.
Mark Z. Danielewski Profile | Literary Hub
I interviewed and profiled Mark Z. Danielewski for Literary Hub. He’s a favorite of mine and a brilliant writer. We talked about literature, intertextuality, and his newest work, The Familiar: Vol 1, the first of 27 (!). And he asks an important question: “Do we strip away every-thing that we don’t like so we can find a song we like or do we change the way we listen?” Check it out here!
Kind of Just Telling the Story | Chautauqua, Issue 11
An interview I did with novelist and poet Jason Mott, author of The Returned (basis for ABC’s Resurrection) and the upcoming The Wonder of All Things. Click the photo to link to Chautauqua’s website and purchase a copy! I was also an assistant editor for the issue.