The Opening Line – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, cover

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."And so begins the first sentence to Hunter S. Thompson's seminal 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, a book, which give or take a few missed opportunities, I have endeavoured to read once a year since first picking it up … [Read more...]

beyond the ghosts: poems by t. kilgore splake

Beyond the Ghosts: Poetry by t. kilgore splake

beyond the ghosts: poems by t. kilgore splake / Presa Press / PO Box 792, Rockford MI 49341 / 35 pages / $6.00t. kilgore splake knows how to draw an evocative picture with just a few strokes of his pen, each line shimmers and is necessary. beyond the ghosts's poems look at people, and the wild places in nature and in splake's heart.In these intimate poems, he sees … [Read more...]

Joints

Harold's, San Pedro; image copyright Marshall Astor, Food Fetishist, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeontheedge/125389576/ / CC BY CA

One of San Pedro’s most appealing qualities is that it’s not very popular. When I first decided to move here from Venice my neighbor, a realtor, suggested why.“It’s so working class, just a lot of longshoremen, nothing to do there, hardly any art galleries, cafes or good restaurants…and it’s landlocked, hard to get to and so far away from everything…you’ll become a … [Read more...]

Opacity: Liminal Landmine-Bodies – the foreword to Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai

Liberty Limited

Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai / Éditions Arthée / 2013 / ISBN: 9789993184638One of my most despondent memories relates to my first encounter with “Mother Country” France, where it was distressingly tacit that I am “other” than French, that I am fundamentally an islander from Guadeloupe, a French woman sure, but from overseas, from – “over there”. Yes, from … [Read more...]

Grand Marais by t. kilgore splake

Grand Marais by Jonathunder, via Wikipedia

Grand Marais by t. kilgore splake / paperback, with DVD / 978-1-4675-8222-3t. kilgore splake's latest volume is a poetic and photographic celebration of Grand Marais, Minnesota, a small city on the shore of Lake Michigan.splake's roots go deep in the Grand Marais area. It's where, aside a campfire years ago, he wrote his first poem. It's here that his pen name was … [Read more...]

David Handley’s interview with Author Alex Preston

Alex Preston Books

Alex Preston was born in Worthing, West Sussex in 1979. He is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, 2010's This Bleeding City, and The Revelations which was released in 2012. As well as his work as a novelist, Preston writes and reviews for a number of publications; The Guardian in England, and a magazine in Greece.The chance to interview one of your favourite … [Read more...]

Hammond Guthrie’s AsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor

As Ever Was: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor by Hammond Guthrie

AsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor by Hammond Guthrie / 2nd edition / Jorvik Press / 978-0988412231 / paperback, 296 pagesWhen the counterculture was busy being born in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mid-1960s, Hammond Guthrie found himself in the midst of hipster heaven, somewhere between late Beat and early Hippie. A budding painter and writer, he quickly made … [Read more...]

Review – T.C. Boyle Stories II

TC Boyle - Stories II

Stories II by T.C. Boyle / Viking / Penguin Group / 2013 / 978-0670026258 / 944 pagesIn some form or another the short story has probably been around as long as man has had the desire and the ability to communicate. Oral tales told around the fire at night aren't going to be long drawn out affairs. Neither are they going to deal with more than one subject. While they might … [Read more...]

Review – Erik Verhaar’s Andalusian Dogging

Andalusian Dogging by Erik Verhaar

Andalusian Dogging by Erik Verhaar, translated by Jonathan Ellis / The Reception Game / 2013 / 17 pages In Erik Verhaar's short story, inspired by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali's 1929 film An Andalusian Dog (Un Chien Andalou), the film itself becomes a character.An Andalusian Dog bumps into this story's narrator on the street:"I felt his fingers tap my shoulder. I … [Read more...]

Review – How Hip Was My Alley by Kenton Crowther

How Hip Was My Alley by Kenton Crowther

[Editor's note: 5/21/2014: How Hip Was My Alley has been re-titled Dad, the Times We Had: Baby Boomers in Paradise.]Kenton Crowther's previous volume, Alleycats and Beatsters, collected the author's writings built on the Beat Generation and the essence of "hip." This time out, he casts a wider net; How Hip Was My Alley gathers over three dozen pieces on a wide variety of … [Read more...]

Cry, Exploration, Ceremony

Howl by Allen Ginsberg / Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko / Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich. Collage copyright Empty Mirror.

Oppositional postmodernist literature is associated with the Beat movement and came about after the terrible, unforeseen destruction of World War II. While the modernists were positive about the human spirit and mankind’s ability to progress to an ever better future, postmodernists posited that there is creative power in negativity and opposition as well as destructive … [Read more...]

Love in the no-land space between two cultures: an interview with Zlatko Anguelov

Zlatko Anguelov

Jasmina Tacheva talks with Bulgarian-American author Zlatko Anguelov about his newest book, Erotic Memories (2012), and the ideas of love, devotion, harmony and memory on the border between two cultures.Zlatko Anguelov, born 1946 in Varna, Bulgaria, is a Bulgarian-American writer, a Canadian and American citizen who lived for 21 years in North America, and recently moved … [Read more...]

My Father

FATHER - Vintage family photo via Tobyotter/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/5334024309/

Franz Kafka wrote a long letter to his father. It said a lot of what I wanted to say to my father but did not have the words or self-composure or courage to say. So I left it on his desk and sometime later I found it on the stairs going up to my room indicating he had read it and had nothing to say.To be humiliated by your father in any way and not be able to respond or … [Read more...]

splake’s Magic Box

splake2

splake fishing in america. Rockford: Presa Press, 2013 only in my dreams. Springfield: Gage, 2012. Beyond Campfire Ashes. Battle Creeek: Gage, 2012. Backwater Bard Loft Musings. Fort Wayne: The Moon, 2009. Le Metrop 2012. Ed Gray dir. (dvd).Poet Bryn Fortey said it best: “When splake sends, he really sends.”Once, both of us received woolly hats from the … [Read more...]

Jenny Lynn

Jenny Lynn

Cold wind is building and ready. It is not understood the pent feelings that have suddenly surfaced after long and even further back and then along the slow moving world and probably before the long awaited return of a Gypsy night. She said her name was Jenny Lynn. WAIT. Let me think.It was in the south section grid just beyond the usual spot where did we usually wait … [Read more...]

Straight Pool

Straight Pool by Ricker Winsor / image copyright http://www.sxc.hu/profile/rockpuppet

It was nineteen-sixty-two, Saturday, a hot afternoon. “Whadaya want to do?”“I don’t know. Whadaya want to do, Kenny?” I answered. “Maybe we could go up to New Rochelle and play pool.” I was addicted to pool at that time.“Ok” he said, “I’ll stop by the cleaners and see if my father will give me some money.”“It’s ok with me,” I said, knowing that his father … [Read more...]

Review – Tripping with Allah by Michael Muhammad Knight

Tripping with Allah by Michael Muhammad Knight

Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing by Michael Muhammad Knight Soft Skull Press / 978-1593764432 / 256 pagesThe idea of using drugs in order to achieve some sort of spiritual enlightenment has been around for probably as long as humanity. Whether looking for answers to great mystical questions or just on a personal quest for enlightenment the use of external … [Read more...]

Poetry Book Review: SPRUNG by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Sprung by Laura Madeline Wiseman

SPRUNG by Laura Madeline Wiseman / San Francisco Bay Press, 259 Granby St. Suite 200, Norfolk, VA 23517 / 2012 / 100 pages / 978-0982829578There's fun in these irreverent poems, but also a serious look at gender and sexuality. What has sprung in this debut full-length collection (though Wiseman has published many chapbooks) is an imaginary penis that follows the voiced … [Read more...]

Typewriter Experiment #1: Getting to Know You

Original image: Olivetti Lettera 32, c. 1975 by mpclemens / Foter.com / CC BY. Photoshopped greatly by Empty Mirror.

A few months ago I bought an Olivetti typewriter with the goal of experimenting with the way the creative process changes when writing on a typewriter versus writing on a computer. This image is a scan of my first attempt, a stream of consciousness concerning the experiment itself, complete with errors. I enjoy not only the writing about writing but the aesthetic beauty of the … [Read more...]

Review – Beatitude: A Novel by Larry Closs

Beatitude by Larry Closs

Beatitude by Larry Closs / Rebel Satori Press / 2011 / 978-1608640294 / 272 pagesLarry Closs' debut novel focuses on Harry Charity, who is gay, and his relationship with straight poet & Marine Jay Bishop. The Beat Generation fills the pages: there's the pair's shared affinity for the Beat Generation writers, the books, bookshops, the jazz, the New York setting, and even an … [Read more...]

Wankers, Burds, and Skag: Heteroglossia in Trainspotting

trainspotting

Mikhail Bakhtin, a twentieth century Russian philosopher and semiotician, was a theorist who worked heavily in literary theory, as well as the philosophy of language. One of his major concepts regarding the philosophy of language addresses the variations and dialects that occur in one single language. Heteroglossia revolves around the concept that multiple languages exist … [Read more...]

Review – The Beauty of being Hated by Jack Leaf Willetts

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Many of the poems in Jack Willetts' debut poetry collection, The Beauty of being Hated, explore the way we label and think about feelings. Here are the pain and hope that spring, intertwined, from the aftermath of failed relationships and beginnings of new ones, and what lies between. Not all emotions are pure: lines blur, converge, and tangle in relationships with loved ones, … [Read more...]

20+ book gifts for cool kids – and adults, too!

Books for cool kids

Got a kid on your holiday shopping list? Want to introduce them to the Beats, modern design, the '60s, jazz, folk, or rock & roll? Learn about your favorite musicians & places? Or, just give 'em something fun? Check these way cool tomes for tots (and grown-ups, too).Most of these are picture books; a few are available for Kindle, too.Click on any title to learn more … [Read more...]

An Interview with Poet Jack Leaf Willetts

jack-emptry-mirror450

Jack, your new poetry collection, The Beauty of being Hated, has just been published. What can you tell us about it?It was hard to live and hard to write. It was written out of a series of negative situations and I was bent on documenting them. I was in a position where I was able to explore the concepts of love and hate and the close connection between these emotions. In … [Read more...]