Monthly Archives: November 2009

Interview Jamie Iredell Prose. Poems. A Novel.

1.) Many of these texts seem to explore nostalgia, a time-before, an Idyll in a way, but with a voice from the present, gazing back…Can you discuss the importance of the past in your work?

Nostalgia’s probably the emotion I associate with closest when it comes to narrative. Also, it’s no secret that this book is autobiographical. I changed a lot of details, put things together that in reality were very disparate, and made up stories entirely, so I think it’s still “fiction”. But the narrator here (let’s use a cliché and say he’s not “me,” but someone I know very well) is certainly retrospective, looking back, and kind of killing this old him that used to be. Even in other stories I’ve written that aren’t in any way autobiographical I have a fascination with the ways people change over time and how they look back on the people they used to be. There’s something both exalting and sad about it. The struggle is keeping it from being sentimental.

2.) I have a friend named Dan. He saw your book on my kitchen table and said he knew you, said one time you bumped a rail of cocaine at a bowling alley, out in the open, like atop those shelves where you pick out your bowling ball. He said that was a few years ago out west.

Is this true?

I used to know this guy that we called Dan-the-Man. I can’t remember his real last name, but this guy could hook up all kinds of drugs. His apartment was like an illegal pharmacy. In all ways it was like any person’s apartment, except that Dan-the-Man’s apartment came with a coffee table adorned with coke-encrusted mirrors. Once me, Fredo, and Dan-the-Man all jammed a bunch of psychedelic mushrooms down our throats at Dan-the-Man’s apartment. All night, Fredo kept calling the mushrooms “munchies”, and he wouldn’t stop eating them, until he curled in the bathtub laughing at the ceiling and calling down the hall for us to bring him more “munchies.” It was that kind of place. I might’ve snorted some lines with Dan-the-Man—or someone else named Dan—at the Starlight, which was where we sometimes went bowling. I don’t bowl. I suck at it, so for me it’s not much fun. But there’s beer involved at least, and the bar at the Starlight has a ceiling that looks like an enormous purple Ruffles potato chip. Once I snorted lines off the top of the bar at the Highlander in plain view of anyone who gave a damn. Eventually, Dan-the-Man got his girlfriend pregnant. Last I heard he was driving a truck, his belly flopping over his belt, as he helped his father erect townhomes in Fernley, Nevada. Dan-the-Man’s girlfriend stayed at home with the kid, and sometimes she and Dan-the-Man would fight. Also, sometimes they wouldn’t fight. They are exactly like everyone else.

And, follow up, is bowling a sport?

If bowling’s a sport, then so is snorting cocaine. Bowling requires dexterity, like crushing up a tough rock on a CD case without shooting chunks off into the carpet of your pick-up’s floorboards. It also asks precision of the bowler, and care. If you don’t want to go to jail, you have to know how to get your coke and how to do it. Especially when you’re out at bars, and snorting in a truck in an alleyway, or in the parking lot of Wal-mart. Once, my buddy Bob bought a ball of coke and did the entire thing by himself, locked up in this dank apartment that smelled like sweaty underwear, and that had an antelope head posted up on a wall, an antelope Bob had gunned down and that I named “Merle”. Bob still says, “If you didn’t kill it, then you can’t name it.” I saw Bob for a minute that night, and his eyes looked like tiny bowling balls about to rocket out of their sockets. A professional bowler has amazingly long tournaments. Bob looks just like these professionals, except maybe fifty pounds heavier. At my wedding, Bob’s T-shirt read, “I make my own gas.”

3.) I am sick of people who intimate that flash fiction is blooming now “because we all have short attention spans,” blah, blah. How would you answer those who claim this?

Flash fiction asks much more of a reader’s attention than, say, War and Peace. Everything’s so tightly controlled in flash that, as a reader, if you miss the tiniest detail, the whole story could be lost. In War and Peace, for example, you might forget about the scene—early in the novel—where Pierre is drunk and ties a bear to a sentry and somehow wrangles them into the Neva River. Forgetting that scene over the next thousand pages isn’t going to completely destroy your experience of the novel. There’s an obvious problem in my comparison, in that flash fiction is not a novel, but to say that lack of attention span is the reason there’s more flash today is naïve. For one, I’m not sure there’s more flash than in previous eras. Folk tales don’t bog the listener down with character or narrative development in the same ways that long-length fiction can; Jesus’ parables had a punch-and-run effect; some of Ovid works like very short fiction; and Aesop’s Fables are certainly precursors to modern flash; some of the tales of The Decameron, it goes on and on. If anything, flash fiction is closer to poetry than fiction, and so it’s language condensed, broken down to what really matters.

I suppose some people might like to say that flash occurs in online literary magazines because the medium more aptly appropriates the form, or that flash is derivative of the fragmented world we live in, or some other postmodern evaluation of Earth—or Western culture. But I don’t necessarily see that this hasn’t always been with us, while at the same time epics were recited, and novels and lyric poems were written. Maybe to some readers flash is like a music video, a short film, or a commercial, but these forms are explicit unto themselves as video art in the first two examples, and kitsch in the latter. Flash deals with language as its subject matter (also, sometimes narrative) and because of that it’s literary art, not schlock.

4.) Here I go teaching a lesson or two on titles to my students, and then you go NO TITLES. Explain.

When I wrote these things—the initial drafts—they came out mostly title-less. But, when I published them in magazines I gave them titles, and had fun thinking of good ones. With many of the individual pieces I used titles that were part of the first clause of the story. The pieces from which the titles of the sections came start with “When I moved to Nevada,” or “When I moved to Atlanta,” etc. The title seemed apt, in that it highlighted the action of the story, and ran right along as part of the first clause. I also had titles that were a glimpse into the story, like “Praying in the Snow,” which you mention in a question below. My students also go forgetting titles on stories and essays, and I teach the importance of them, but when I collected all these little stories into the overall story that makes up this book, I realized that from story to story, as they move along, they’re telling one story about this guy who’s a fuck-up who fucks up until he stops fucking up. The individual titles broke up the continuity. So the titles had to go.

5.) The beverage Zima appears in your writing. Zima is generally known as the lamest drink on the planet. Can you explain the importance and/or role of Zima in your writing? More seriously, the role of alcohol? Device, or something else?

Zima is indeed the world’s worst drink. Ever. Zima shows up in a story when the narrator is a teenager. Teenagers don’t know what the fuck they’re doing when they drink. They’ll drink shit like Zima, Boone’s Farm wine, Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Anyway, Zima, in that particular story, shows that this guy’s an idiot, the same kind of idiot we all were when we were sixteen.

As I said, this book is autobiographical, and my friends in Reno and I were like that Alice in Chains song, “Junkhead.” Our drug of choice was whatever you had. Alcohol was more readily available and cheap in a place like Reno, Nevada than any other drug (casinos, twenty-four hour gambling and drinking). But, to say it’s in these stories because that’s the way it really was isn’t an explanation. It contributes to character and story development. Also, lots of flash seems to deal with the absurd and surreal, and alcohol and drugs certainly fuel that—at least in this book.

6.) Can you discuss PLACE? You seem to continually juxtapose the natural world with us humans (part of the natural world, but so not). Can you discuss this?

Like nostalgia, place is prominent in my writing probably because when I started loving literature it was because I read Of Mice and Men. I’m from the Monterey Bay Area, and when I was a kid and read Steinbeck’s novella, it was the first time I could relate directly to a writer. Before that they all lived in England and wrote about Narnia. I knew the Salinas River—practically the exact spot Steinbeck describes in the opening to Of Mice and Men. Since then I’ve been interested place—especially the natural (nonhuman) world—and how humans interact with it. Maybe this is symptomatic of growing up on the west coast. There’s a lot of “place” out there. When you stand at the top of Castle Peak in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, you can see. That’s harder to achieve on the east coast. There are too many trees, the “mountains” are actually hills, and suburbs filled with assholes waiting to give you high fives wind through the landscape. But, the top of Castle Peak is desolate and dangerous. The first snow in the Sierra Nevadas usually falls sometime around Halloween. One day it’s 80 degrees, the next it’s dumping powder, and fast. It’s easy to get snowed in, like the Donner Party did. My grandfather used to tell me stories about the Donner Party, so that’s also an example of the tie between place and human that’s not as pretty as a river winding through a valley.

7.) Will you trace the path to publication (as a collection) for these works?

I first started by sending the individual pieces from this book to many of the traditional print literary magazines. From many I received form rejections, and some editors sent back notes, saying that they liked what they read, but it wasn’t quite right for them. I figured beforehand that that might be the case (because of the flash form), but why not try. I thought places that might be more receptive to the form would be online literary journals, and print journals that weren’t associated with colleges and universities, or at least seemed to feature more innovative writing, or that specifically looked for flash fiction/prose poetry. The first acceptance of these pieces was at NANO Fiction. Then other places started taking pieces, too: 3:AM, elimae, Hotel St. George, Mud Luscious, Wigleaf, Keyhole, Oranges and Sardines, PANK, etc. When Carl Annarummo, editor of The Corduroy Mtn. and Greying Ghost Press, accepted some pieces he asked if I had enough to put together a chapbook. I told him that I did, and then scrambled and put a chapbook together. I did have enough of the short pieces, but hadn’t really organized them in any way. So I worked on the chap that became When I Moved to Nevada for a while before I sent it to Carl. A while later he accepted it.

I put the short pieces of WIMTN as a section into a book along with lined poems, this thing that at the time I called “The Donner Party Picnic Area.” Some writer friends who read that book all said that the section stuck out by itself, and—while it felt linked to the other poems thematically—it was distinct in form and content and deserved its own book. I knew I could go on telling stories like the little ones that appeared in that book, so I continued writing them. Altogether, I probably wrote 150 pages of these short stories/flash fictions/prose poems. Then I started culling them, pulling the best out, and forming them—along with WIMTN—into this book. I continued sending the individual pieces out, and also divided the other sections into chapbooks.

I sent the book as a whole off to Barry Graham at Paper Hero Press, around the time that he was finishing up with Sam Pink’s book. Barry offered to publish the last section as the chapbook Atlanta. At that point, I figured why not publish each section as chapbooks before publishing the book as a whole. So I sent the first section to Adam Robinson at Publishing Genius. I’m really grateful to those editors (Carl, Barry, and Adam) for publishing the chaps. They all knew I had a book as a whole, and that I published the other sections, but they all said that they loved the writing, and that it deserved to be published. They made me feel really good about what I was doing.

While all of that was going on, I was revising, restructuring, toning up the book as a whole, and I sent it out everywhere I possibly could. I wanted to send it to Hotel St. George Press, but this was right when the economy took a shit, and they didn’t have any money. I asked Adam Robinson if Publishing Genius would be interested in the book-length manuscript and he said it was possible, but it probably wouldn’t be until 2010 or 11, as he only published so many books per year and already had his plate full. Call me impatient, then. I also sent the book to Starcherone Books, Spuyten Duyvil, Etruscan Press, Blue Road Press, Pecan Grove Press, Keyhole, and there’s probably a few places I’m missing. Meantime, Jason Behrends at Orange Alert Press had reviewed Atlanta and also mentioned some of the individual pieces on his blog, so I emailed him, asking if he’d be interested in seeing the full-length manuscript. After I sent it to him, he got back to me in about two months, which was the quickest anyone had yet. He accepted the book. I held off, though, because I wanted to see how it would do with the other presses. I told everyone that I had an interested press, but that I hadn’t yet signed a contract. Everyone was really great about that. I just wanted to go with the best thing I could possibly get, and there were a number of factors I wanted to consider. Orange Alert offered to have the book published by the following autumn, which was fast, and attractive. Also, since I design books for C&R Press, I knew how I wanted this book to look. And if I could design the book myself, I knew I would be happy. Orange Alert also said they could accommodate me there. So, that’s who I ended up with, and the editors of the other presses were understanding and generous with my wants in this regard. They didn’t make me feel like a dick, in other words. Almost all of these editors said something to the effect of, “we know it’s a tough business out there, so if you’ve got a press that already knows they want to publish it, go for it. No hard feelings.” It wasn’t like they all wanted to publish it or something—most of them were still considering it, and hadn’t made a decision—I just didn’t want to waste their time, with their readers reading it, and all.

All that said, while the chapbooks came and so too the book, it wasn’t like I didn’t get rejected, or that it wasn’t hard. I did a lot of footwork to see who I thought would receive the book best, and I think that cut out a lot of unnecessary postage. What I mean by footwork is that I looked up presses’ website, ordered their books, read those books, and evaluated. In the end, when it comes to the initial drafting and final publication of the book, in total it was about two years’ time.

8.) The first time your writing snarled off the page for me was one Tuesday I was leafing through an issue of NANO Fiction. You had this flash (on page 72 of this book) and it opens with a reference to Halloween. So the reader has a tone and mood and subject anticipation. Then the flash ends up having an absolutely different tone than expected. It’s homage (again nostalgic) to the almost kissed, the what-could-have-been, the stirring smoke of regret, etc. It’s a touching, beautiful work, and a reversal, is my point.

That’s a long way of asking, Are turns and reversals a thing you look for/enjoy in your writing, or maybe they surprise you?

Thank you. The guy who suggested the title for the book (Mike Dockins, a poet) really loves that one, too, and I think it’s his favorite. It means a lot to me when you and him—two people with writing and critical approaches to literature that I admire—say that about something I wrote. When drafting the parts of this book, I didn’t think about things like reversals, and probably few people do. I did a lot of writing without thinking, a technique that’s working more and more for me. I talked to Dean Young about this a lot when he came to Atlanta once. It’s not automatic writing like Kerouac wrote about. I write without thinking to see what comes out, but in revision and rewriting the actual story or whatever shapes itself. When I wrote this book, I would start off with whatever character/situation/place, etc., came to me without really thinking about it, then I shot the details out. Since I was dealing with nostalgia, narrative came along with the territory. I was thinking about what things were like then from the perspective of the here and now (which is now then). So there’s automatically a sense of time-passed. When I would get to the end of the shorts, I wanted to get some turn of phrase—or image, detail—something that made the prose click closed, like a box, a la Yeats’ idea of how a poem works. I suppose that reversals are built into us, as products of western civilization? Some would likely disagree with that, that Aristotle has wound his way into our collective consciousness so indelibly. Perhaps in revision I saw things that I could turn for surprise. I do love irony. Not all reversals are ironic, though. I don’t fucking know.

9.) The title of this book seems to want make cake and eat it too. Can you expound on the title?

The title’s a bit of a joke, or a challenge. One of the pieces in the book is about rattlesnakes, with the word/image “rattlesnake” repeating throughout it. That thing was titled “Rattlesnakes: An Essay: On Rattlesnakes” when it was published in a magazine. The book’s title, like this rattlesnake title, makes fun of genre, and titling conventions. I had about four or five different titles for this book, including “They Called Me Larry,” “Feel the Inside of the Back of My Skull with Your Fist,” “Looking Back, it’s Only Now that I See What Kind of Idiot I’ve Become.” When none of these satisfied, I said, I’m just going to call it “Prose.” A friend—Mike Dockins, the same guy who suggested the rattlesnake title—said, “yes, ‘Prose,’ colon, ‘Poems.’” I laughed, and he went on, “colon, ‘a Novel.’” We were drinking. You can see what kind of dorks we are. I didn’t consider the title seriously for some time. After a while though, it worked on me. It’s a dork’s-tongue-in-his dork’s-cheek done in a dorky way. It is just like making the cake and eating it. The title is about what the fuck it is that you’re reading, which is a book of poems, written in prose, that, when collected, make up something that is at least novel-like.

10.) Does a writer write best when deeply in love?

Yes. Not necessarily romantic love. Maybe just in love with life, or the world. That’s sentimental. Maybe it is more like romantic love. Sometimes you really hate your lover, or you want to do something to hurt your lover, because you love them so much. It helps to feel this way about writing. Really love it, but also hate doing it, want to hurt it, hate it.

Sunday is a Mechanical Flea

I want to do some really shitty mechanic work on my car. Like I want to change the oil but leave the little nut on, or mis-thread the nut or something and oil all dripping behind my car and staining my driveway all permanent Rorschach potato flavored glisten can’t get out really but can try with kitty litter. I want to work on the wiring under the hood. Like mix the red and blue wires all MacGyver Level Four and cause a small fire and have to call those car guys that laugh too much and dishonestly and then they tell me how I spell my name and maybe a chipmunk got under my hood and burned up and then more laughing. I want to tape my ceiling cloth and I tape it wrong and it dangles atop my head, I feel it in my hair. I want to fix the little lock on the glove compartment but then I squeeze vice grips too hard and shatter the plastic and now the thing yawns open, always.  I want to put a tire on wrong and have it tumble off on the highway, rolling along the shoulder like a ghost tire and I’m gripping the steering wheel while I slide off into a ditch. I just want to work on my car in a really, really, seriously shitty manner. That’s what I want to do.


Tomorrow a publisher tells me something good or maybe not so good.


There is a waffle shortage going on.


Going to go float in fog.


Lunch is Level Seven:




Karen Volkman is a Better Poet than We

Karen Volkman does things with words, I don’t know how. Like lots of people can write about kissing, but how many go:

the clang and strop of it, the undercover wet.

In the bluebit, heartquit leaping I might be binded. But tongue, lip, lap are brim beginning, a prank of yet.

This is one of those times I read something and I think, “I’m not sure exactly what you mean but I am sure exactly what you mean.”

Volkman commands words. That’s the correct verb, command. She takes their usual uses, then reorders them, then marches them into some form of dance or battle. What exactly is a kiss? Good question. It is many things, and poetry seems the way to examine the idea and actuality. You must be able to make things not what they are, off-kilter, both feeling and non-feeling, both press of lips, and the space between the lips, and all more after…

I was trying to tell a student how they need to work their language, bend their syntax (They were doing this–I wanted them to do it more), to make the form and function of the text help each other along. After a while I quit talking and copied some Volkman poems and gave them to the student. I said, “Read.”

Here is an interview if you want an interview.

Another thing I like about Volkman is that so many of her poetry links are broken. I think a poet should have a lot of broken links, or links that just unravel out into the ether…and also so many people dislike her poetry. With just a bit of searching, you can find many writers that HATE her prose poetry. I think if a lot of people don’t like your work, and then they take time and effort to express how horrible you are, then you are probably doing something with your words. I think Volkman is doing something.


I did mile repeats today. I am in off-season shape, but they felt good. The mile is mythical to a runner. More than that. Can I bend words now, to let you in, to let you embrace…We measure ourselves in miles. It is the air we breathe, the lung burn and flow. The mile is our mountain, our stethoscope, our sailing boat, our God, in a much more real way than most commune with gods. We are of our god. We let our very bodies become. We thank our god as we are within our god. We breath our god and attack our god and struggle with angels and respect our god and write our god in godly verses in the mileage logs, our hymnals. The mile is Time. Time is the mile. The mile is outside Time, so we are outside mortality when we enter the mile. Runner’s High is spiritual, no different than born again/meditation/rhythmic chant, so why do others doubt its name? We enter a state as we run, then we burn inside afterward, and we think about when it will engulf us again. We pray.

I went 6:00 mile    5:56 mile

5:52 mile        5:49 mile

Not too shabby. A start. Need to pick out a few spring races soon…

“Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, “I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.” It’s more then just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better then anyone else. It’s being creative.”   Pre


Sean, I now you deer hunt, sew do I. Saturday is like Christmas to me, opning day. Do you have anything special you do before opening day? I lay my cloths out and sometimes dream.


One, Mr. 14, I like your internet name, simple, which is key. As for your question: I drink a beer first. I sometimes down a Nyquil. Then maybe a Jager, Jager, shot of calcium-induced orange juice (this will help focus in the a.m.), Nyquil chaser (but never more than 5). Then I watch the movie Caddyshack. I walk off my back porch and empty a Buckmark .22 into the ground, a full magazine. I then put the pistol away, usually in a hall closet. Then I drink-and-Ebay. Ever drank and Ebayed? You would not believe the stuff that will arrive at your doorstep on Wednesday: a brass bottle opener from Peru in the shape of a llama, a framed photo of Audrey Hepburn and her pet deer at the grocery, the bible (often in Braille), a case of Dark Horizon beer from Sweden, a Sherlock Holmes action figure, a tiny pillow (meant for a dollhouse) with the words INGRID BERGMAN stitched across its hide. I do not own a dollhouse. All of this adds a certain wonderment to my life. So, yes, I indeed have rituals. If you have a video game system, I will also bowl a decent game (but only virtually). I then watch deer hunting videos with my uncle. We bond this way. We drink one more beer and swap stories about the 35 bream we caught in one hour, down at the bottom (we call it a holler), the day we were run off a train trestle by a big-ass sudden train, and had to leap into a swamp and shoot ourselves out of a water moccasin nightmare of tangle/taffy/doom. Later, like you, I might also dream of deer. Depends. Deer dreams are crazy. Don’t get me started.


Interview Daniel Bailey Drunk Sonnets

The Drunk Sonnets are here.


(Aside: The cover appears to be a vat of movie popcorn. I don’t really get that one.)

I keep getting this image of a drunk sonnet, like a poem staggering around, its meter all whack. It starts hitting on a haiku, etc.

I interviewed Daniel Bailey. I knew I needed to get drunk first, but I rarely drink, as we know. So I went and bought a mojito at Chili’s (love Chili’s! Freedom!), drank it, vomited on my Subaru, walked home, brushed my teeth thrice, conducted this interview:

1.) You say that you wrote these sonnets drunk. How drunk? Was there a spectrum? Like from “that song sounds really cool” light buzz to thrown urinals and an ambulance?

Daniel: i was pretty drunk for some of them, a little drunk for others. it depends on how far into the night it was. i would drink maybe three beers and then start writing. i felt like i was at a good place to begin, at that point. i would write at least 12 poems per night, so it was a progression. i think i remember writing every one of the poems though, so it’s not like i was blackout, wake up the next day in the tub with my clothes on drunk. i still had to go to work the next day.

2.) If you could be any poet besides yourself, who would you be? Why?

i would be want to be a poet who’s still alive. i keep thinking of poets that i’d want to be and they’re all dead (frank o’hara, frank stanford [ok, i guess just those two]), so i don’t want to be them. maybe i would want to be them while they were still living. i think i’m going to go with jason bredle because his poems are funny and scary and have a force behind them that is intense enough that i don’t even have to microwave my burritos. all i have to do is hold my burritos up to my copy of pain fantasy and they heat themselves. plus jason’s old facebook photo was of him trying to put his foot in his mouth.

3.) Several students at BSU (where you were recently a student, and I am now a prof) told me you worshiped Satan. It seems to be an English dept rumor among the undergrads. Is that true? If so, how does your Satanism affect your writing, if at all?

That’s about 80% true. i’m not totally into it. my heart’s not completely there. i’m not even a card-carrying member of the church of satan. i’m not a member (and never will be) because you have to pay $200 to join

check out the “affiliation” section.

I think i initially wanted to join the church of satan because it seemed like a fun thing to do. it would be funny to get out my membership card at a party and maybe make people think i was edgy or something. mostly, i don’t care about religion or having specific beliefs.

i associate satan with things that are “metal,” which is, to me, synonymous with fun. i want to write things that are “metal.” i want to write things that are also “fun,” but also “true.” ok, i’m done with the tao lin quotes now.

4.) Do you think your writing glorifies the long-established idea/history of art and alcohol?


probably. it wasn’t my intention to do so. i kind of feel like the connection between art and alcohol is a bit overblown. i bet the percentage of alcholic artists vs. alcoholic any other profession is pretty close. the funny thing is that, outside of THE DRUNK SONNETS and the DRUNK blog, i do most of my writing sober.

5.) Who inspires you, and you cannot name a writer.

i’m having a really hard time answering this question. harmony korine inspires me and makes me want to make something, but he technically “writes” his movies.

for some reason, i can only think about a vacation when i was 12 or 13 when my parents took me to england and we were walking through london and a homeless woman put a curse or something on my dad in a foreign (maybe eastern european) language because my dad didn’t give her any money. i felt afraid for my dad’s life for a couple years, but he’s still doing alright.

that’s not an answer. i don’t feel inspired by that woman. but that’s where your question led me.

6.) In several venues, you have said you edited these pieces sober, not drunk. Why? Why not edit drunk, too?

i’m not sure. i guess it’s because i was sober whenever i opened up the word doc or when mike sent editorial suggestions. it does seem to not be in the spirit of the title, but whatever. i’d rather make the poems as good as i can rather than worry too much about my mental state at the time of writing or editing.

7.) Shaken or stirred?


i was shaken as a baby.

8.) Many of these pieces started on a blog. I read them there. Can you discuss how a blog can help or hinder a writer?

for me, writing into the blogger post window makes my mind work in a different way from when i try to write into a word document. i’d call it a good thing. the font is different. you’re not just staring at white with a little blue to the side. it feels better. the words somehow make images more real to me, which makes it easier to stay interested and continue writing. i think the only way a blog can hinder a writer is when the writer has a lot of people that look at the blog and the writer then feels like they don’t have to write as well or something. a blog can give a writer a persona or something, which is detrimental to honesty in writing. a blog is really only good for getting your name out. it’s like a homebase. i sometimes get frustrated when i read something in an online journal and the bio doesn’t have a link to the writer’s blog. blogs are good, because maybe i wanted to read more of your writing. a blog is a good central location for that. so, i guess, blogs are good for writers and also good for readers.

9.) You live in Colorado now, right? How is the drinking scene?

it’s alright. i miss the heorot. i don’t think i’ll ever find a bar as good as the heorot. fort collins has o’dell’s brewery, which is great. we also have new belgium, which is a shitty excuse for a brewery. i know new belgium and fat tire have infiltrated muncie and the midwest/east coast recently. it seems like fat tire is the new hipster beer. fuck fat tire and fuck new belgium. they make shitty beers. they care more about the environment than they do about making good beer (which they suck at). i miss the muncie drinking scene. people in muncie know their shit because drinking is all there is to do in muncie. the only thing that bars in colorado have that bars in indiana don’t have is shuffleboard, which is fun to play every once in a while.

indiana doesn’t have mountains, though. if i want to look at a mountain, all i have to do is walk out into the parking lot behind my apartment building and turn left. there are the foothills of the rocky mountains. i’ll take geography over good bars any day.

10.) Why sonnets?

because of how short they are. i’ve mentioned before that the sonnet was my escape from long free verse poems (though, the drunk sonnets are technically free verse. the only constraint (for me) is the 14 line limit. i guess my love of the sonnet is like your love of flash faction. it allows for a huge thing to be compressed into a small area, which is why i had to write so many of them. it allows for prolificness. it requires conciseness. and somehow the last two lines always force you into a place where you’re not sure what’s going to happen, but the chance of goodness is favorable, usually. seeing the end of the poem raises the stakes. it causes drama within the heart. it raises the blood pressure. i’m pretty sure it causes fever. recklessness disappears. when you have the end in sight, you know what you have to do. you can’t waste time fucking around with language. all you have is what you have and that’s what will come out if you treat it right and that is a beautiful thing.


He did a good job with that.



Nacho Day Redux Barry Hannah.

Well, shiver me full-figure and tumble me a cheese dip, National Nacho Day was rather glow. I had nachos for lunch and dinner. For a light snack, I had nachos. And so did many readers of this blog!


This pic from Louisiana:


Beer, Beatles beer glass, knife, nachos, shitty magazine. Add some underwear dangling from a ceiling fan, and I’d call that a pretty perfect evening.

Check out The Idiom, bringing it all hot pepper/petrify true with his cat eating nachos! Word.


He also mentions a certain trash talk, a certain Nacho Battle that has been brewing in the hipper dodecahedrons of the web.

He pretty much summarizes this thing up: “I’m tossing a benjamin on Lovelace. Dude is coming out with salsa lust, swinging nacho libre. He truly trumpets the cause of the nacho, and that’s points in the TKO of life. Yeah, mother fucker! Yeah!”

Blake would be all laid out, all splayed like a Christmas sweater. His mouth afire, volcanoes in his limbs, eyes all bioluminescent lamps.

(Anyway, I thought Blake was dead. Must have got a clutch of some real nachos [for once])

Wow, did Official Brown MFA Blog bring it crazy.


nacho 1


nachos 2

This, my friends, is indeed the spirit.

To the many others who sent photos, I apologize but most I can not post. In one a person is buck-ass naked. In the others, the images seemed more about you, and not about the nachos. The nachos are the reason for the season, or said another way: “In Muncie I spent two years eating roasted nachos and drinking oil-thick beer on woven mats in cafes and smoking rolled up tortilla crumbs from hookah hoses and sometimes holing up in my second-story two-room nacho flat for two or three or four days at a stretch without putting on clothes, drinking wine and smoking and tripping on nachos and making love, friends sometimes dropping by to join in, the rises and sets of the sun as inconsequential and amusing and unreal as a TV show.”


I think the best was this essay by Ali Plath. I post it all, verbatim because I find it beautiful like a motorcycle or a sizzling mist and why would I change such a thing?

Lo, for I have joined in the celebration of national nacho day this sixth of November. Unfortunately I do not have pictures, because I cannot get them off my phone. I will tell you about them instead.

Originally I had intended to make my own bbq tofu nachos. But making bbq tofu is a long and involved process with pressing and frying and broiling and I am on vacation. There is world of warcraft to play. So I started by making some black beans in the slow cooker. I used the recipe from Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann. The nachos did end up being vegan, although I did not originally plan it that way. Anyway, the beans were in the slow cooker with half an onion and some dried red pepper and some liquid smoke. They are good. I made a lot of them. I have a ton left over.

I had to go to the store to get chips. I don’t eat nachos much. I don’t run much either. If I ran more, I could eat more nachos. I will take this under consideration. I got some hippie organic multigrain chips, because I am a hippie.

I put the chips on a plate, and then put some of the beans on there. Then I added olives. Everything was going really well so far. Then I tried to melt some cheese. I had pepper jack and some of those babybel wedges. I thought the wedges would make the jack be liquidy enough to pour on the nachos. That did not work out. It was an unappetizing blob in a ramekin, instead of a sauce. So I threw it out. I took it as a message, as cheese is the hardest holdout for me in embracing veganity. So these nachos became vegan nachos.

Instead of the tofu, I chopped up and heated a chipotle grain roast sausage. Then I put on some salsa. It is Newman’s Own.

They are pretty good nachos.

Happy Nacho Day!



I read Ray by Barry Hannah.

People hype this book, so I was prepared for my head to turn into fragile pianist’s hands. Like carefully squeezed into music.

It was damn good. But I got fatigued, a hell of a thought for a novella.

I would like to talk to a woman who read this book. It seemed like women in these pages were pretty much orifices or maybe shrieking, fucking chuckles turning to coughs. It seemed like women just barely made it past prop, or automobile. Hysterical engines!

The point of view/tense/time leaps were simply stunning. I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been noted about this book’s structure. Finally, my head did indeed go phantom limb.

It seemed like women were airplanes.

Language can redeem. This is why Faulkner meant about the Grecian urn and your grandmother, folks. Language can overcome. The sentences in Ray are going to make you wear a long dark skirt of thinking. A hundred feet of silk, and I mean gliding. Hannah is putting these words together and cobbling them and building robots to construct the robots to clean the robots that will flash-weld these shiny, chrome, glaring sentences. Jesus, they are good.

I don’t like cheap shots at nurses, period, so fuck you, Ray. (When readers talk to your fictional characters out loud, you most likely have hit on something good.)

Well, I’d like to sit down and have coffee with a woman and discuss this here book.

But the language, it do redeem.


Won’t You Join Me for November 6 Nacho Day?

Nov 6 it premieres…

Night of the Nacho Pic2

“I have to praise Divegirl…it’s like watching Tom Hanks in Big.”   Kelly Clarkson

“I laughed and cried and cried and laughed and dropped something racial and sexist and cried. I was drunk. Loved the explosions of cheese!” Mel Gibson

“The ultimate chick-flick for chicks who dig nachos.” Jay Z

“Growing your mind.” Yves St Laurent.


nacho controversy! Luckily that guy with the black leather jacket solved this one. They could have asked me…



offering to the gods…

November 6 is National Nacho Day! (It is also Saxophone Day, but who cares?)

Please go shopping. Please prepare your ingredients.

Other acceptable terms:

“I Love Nachos Day!”

“Twenty Miles North of Nachos Day!”

“Big-Ass Nachos Day!”

“I First Met Nachos Day!”

“YUM YUM Triangle Day!”


Send me a nacho pic on November 6!


Khloe Kardashian Enjoys Pre-Wedding Nachos!

khlo 2

“Uh, I want more nachos. I am about to get married. I will probably drive a car into a garage door, like three times. Then He will say I never turn off the lights, especially that little one in the bathroom and that really bothers Him. He thinks it is disgusting to leave a light on when you could have turned the light off but instead you left it on didn’t you can I have some more nachos?”


Story about Nachos as medicine.



Chicago public schools serve nachos. Every single day.

Damn, I wish I had gone to school in Chicago.


nachos break

If you must eat breakfast…


Oromin Explorations Ltd has reported that the exploration rights for its Santa Rosa nacho and nacho toppings project in the Province of Mendoza, Argentina have now been formally authorized. The Government of Mendoza has issued Decree 1106/2009. This decree grants Oromins Argentina subsidiary the Permit to Explore and eventually a Concession to Exploit nachos in the CC y B-9 (Cuenca Cuyana & Bolsones 9) Santa Rosa Block.



Start them early, all existential. Nacho merchandise here.



Sushi nachos for all you fancy folks. People say they don’t like sushi but then one day they like sushi. It’s like meeting a guy from Texas and almost everyone hates people from Texas, as we know, but this guy ends up being legit and later he’s at your wedding, a true friend, and so then you actually decide to go ahead and like people from Texas. Like that nachos. Nachos. Nachos.


Nacho poem by Ander Monson.

And men in Craftmatic adjustable nachos recline,
their hearts on momentary pause—my nachos
one of them; all our nachos one of them, those
nachos who made us turn the show on to light
up evenings otherwise irreducibly devoted
to the one long nacho, shoveling the nachos back
from the driveway six inches accumulation
each nacho, and the plows steady on the roads,
plowmen grinning, filled with Citgo “Nachos”
and old mail-order mints. Pine-smelling nachos
in from the woods and that nacho day of work
felling Christmas trees with manual nachos back
and forth and axe-arcs generated by shoulders,
let loose into nachos. That man in the great suit
and those twin conducting nachos long enough
for two trombones is dead. And liquor is still
being sold to minors trolling in on nachomobiles—
machines that serve as proof of nachos—and men
are losing limbs. The old high school is down;
all that architecture dusted, and the nacho is on
skis cross-countrying towards this house tonight.
That nacho has a thirty-ought strapped to its back,
bolt-action digging in below the scapula and xyphoid
nacho. Kids in school are still afraid to perform
mouth-to-mouth on that nasty nacho, in spite
of all the antiseptic sprays and what-if-it-was-your-
dying-sisters? Who among us will be the one to press
our nachos to it, to breathe that cord of wood
back to life, to take up the old and greased
garage sale nacho, lead the band, stun
a life right out of Branson and the Lennon
Sisters and listen to that Jo Ann Nachos play.



Speaking of Mel Gibson, rudeness nacho shirt!


na·cho / ˈnächō/ • n. (pl. -chos) a small crisp piece of a tortilla, typically topped with melted cheese and spices.


New York nacho blog guy.



Those darn kids.



Wish I’d been there…These people seem sort of fun. I guess.


Volcano Nacho eating contest.

Volcano nacho review.


Marshmallow nachos recipe.



Well now that depends.


“I attended less than two years of Conservatory in Mexico City. I loved the nachos, not the music classes, so I left.” Placido Domingo

“Don’t double dip the chips.” George.


Mall Cop was really, uh, good…  “Although Paul is the butt of standard-issue fat jokes, Leon is degraded for amusement, the grossest instance being a totally pointless nacho-eating contest between him and Paul.”

There is no such thing as pointless nachos, dude.


Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively calls out “nachos and hot dogs” as her favorite indulgences.


Nachos 2

Honey, it’s nacho casserole! I am on a major tranquilizer and I wanted to paint with my feet maybe in Spain for a living but no I am a housewife but at least we have nachos.



Whoa. Bring it.


Jenny McCarthy Addicted To Nachos, Hates Exercise.

Hot people eat nachos, as we have seen.


The lack of nachos, in a daily way, in this culinary system, is that which tears apart, shuts out the other person, raises barriers, sets people against each other.


Eat nachos or kill zombies? Tough call.

“What really makes this a hard thing to do isn’t the fact that nachos are one of the Chosen Foods…”


Whale Nachos


1 (105 ton) Whale
1896 lbs Onions
7326 lbs Jalapeños
1908 gallons melted cheese
2276 lbs black beans
927 lbs pico
104 lbs cumin
76 lbs cayenne flakes
52 gallons hot sauce


Place whale on tortillas. Broil at 300 degrees for 14 minutes. Add onions, jalapeños, cheese, cumin, beans, pico, and hot sauce. Flake with cayenne. Serves 347,161 people.



Stefanie Freele’s Motel. Iredell Soon. Ok, I see an Ugly Buck.

New clank at elimae. Enjoy.



New Chapbook Review is live and full of goodness like fire safety or degerminated love or OK I have a review.



Got my copy of Jamie Iredell’s book. Am excited, am 93 million teeth. I keep thinking flash is going to black hole the earth or some thing about sharks smelling one drop of blood, something. Here is another great prose poem/flash book, I feel. Go here to order.



I need a good spring marathon. Anyone have a marathon in the spring they want to pitch?I am going to go run now. I am going to do a fartlek/temp thing. I am going to run so hard my knees collapse into my chrome forehead, something. I can already feel the scrim of pain.


Yesterday I watched a buck feed below my stand. On its right side it had 4 perfectly formed antler tines. On its left side one single antler, like a gnarled bolt, stuck at a 90 degree angle off its head. A truly ugly and beautiful deer at the same time. I let it walk away, to whatever ugly bucks go. Then I continued reading a Nyorker article about Wes Anderson. Like most NYorker articles these days, this essay was underwhelming, underdeveloped, under-focused, under-reported, and soon stuffed under an overbite of beer cans in my Man Room garbage bin (a wicked tin bucket, the real thing). [I like to hear the clank of things.]