3.31.2010

Thinking about some poetry I read last night

Do you think we can describe "camp" as the intersection of absurdity and sincerity?

3.29.2010

Two words

I was so eager to have Suzanne Frischkorn's new book Girl on a Bridge that I accidentally ordered it twice!

And oddly, both packages arrived on the same day.

I'm keeping the one Suzanne signed to me, but I'd like to do a promotion to give away my other copy--FOR FREE!

Go to Facebook and find this post in my profile--then comment and tell me what you think the most beautiful combination of two words in the English language is.

"Cellar door" is excluded from consideration.

Love,
Charlie

Recipe

If you want a fun weekend, just put Collin and Reb and Gideon into it.

(She sums it up better than me.)

3.20.2010

Cosmic Coincidence

Last night at Story/Stereo, I discovered:


Tony and I wore the same shirt to the event. What are the odds? That has certainly never happened to me before.

In a related story, I saw one of the contestants on Ru Paul's Drag Race wearing a sweater I own.


When Kathleen read from this collection, I suddenly recognized one of the pieces, "Conversation with a Sensualist," as one Sarah Vap and I selected for Hayden's Ferry Review in 2002.

Her new pieces from her manuscript-in-progress, Atomic City, are fantastic. Be on the look out for them.

3.16.2010

To be in good company

is humbling.

Lambda Literary Award Nominees



Gay Poetry
* Breakfast with Thom Gunn, by Randall Mann (University of Chicago Press)
* The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, by Brent Goodman (Black Lawrence Press)
* The First Risk, by Charles Jensen (Lethe Press)
* Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)
* What the Right Hand Knows, by Tom Healy (Four Way Books)

Congratulations to my fellow nominees!

3.03.2010

Earworms


Miike Snow, Miike Snow
"Song for No One," "Animal"


Rihanna, Rated R
"Hard," "Rude Boy"


Paramore, Brand New Eyes
"Careful," "Playing God"

3.02.2010

Mantra

We must first ask ourselves if our instinct to salvage is because something is old or because it is valuable, understanding that age and value are mutually exclusive.

Because I Wanted To

Last night I finished reading Mary Gaitskill's Because They Wanted to, at long last. I've been working through it for a few weeks, stealing chances to read now and then. I enjoyed it about as much as I enjoyed Don't Cry, which was a lot.

Gaitskill's narrators tend to have a detached objectivity, which I think would normally turn me off because it gets "cold" and "robotic" if overdone, but she tempers it with gorgeous descriptions and unique, unlikely metaphors and similes. I'll never forget how in "College Town" in Don't Cry, she described one character as having the "face of a greyhound," which I thought was simple and brilliant.

On the one hand then, in Gaitskill's work you get the very sort of high-intellect descriptors mixed with very reflex-oriented, gutteral metaphor. While the body and the mind don't necessarily coexist in her fiction, they share the burden of the story telling. It's an interesting give-and-take.

A lot of the stories are about intimate relationships. Gaitskill's objectivity, when applied to sex and sexuality, is somewhat uncanny, but it also feels very honest and true to me in a way that doesn't at all glorify or memorialize the sex act in any way. There's no sentimentality in her work. That's what I'm trying to say. But it is emotional. The emotional effect of her work is cumulative, and many of the stories are burdened by lonesomeness, by characters who are, like their narration, almost fully detached from the world itself, held on by the thread that tethers them to the story (which sometimes breaks off at the end, letting them drift off into nothingness).

Of all the prose writers I've been writing, I think it's she who I admire most. The craft of her language is, to me, exquisite and interesting and challenging in a lot of ways, but always true.

3.01.2010

Quickster movie review

Over the weekend, I went to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. I actually went to see The Young Victoria, but for some reason the 7:05 showing was sold out 45 minutes in advance in Bethesda. Only in Bethesda are people clamoring to see a two-month-old movie during the dinner hour, I guess.

Plan B was Percy. The title, to me, sounds like a great band name and first album title. ("Climbing up the charts this week are Percy Jackson and the Olympians with their debut release The Lightning Thief.") I was very turned off by the fact that this was a Chris Columbus film, but in the end, the combination of my curiosity about why Catherine Keener decided to make this movie and my preemptive excitement for the new Clash of the Titans won out. As did my companion's reluctance to see anything remotely suspenseful.



The movie was actually full of famous people: Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Joe Pantoliano, the hot English dude who was on Journeyman and who's on Gray's Anatomy now, the weird looking English dude with the bad hair, and the menacingly sexy English dude who always plays German terrorists.

Dawson was, like, the best Persephone ever.

The lead kid is cute, and he has really pretty blue eyes, so when he's brooding about everything going on, it works. The daughter of Athena was pretty good, but kind of wooden at times. And the story was fun. It was almost a little too major for a full-on kids' movie, but is comparable to some of the later Potter films in terms of its darkness factor.

Sequel? Likely. Is this based on a series of books? It felt that way. Now that the public's appetite for kids' movie series has been whetted by Potter, I'd expect this is a move to cash in and keep us hungry.