Summer is here, and I can smell it everywhere, especially in the morning—the fragrant mango trees in full bloom, the clean citrusy fragrance of the pomelo tree bearing fruits, the decades-old star apple tree, the marang, the guyabano. During the past few months, I also planted several tree saplings: lanzones, mangosteen, papayas, guavas. All my dogs have grown so big now. Such bliss...
There are lots of exciting things happening on the writing and editing front, too.
The Winter 2014 issue of Amethyst Arsenic I guest-edited with Rosebud Ben-Oni is up and running. I'm grateful to Samantha Milowsky, the journal's publisher and managing editor, for giving me the opportunity to help shape this lovely issue.
The lineup of writers for the second issue of LONTAR can be found here. And while you're at it, please check out the awesome reviews for the first issue and buy a copy or two (or three!). Jason Erik Lundberg (whose book, Strange Mammals, has been praised by The Guardian) and I are reading for the third issue. LONTAR is super gorgeous, pays for accepted work, and is lovingly and professionally curated. So, please send us your stories and poems!
I have several work forthcoming in some really nice places. My story, "The Wire Mother," has been accepted for the Fall 2014 issue of Confrontation Magazine. "The Wire Mother" is a 2,700-word story told from the point of view of the titular wire mother of animal experimenter Harry Harlow.
Another short story, "Chelsea and the Bobo Doll," will be published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn's April 6, 2014 Sunday Stories edition. "Chelsea and the Bobo Doll" is a rendering of the controversial Albert Bandura experiment featuring Bobo dolls and “learned” aggression.
"Pet," which first appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 7, will be reprinted in the anthology Around the World in 80 Science Fiction Stories from Germany-based publishing outfit, Saphir im Stahl. The anthology is edited by Erik Schreiber.
And here are some of my recently published pieces after my last blog entry:
Jelly Bucket 5 contains two of my poems, "Up Close" and "Arnold downloads his virtual muse." This issue also ran features on Kevin Wilson and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, which were particularly engaging.
The voluminous 50th issue of South Dakota Review houses four of my poems, "Blue Shift," "Dollhouse Night," "Eyes Open," and "Loverman slits his throat." Such a spectacular issue featuring creative work by all these writers listed at the journal's back cover:
My subtly sentimental piece "Cape Cod" appears in the ekphrastic poetry webpage of Randolph College’s Maier Museum of Art.
Two of my poems, "The Happiness Bottle" and "The Smug Aquarium," found a wonderful home in Susan Yount’s Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal 2013.
My four poems—"Hunter," "Underworld," "Lilt," and "Great Rift"—are part of the Winter 2014 issue of Menacing Hedge, a beautiful online/print journal helmed by Kelly Boyker and Craig Wallwork. These are fairly newish poems from my uncompleted book manuscript called Black Arcadia. The other poems from this project will soon appear in Common Ground Review, Euphony, Kitaab, Owen Wister Review, and The Nervous Breakdown.
"Hunter" also appeared in Menacing Hedge's Best of Special Print Edition for AWP 2014.
Tales of the Unanticipated is back!!! Thanks to Eric Heideman and Rebecca Marjesdatter. My "Resurrection of a Rag Doll" is included in the 31st issue of this long-running, well-respected publication for the genre-inclined. I'm sharing TOCs again with Patricia Russo, one of my idols. I've been reading her stories in small press magazines since I was a teenager and consider her as one of my early inspirations... Ooh, and there's this whole lineup of super awesomeness.
In November 2008, TOTU #29 gave home to my "After the arrival of the strange horses," one of my many strange horses poems written during the time when I became very, very obsessed with the imagery in Edwin Muir's "The Horses," a singular work of art which, in my opinion, exemplifies how poetry should be. I once did a tribute post for Muir as part of A River & Sound Review's series of literary citizen Facebook posts. Here's what I wrote:
My all-time favorite poem is Edwin Muir’s “The Horses.” I first read it when I was thirteen, fourteen. It was in a Norton anthology. I thought “The Horses” was extraordinarily terrifying and grand. It was also heartbreaking—the first time I read it, it looked to me as if the horses were replaced by machines, which were specified as “tractors” in the poem. Then they went off stampeding, a cinematic trampling of the vengeful, until they found their new “owners.” Meanwhile, there was drama, sociopolitical pomp, searing nuclear apocalypse. The poem reads big, does not falter, does not safely skim the surface of its proposed catastrophe. It made an indelible impression of how a poem should be and what literary immortality looks like.
And here's one of the many poems that came out of my Muir phase. This one was published a long time ago by Narrative Magazine.
The Ghosts of the Strange Horses
And this, this is Tales of the Unanticipated #29, which is where I "discovered" Bryan Thao Worra's haunting work.
In January 2014, Medulla Review Publishing released a Kindle edition of Insomnia. Here’s a review of my 46-page poetry chapbook.
My little story, Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill, which appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Fiction Southeast, is a segment of a book-length epistolary manuscript I abandoned because I got stumped at the structuring part. The letter is supposed to be uncovered in an archaeological dig.
In the same issue of Fiction Southeast, discover Jen Knox's "A Glimpse," Sarah Layden's "Two Hearts," and many others. Robert Olen Butler's "Marie Antoinette" is the story that really drove me to find a way to get my work on the pages of Fiction Southeast.
As for Dr. Bill, he comes from this song:
Some of my old poems were reprinted in Kumquat Poetry, The Poetry Storehouse, and Red Fez. Meanwhile, the super-talented Nic Sebastian created a spectacular HD video rendition of my poem, "Spiders." Check out her process notes.
"The Discovery of Laughter," a poem first published by the Canadian journal The Puritan, was reprinted in Eileen Tabios’ Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets, an anthology whose cover is this beauty here:
My prose poem, "The Alchemical Stages," is published in the anthology Drifting Down the Lane.
The poems in Drifting Down the Lane are accompanied by paintings. Here's the low-resolution tear sheet containing my work.
"Zombie," a tiny story that candidly explores the ensuing family dynamics when a member turns into a zombie, has been reprinted in Uno Kudo Vol. 3, which is edited by Aaron Dietz, Bud Smith, and Erin McParland. "Zombie" first appeared in Southern Pacific Review. These are the back and front covers of the beautiful Uno Kudo.
These are sample pages from Uno Kudo Vol. 3. See my "Zombie." It is accompanied by Hikari Shimoda paintings.
More stunning pages from Uno Kudo Vol. 3. These are paintings by THE Jeremy Geddes.
I also participated in Bonnie ZoBell's Writers Round-Up series at Flash Fiction Chronicles. Along with xTx, Robert Vaughan, Amber Sparks, Ethel Rohan, Sean Lovelace, Cynthia Litz, we wrote about our techniques for organizing a fiction collection. Here's the first part of the round-up feature, while this page contains the second part. Flash Fiction Chronicles also hosted Andreé Robinson-Neal's review of We Bury the Landscape.
Writers I know and adore have written and published books that you should definitely check out. Here are two recent books for which I supplied the following blurbs.
The boldly imaginative Bald New World follows Nicholas Guan, a military type tasked to digitally touch up scenes of carnage, in his misadventures from Korea to a futuristic California and in his frenzied dash from Gamble Town to China . The novel tells of beautifully flawed characters, the blurring distinction between reality and virtual environments, the comical yet chilling wave of religious fanaticism, and a world battling a strange malady called the Great Baldification, an ingenious symbol of human vanity. Peter Tieryas Liu’s Bald New World is vivid, exhilarating, and wildly entertaining.
Get Peter's latest book here.
I love how the five stories in Don’t Tease the Elephants do not shy away from confronting harsh realities. There’s the story of a father who discovers that his teenage daughter had become pregnant and subsequently had an abortion. There’s the story of a family house burning down, the estrangement of family members, and their hope for a new beginning. In every story, Jen Knox deftly weaves in a little bit of darkness along with startling flashes of beauty and insight. Don’t Tease the Elephants is a handsome sampling of wry, poignant stories that illuminate the human condition.
Get Jen's chapbook here. A preview of Don't Tease the Elephants is found here. There's an intriguing recurring character named Rattle in this short collection of stories. Hardened by experience, he embodies the beautifully grotesque. I hope Jen does more of her Rattle stories.
I am also touching up my long-overdue reviews of books by Meg Tuite and Bruce Boston, as well as RK Biswas' first novel, Culling Mynahs and Crows.
It'll probably be a while before I update this blog again. So, here some fun parting shots. The first two pics were when these two (Poochie Chow and Snowy) were first brought home. They're male and female from the same litter. They are very close, very affectionate with each other. I finally captured their adorable routine, because I waited with a camera in hand. They do this regularly in the yard.
Meditations of a Beast
Age of Blight
A Roomful of Machines
We Bury the Landscape