Friday, November 27, 2009

O Canada!

NEWSFLASH: Jim Bartley of the Toronto Globe picks Amphibian, by Carla Gunn from Coach House Books, and The Briss, by Michael Tregebov from New Star Books, as among the Top 5 first-fiction books of 2009:

Carla Gunn
$17.95 | paper | 220 pp.
Coach House Books
ISBN: 9781552452141

Fiction. In AMPHIBIAN, we meet nine-year-old Phineas William Walsh who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. He's obsessed with animals; it's practically all he talks about. He spends all his spare time watching the Green Channel and researching obscure facts on the internet or in books. And he's worried sick about what humans are doing to the planet and its other animals. So when his Grade 4 class gets a pet frog—a White's Tree Frog from Australia—it becomes the perfect focus for all Phin's worrying. Carla Gunn's work has been published in the Globe and Mail, the National Post and heard on CBC radio. Along with writing, she teaches psychology. This is her first novel.

Michael Tregebov
$19 | paper | 240 pp.
New Star Books
ISBN: 9781554200436

Fiction. There is a Jewish proverb that goes: "Grandchildren are your reward from God for not having murdered your children." And so THE BRISS begins, with Sammy, the father of two grown children he would like to choke the life out of. His daughter Marilyn has just ended an affair that should have been kept a secret. In the meantime, his younger son, Teddy, who had left months ago on a ten-day Birthright Israel tour, got himself mixed up with gush shalom Israelis who introduced him to a diaspora Palestinian woman visiting her ailing grandmother in Ramallah. Teddy falls in love with her, and, well, knocks her up. Sammy, who fought in Israel in '48 but moved back home to Winnipeg years ago, a move he has regretted, is forced into an angry struggle with his son that reveals all their unresolved emotional conflicts. A wildly entertaining and poignant novel, THE BRISS explores, on a personal level, family relationships, and on a political level, the continuing debate about Jewish identity and its connection to Israel and Palestine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Erje Ayden
$7 | paper | 256 pp.
ISBN: 0936756578

Fiction. Friend of Frank O'Hara and "bodyguard" to Willem DeKooning, Turkish expatriate Erje Ayden was the house novelist of the New York School poets and painters during the early and mid-1960s. Ayden boasts of a background in espionage, so this genre-spy thriller could be a veiled autobiographical tale. Carl Halman, posted by East Germany in Manhattan as a "sleeping agent" during the cold war, must develop a cover identity as a writer. Committed to ending injustice, Carl sees his espionage activities as a personal contribution toward maintaining a global balance of power. But in New York, Carl begins to believe in his cover identity: editing a magazine, marrying the wife of the famous novelist Hubert Cleaver (a hilarious a clef portrait of Norman Mailer). He thinks that he can live this way forever...until suddenly, he's called. Writing after the book's first self-publication, O'Hara hails Ayden as pop art's answer to Camus. "Ayden," writes O'Hara, "is an alien wherever he goes, probing and disfiguring ordinary reality."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Musa Mckim
$12 | paper | 159 pp.
The Figures
ISBN: 0935724672

Poetry. "There was an air of fragility and culnerability about Musa McKim that made her friends want to be fprotective of her. She did not disclose with what fierce and undeceived attentiveness she watched, from day to day, the human comedy, faithfully recording her bittersweet perceptions. Now with the posthumous publication of ALONG WITH THE MOON, she has given us her slant, quirky, and quizzical letter to the world."—Stanley Kunitz

Musa McKim (1908-1992) was a poet and painter married to the Abstract Expressionist artist Philip Guston.

AIRLESS SPACES by Shulamith Firestone

Shulamith Firestone
$8 | paper | 160 pp.
ISBN: 1570270821

Fiction. Refusing a career as a professional feminist, Shulamith Firestone (author of The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution) found herself in an "airless space"—approximately since the publication of her first book THE DIALECTIC OF SEX. This is her collection of very short tales about losers in and out of (mostly mental) hospitals and the small crises which trigger their awareness that they're in trouble. These are deadpan, deadend stories, culminating in "Obits" and "Suicides I Have Known."

"In the century I'm most familiar with, the 20th, the explosion was never-ending, the pieces tinier and tinier. Shulamith Firestone, in her radical insider's tale, informs us repeatedly like lightly pelting rain that all of us are vanishing in a century of institutions that take and take until everyone has gone away and there's no one left to shut the door."—Eileen Myles

Monday, November 16, 2009


Jean Baudrillard
$7 | paper | 128 pp.
ISBN: 0936756365

Cultural Writing. Criticism and Theory. First published in France in 1987 as L'Autre par lui-meme, THE ECSTASY OF COMMUNICATION was Baudrillard's attempt to summarize his work for a doctoral degree at the Sorbonne, a degree he never received. But more than a summation of Baudrillard's work, ECSTASY is the most decisive, compact description of what it means to be wired, a perspective that is virtually impossible to recapture since advanced communications technologies have become totally normalized. "Our private sphere," he writes, "has ceased to be the stage where the drama of the subject at odds with his objects and with his image is played out: we no longer exist as playwrights or actors but as terminals of multiple networks ... Private telematics: each individual sees himself promoted to the controls of a hypothetical machine, isolated in a position of perfect sovereignity ... in perpetual orbital flight ...." ECSTASY is the swansong of 20th century alienation: a flashback to pre-techno amnesia by one of France's last living humanists.

PRINCESS FREAK by Nancy Agabian

Nancy Agabian
$10 | paper | 121 pp.
Beyond Baroque Books
ISBN: 1892184079

Poetry. Fiction. Performance Texts. Gay and Lesbian Studies. PRINCESS FREAK is the first book by Nancy Agabian, a performance artist and writer who formed the performance art-punk-folk band Guitar Boy with Ann Perich in Los Angeles in 1998. PRINCESS FREAK documents the coming-of-age of a shy, funny, bisexual Armenian-American woman who flees the small town of Walpole, Massachusetts to tell the stories of her family. Agabian's paternal grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey in 1915, and much of the work in the book carries the impact of this devastating event.

"She pays close attention to what most of us overlook—in her hands the ordinary explodes into beauty and complexity."—Holly Hughes

Attention Span 2009

Third Factory's Attention Span 2009 is up. A must-read.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BLUE VITRIOL by Alexei Parshchikov

Alexei Parshchikov
$9.50 | paper | 57 pp.
Avec Books
ISBN: 9781880713020

Poetry. Translated from the Russian by John High, Michael Molnar and Michael Palmer, with Nina Gerkin, Julie Gesin, Katya Olmsted, Eugene Ostashevsky and Darlene Reddaway. Introduction by Marjorie Perloff.

"Alexei Parshchikov is undoubtedly the most exciting young Russian poet today. Through this first English-language collection of his work, American readers get a glimpse of an imagination that soars freely and boldly through all times and places. Indeed, this book is the trace of a poetic road that, in Parshchikov's words, 'is the place for finding your way' while 'time's wind unwinds you and sets you against the flow.'"—Andrew Wachtel, Professor of Slavic Studies, Northwestern University

"In an 1898 letter from St. Petersburg, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote that it was Russian things that would give him the names for his most tender 'devoutnesses.' Now, almost 100 years later, it would seem that it is not Russian things but Russian names—the fullness of these poems, here beautifully translated for us—that embody those devoutnesses that prolong close observation and sustain contemplative complexity. Alexei Parshchikov's detailed lingering in the world he perceives has given us the fullness of these poems. Their publication in this, his first American book, is an important occasion."—Lyn Hejinian LINK

Friday, November 13, 2009


Ivan Zhdanov
$8.95 | paper | 56 pp.
Talisman House
ISBN: 9781883689438

Poetry. Translated from the Russian by John High and Patrick Henry. Born in Siberia in 1948, Ivan Zhdanov emerged in the early 1980s as one of the leading Russian poets of his generation, admired by the traditionalists and the avant-garde alike. "I have never, under any circumstances, been directly engaged in politics," he said in a recent interview. "For me it was more important to discover the roots of the events that make up our lives, the life of our country, our society, and our history, in that order." Zhdanov's work has been honored by poets and critics around the world. According to Mikail Epstein, "Zhdanov is the master of depicting forms that seem already to have lost their substance but regain them in memory, in times of waiting, in the depth of a mirror or the shell of a shadow." LINK


Urs Allemann
$15 | paper | 136 pp.
Les Figues Press
ISBN: 9781934254165

Fiction. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the German by Peter Smith. A Beckettian character, who may or may not be trapped in a room with four baskets full of infants, focuses obsessively on a single sentence—"I fuck babies." This virtuoso text by Swiss experimental writer Urs Allemann won the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Preis des Landes Kärnten in 1991 and caused one of the biggest literary scandals in the post-1945 German-speaking world. Translated now for the first time in a new bilingual edition with an introduction by translator Peter Smith and an afterword by Vanessa Place, BABYFUCKER belongs in the canon of twentieth-century provocations that includes Bataille's The Story of the Eye, Delany's Hogg, and Cooper's Frisk. For BABYFUCKER is, as Dennis Cooper says: "a stunning, exquisite, perfect, and difficult little benchmark of a novel that makes literature that predates it seem deprived." LINK

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cathy Wagner
Cathy Wagner in the classic SPD pose. Cathy's new book, My New Job, is just out from Fence Books.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SPD Poetry Best-Sellers Sep/Oct 09

  1. THE LAST 4 THINGS by Kate Greenstreet (Ahsahta Press)
  2. FACE by Sherman Alexie (Hanging Loose Press)
  3. HUMANIMAL: A PROJECT FOR FUTURE CHILDREN by Bhanu Kapil (Kelsey Street Press)
  4. SCARY, NO SCARY by Zachary Schomburg (Black Ocean)
  5. BREAKING POEMS by Suheir Hammad (Cypher Books)
  6. THE DIFFICULT FARM by Heather Christle (Octopus Books)
  7. CASE SENSITIVE by Kate Greenstreet (Ahsahta Press)
  8. INCUBATION: A SPACE FOR MONSTERS by Bhanu Kapil (Leon Works)
  10. NEW DEPTHS OF DEADPAN by Michael Gizzi (Burning Deck)
  11. YOU ARE A LITTLE BIT HAPPIER THAN I AM by Tao Lin (Action Books)
  12. PINK ELEPHANT by Rachel McKibbens (Cypher Books)
  14. RADI OS by Ronald Johnson (Flood Editions)
  15. BROKEN WORLD by Joseph Lease (Coffee House Press)
  16. THE SHADOW OF SIRIUS by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press)
  17. NIGHT SCENES by Lisa Jarnot (Flood Editions)
  18. THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE THE MOON SAYS I LOVE YOU by Frank Stanford (Lost Roads Publishers)
  19. SONNET 56 by Paul Hoover (Les Figues Press)
  20. THE SOUND MIRROR by Andrew Joron (Flood Editions)
  21. POEMS OF THE BLACK OBJECT by Ronaldo V. Wilson (Futurepoem Books)
  22. THE FRONT by K. Silem Mohammad (Roof Books)
  23. TSIM TSUM by Sabrina Orah Mark (Saturnalia Books)
  24. MEET ME AT THE HAPPY BAR by Steve Langan (BlazeVOX Books)
  25. WHERE SHADOWS WILL: SELECTED POEMS 1988-2008 by Norma Cole (City Lights Publishers)
  26. CLAMPDOWN by Jennifer Moxley (Flood Editions)
  27. BHARAT JIVA by kari edwards (Litmus Press/Belladonna Books)
  28. THE BOOK OF FRANK by CA Conrad (Chax Press)
  29. DURA by Myung Mi Kim (Nightboat Books)
  30. RHAPSODY OF THE NAKED IMMIGRANTS by Elena Georgiou (Harbor Mountain Press)

SPD Fiction Best-Sellers Sep/Oct 09

  1. KHIRBET KHIZEH by S. Yizhar (Ibis Editions)
  2. THE CREEPY GIRL AND OTHER STORIES by Janet Mitchell (Starcherone Books)
  3. ISLAND OF THE NAKED WOMEN by Inger Frimansson (Caravel Books)
  4. WHAT DID I DO WRONG? by Fanny Howe (Flood Editions)
  5. THE ACTIVIST by Renee Gladman (Krupskaya)
  6. BOONS & THE CAMP by David Ohle (Calamari Press)
  7. THE CHANGELING by Joy Williams (Fairy Tale Review Press)
  8. UNEXPLAINED PRESENCE by Tisa Bryant (Leon Works)
  9. WHERE I STAY by Andrew Zornoza (Tarpaulin Sky Press)
  10. FREUD IN CONEY ISLAND AND OTHER TALES by Norman Klein (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions)
  11. STORIES IN THE WORST WAY by Gary Lutz (Calamari Press)
  12. THE BLONDE ON THE TRAIN by Eleanor Lerman (Mayapple Press)
  13. CIRCLE K CYCLES by Karen Tei Yamashita (Coffee House Press)
  14. AT OR NEAR THE SURFACE by Jenny Pritchett (Fourteen Hills Press)
  15. LILAC MINES by Cheryl Klein (Manic D Press)
  16. THE UNDISCOVERED ISLAND by Darrell Kastin (Portuguese in the Americas Series)
  17. SITT MARIE ROSE by Etel Adnan (Post-Apollo)
  18. FUGUE STATE by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
  19. I'JAAM: AN IRAQI RHAPSODY by Sinan Antoon (City Lights Publishers)
  20. NINE TEN AGAIN by Phil Condon (Elixir Press)
  22. DIES: A SENTENCE by Vanessa Place (Les Figues Press)
  23. VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS by Vitezslav Nezval (Twisted Spoon Press)
  24. FOAM OF THE DAZE by Boris Vian (Tam Tam Books)
  25. TRINO'S CHOICE by Diane Gonzales Bertrand (Arte Publico Press)
  26. WOLVES' DREAM by Abdon Ubidia (Latin American Literary Review Press)
  27. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVES by Boris Vian (Tam Tam Books)
  28. MY SISTER'S CONTINENT by Gina Frangello (Chiasmus Press)
  29. TALES OF THE OUT & GONE by Amiri Baraka (Akashic Books)
  30. THE LAST COMMUNIST VIRGIN by Wang Ping (Coffee House Press)