Monday, October 01, 2018

We Who Are About To Die : Shloka Shankar

Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer and visual artist from Bangalore, India. She enjoys experimenting with Japanese short-forms and different found poetry techniques. A Best of the Net nominee, her work has most recently appeared in Under the Basho, Rogue Agent, Right Hand Pointing, Drunk Monkeys, and so on. Shloka is the founding editor of the literary & arts journal Sonic Boom, and its affiliated press, Yavanika. Twitter: @shloks89  

Where are you now?
I reside in Bangalore, India. My room is pretty much my haven. 

What are you reading?
I am currently reading Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire and reviewing chapbook manuscripts. The former is for a found poetry challenge, called 'The Poeming,' that I will be undertaking in October 2018.

What have you discovered lately?
Confidence. Lots of it. I am also doing different things and experimenting more in terms of my writing and art.

Where do you write?

I make random drafts on my phone and then set about working on longer pieces sitting up in bed — blanket, throw pillow, and all!

What are you working on?
I run a literary & arts journal called Sonic Boom as well as its affiliated press, Yavanika. My team and I are currently wading through submissions. I also recently set up an online store for selling my art prints and other products, so that's an exciting new avenue to explore. I hope to bring out my debut full-length collection of Japanese short-forms of poetry in 2019. 

Have you anything forthcoming?
I recently completed a 31/31 creativity challenge called 'Write Like You're Alive,' hosted by Zoetic Press. One of my erasures is forthcoming in the Write Like You're Alive Anthology 2018. I also have seven pieces forthcoming from h&) I will be guest editing The Haiku Foundation's 'Per Diem' feature for the month of December 2018. 

What would you rather be doing?
I am in my happy place. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing.

Recent poems: 


old doorways —
the nerve palaces
of midnight


pulling sins out of a dreamer conscience

- First published in the Ku section of Under the Basho, 2018.



Monday, September 24, 2018

On Writing #156 : LM Rivera


THE RULES OF
THE GAME
LM Rivera
I.


Often, when a writer bears upon writing itself, we (the reader) find ourselves afflicted—unless, in the most unusual of cases, the writer invents a fiction so consummate that a new kind of authorship is born.

&

There’s another way to bear upon the writing: write unto significance. Overpraise and bow to the proper name. Homage is an unequivocal way to confine the mistake of bad writing.

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An author should live in Sicily with changed name.

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Read Kafka. Read O’Connor. Read Antonin Artaud in Acireale.

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Writing is agonistic. If there’s no blood, you aren’t doing it right. A smear on every page you send out into the world. Please, hold the pen like a just sharpened dagger.

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A book is made up of screams. If you can talk, you aren’t doing it right. You can’t walk into a library with your eyes open, heart laid bare and bleeding. Platitudes are the kind of things that will get you killed.

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When you send your work out into the wild, expect repudiation. If nothing happens: expect suicidal thoughts. Without a proper theology, you’ll be just another dumb detective.

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I am irregularly Gregor Samsa.

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A good detective will have a depleted and threatened family. How did we end up in this place? From my balcony, I have a palatial sense of minor and major verse.

&

And a godlike harmonics…

II.

She failed to write ideologically and, failing to do so, the end came near. Writers avoided her whenever they had the opportunity to.

&

She reads French fluently but the French writers she reads have fallen out of fashion.

&

She stops writing altogether. Quality of life promptly proliferating.

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She possesses an intrepidity—she had never before been capable of.


&

She vanishes, now and then.

&

She felt the love a very young poet—a dialogic totality. One fine day, the young poet vanishes. He was not seen nor was he heard from again.

&

She tried to track him down, for a short time. But the attempt was half-hearted and incoherent.

&

She became, to other writers, an icon of each and every defect existing in the domain of poetry.

III.


He chose to write poetry in the same way we choose to defend our house against an intruder. You left the window slightly open and the masked man slipped inside—hushed and constant. You know the sound of your own house. You know the floors don’t make that noise of their own doing. You reach for the locked box underneath your bed. Your pregnant wife, in the deepest of sleep, next to you. The box is unlocked and, now, you are ready.

&

He continued to write, despite the fact that the work was quite bad. He read an immense amount and only what he believed to be the best of it.

&

He knew only other writers and wanted only to know them and them alone: exchanging poems, exchanging gossip, arguing many nights away, and ecstatically discussing literary futures and forthcoming subversions.

&

He wanted children but a poet can’t have a child, with the strange acquaintances coming and going—with trips to Rome, falling in the street, and people disappearing. Every now and then he thought of suicide as a romancing of the edge: to be hanged, by your own hand, by the neck till dead.

&

He grew older and grayer, at that very moment, a child appeared. He looked into the face of himself and was reborn—having, himself, done very little.

&

He writes a novel when the child sleeps—another contented insolvency.

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Banality isn’t evil—banality’s a vulgar sleep.

IV.


I should like to attack another writer but this is simply not done anymore.

&

A famous writer insulted me at an academic soiree. My plans for revenge were thorough, meticulous, mendacious. I later came to find out that the famous writer was paid for the act—no surprise in the unearthing. The famous writer has an enormous readership. Financial goals are always met for a man of letters.

&

Two writers meet at the crossroads—neither believe in the validity of the other. At the corners of the four angles: a marble block, un-carved; a floating red sphere; an antique music box, golden; a rain thrashed wooden chair.

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In Unamuno’s A Tragic Sense of Life, the writer dies with his pants on. If that isn’t blatant sentimentalism, I don’t know what is. Unamuno is the kind of great writer who might, given the right moment, poison your tea.

&

In our current climate, a writer’s meant to know where they are but seldom is this true. I opened the book and was disallowed from future party meetings. I was, after all, only there by happenstance. I’ve been incapable of moralism from a young age—as a young girl with a shaved head pontificates to a room full of aging painters.

&

Later, I called the famous writer at his home. The maid answered the phone. I told her what the writer had done. She took my name and number and said she’d like to speak to me again sometime alone.

&

I know that I am obsessed with writers, that I will continue to be, and its done me no good. A lunatic’s dreams restate themselves and no one knows why.

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A book with no violence and a writer who doesn’t succumb to melodrama:  uninterestedness itself.

V.


When you use the word love, use also the word suffering. You’re disfigured from devotion, a being scrubbed of pleasurable particulates.

&

You get on a train. You sleep on a train.

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In the desert of small pain, you cover yourself in melting ice—that does not last but for a moment. Wet clothes slows movement. But the slow comfort was preferred to that which soon materializes. The desert interminably arrives with a solid beam of burning light. The burns become signatures of the sun.

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You love someone seemingly forever, then no longer there forever. One day, in the company of someone else, you’ll love them again forever. A demon rests in the relative concept.

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You write a crazed murder ballad.

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…The night collected their revolting dreams / Knives, glass, animals, and steam…

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When you’re questioned by detectives, you realize you’re the prime suspect.

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You start to resemble the desert when the frenzy takes hold. Memories collide with one another and roll themselves into dunes. Creatures, once tame, are now rabid, armored, drooling, and attack anything that moves.

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The only cure for the desert is drinking. And you drink—drink till you vomit and back into the desert you go.

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The detectives find a frenzied one with most of the incriminating evidence. It confesses to the crime.

&

You are left alone, innocently writing.


LM Rivera lives in Santa Fe, NM. He co-edits Called Back Books with his partner Sharon Zetter. His work has appeared in Alien Mouth, FUZZ, Mannequin Haus, DUM DUM Zine, and elsewhere. His chapbook THE LITTLE LEGACIES is available from Glo Worm Press and his first full-length book, The Drunkards, is available from Omnidawn.

Monday, September 10, 2018

On Writing #155 : George Bowering


Poly Oana craquer
George Bowering



            Each morning the first thing I do is to read some poetry before going downstairs to the daily paper’s prose. A lot of the books I have tried lately do not disresemble the latter enough. But the work (and play) of Oana Avasilichioaei has raised my hope for the future of our art. We do not really need poems that tell us what the poet saw and how he can make figurative language to give us his view of those things. We do not really need language that is passed over the counter by its baker. Ms Ovasilichioaei is environed by language as she is by any world she enters, and when you read you don’t read her version––you are too busy negotiating the pleasant difficulty of her pages. If you run into one another from time? Well, what a nice thing to experience first thing in the morning. This poet offers no Frostian conclusions, but possibilities leading in all directions. Judith FitzGerald was right when she wrote that you can’t really read the poems, but you can sure experience them––and if you do not want poetry to lull you, you will want that experience.
            Oana Avasilichioaei’s name is usually preceded or followed by the words poet, translator, editor, collaborator––and you always feel as if all those people are with you while you are experiencing her text. That text can make your eyes jump, maybe into the future. That translator makes you realize that your role is not to consume an English-language text that has replaced a French or Romanian original, but to engage happily with the difficulties of both languages. The poet is not here to enclose but to compose, i.e. to put something beside something. I think that she will continue the work of poets such as Fred Wah and Erin MourĂ©, to waken our ears and imaginations that have been stuffed up with the ordinary.



George Bowering’s 2018 books: Some End from New Star (poems); No One from ECW (fiction); plus in Nov., my biography by Rebecca Wigod, from Talonbooks.