Archive | October, 2015

HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN, the New Poetry Book Is Almost Out!

29 Oct

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How To Be An American, my second book of poetry from Six Gallery Press is out November 7th! Want to know what people are saying? Funny you should ask:

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That’s a real rejection notice that I received so extra special thank you to all the journals that did publish the poems in this book. I’m talking about The Blue Hour, Boyslut, Burlesque Press, Camel Saloon, Clockwise Cat, Crisis Chronicle, Dead Snakes, Dissident Voices, Eleventh Transmission, Fuck Art, Let’s Dance, Horror Sleaze and Trash, Ink Sweat and Tears, Mas Tequila Review, Red Fez, Regardless of Authority, Underground Books, Unlikely Stories, This Is Poetry, This Zine Will Change Your Life, and Zygote in My Coffee

And here’s what people are really saying:

The poems in How to Be an American strike the chords of conversations we should be having, should have already had and resolved, or conversations that should be irrelevant. In this generation’s remake of democracy, Malinenko’s book is an incendiary device.
—Jason Baldinger, author of The Lower Forty-Eight

Ally Malinenko is the embodiment of what E.L. Doctorow meant when he said we need writers because we need witnesses to this terrifying century. In How to Be an American, she dissects the American dream and breaks it down to its petri-dish truths. Malinenko’s America is a country that exports ignorance and consumerism, where the greatest embarrassment is to be poor, vulnerable, and in need. In a voice as direct and unstoppable as an ambulance, Malinenko paints a raw, visceral, and essential portrait of a country without pity, without compassion, and makes the need for change feel like the emergency it is.
—Lori Jakiela, author of Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe

Ally Malinenko has an exceptional ability to observe life and write honestly. She is an absolute treasure.
—Moriah LaChapell, editor of The Blue Hour

This is a devastating book that reads as the polar opposite of Walt Whitman—here, the speaker does not see herself of them, these demented Americans. Here, the speaker rises up and says to the Bible and all its believers, to the box stores and all their consumers, to the patriots and all their patriotism, “Absolutely not.” The country inside these pages is lit up like a Walmart commercial and packed with the same ugliness that makes minimum wage unlivable and bargain shoppers unbearable. The loudest voices are all dressed up in stars-and-stripes bikinis, shouting about how great it is to be red-white-and-blue, while the rest of us rape and kill and need a drink to stand the sights. Here are poems that say, “Enough,” that say, “Quit insulting the world.” Watch out, America. Ally Malinenko’s poems are dodgeballs and she’s throwing them at your head.
—Dave Newman, author of The Poem Factory

It ain’t pretty and it ain’t poesy, at least the way most Americans think of poesy, thank you, Jesus. And it ain’t political, except in the larger sense of human-ness, of flaming outrage, and of deeply longed for compassion. Simply put, this is Ally Malinenko’s incisive deconstruction of many a fetid cranny and nook of the collective American psyche. Pilgrim, save yourself: read it now.
—Don Wentworth, editor of Lilliput Review

How to Be an American is a how-to guide without instructions. This book is brave, bold, and honest—a fucking atom bomb to the political and personal poetry scenes.
—Ben John Smith, author of White White White

And an extra special thank you to Oscar Varona for the cover art, which you can buy as a t-shirt! How cool is that!

To celebrate the launch, I’ll be heading to Pittsburgh for a reading on November 7th at 8pm at Modern Formations – sadly one of the last as they are closing. If you’re in town, please come by. There will be beer and laughter. I promise.

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It’s a great line-up including Adam Matcho, who has a new book out with LowGhost Press, Lori Jakiela, Dave Newman, John Grochalski, Jason Irwin and John Korn.

In the meantime, here’s the conversation I had with my mother regarding the book’s launch:

Mom: I’m worried. Someone is going to put a brick through your window. Look what happened to Snowden.
Me: O_o
Mom: Russia.
Me: Mom. Please. Stop.

I love you, Mom.

And finally, this book is dedicated with love to my fellow Americans – let’s all be better shall we?

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And the rest of Dublin

16 Oct

Lest one should think that a trip to Dublin is 100% Ulysses-based, rest assured one can see quite a few other things if one is so inclined.

Like The Gresham Hotel where the ending of Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ takes place with that incredible last line (sorry, about the spoilers)

Yes, the news­pa­pers were right: snow was gen­eral all over Ire­land. It was falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, fur­ther west­wards, softly falling into the dark muti­nous Shan­non waves. It was falling too upon every part of the lonely church­yard where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and head­stones, on the spears of the lit­tle gate, on the bar­ren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the uni­verse and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the liv­ing and the dead.

Best last line of a short story ever – also, my favorite story ever (apologies to Carver and his cathedrals).

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And while we’re talking about The Dead, here’s the location of the party that Gabriel attends:

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which is right across from the James Joyce bridge!

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Hmmm I did say this wasn’t going to be all about Joyce didn’t I?

Okay so one of the other really cool things that Dublin has is a recreation of Francis Bacon’s studio at Reece Mews in London. I saw the outside of the studio when I was in London but what can only be described as “the mess” of the studio is pretty famous. So I was delighted to find out that the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin (which is FREE!) has reassembled said “mess”

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Amazing, right?

Dublin also has some great monuments, like the infamous Spire of Dublin (local nicknames include the “Stiletto in the Ghetto” and the “Erection at the Intersection” – cheeky Irish!)

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And the James Joyce statue (there he is again!) lovingly known as The Prick with the Stick

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Of course the infamous Molly Malone – The Tart with the Cart

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And the wonderfully sarcastic Oscar Wilde statue – The Queer with the Leer

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Wait you can’t really see his leer there – this one is better

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Dublin also has really fantastic museums, like the Charles Beatty Library where I saw a piece of the Book of the Dead and some gospel that were written on parchment oh a mere 60 years after Jaysus Christ.  We also went to Marsh’s Library where they have a table that Joyce wrote at AND actual cages where they used to lock people in with the books. That’s a rather inventive way to combat theft. We also headed out to Trinity College, home of the famous Book of Kells and the Long Library

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Long Library is LONG

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This is a facsimile as you couldn’t photograph the Book of Kells.

And no trip to Dublin would be complete without taking a little time out to relax in St. Stephen’s Green

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We even managed to get out of the city to see Sandycove, where Ulysses begins. The Irish Sea is beautiful

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And I got to see Jonathan Swift’s skull (and death mask). Seriously.

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And mummies at St. Michans!

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And finally finally finally, because they are so grand THE PUBS!

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Oldest pub in Dublin!

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My Favorite!

Cheers Dublin! I hope to see you again someday!

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James Joyce’s Dublin – a pictorial recreation of Ulysses

14 Oct

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I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book. – James Joyce

TELEMACHUS

“Stately plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of later on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.”

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Martello Tower, home of Joyce for 6 days in 1904 and the opening scene in Ulysses

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“In the gloomy domed living room of the tower Buck Mulligan’s gowned form moved briskly about the hearth to and fro, hiding and revealing it’s yellow glow.”

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“They halted, looking towards the blunt cape of Bray Head that lay on the water like the snout of a sleeping whale.”

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“He walked on, waiting to be spoken to, trailing his ashplant by this side.”

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PROTEUS

“Come out of them, Stephen. Beauty is not there. Nor in the stagnant bay, of Marsh’s library, where you read the fading prophesies of Joachim Abbas.”

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CALYPSO

“The belfry of St. George’s Church sent out constant peals….”

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LOTUS EATERS

“From the curbstone he darted a keen glance through the door of the post office. Too late box. Post here. No-one. In.”

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“Better get that lotion made up. Where is this? Ah yes, the last time. Sweny’s in Lincoln Place. Chemists rarely move.”

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“Mr. Bloom raised a cake to his nostrils. Sweet lemony wax.”

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It is also where I bought my lemon soap

AEOLUS

Mr. Bloom turned and saw the liveried porter raise his lettered cap as a stately figure entered between the newsboards of the Weekly Freeman and National Press….”

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One of the many plaques throughout the city this one located on Prince’s Street North

“I’m just running around to Bachelor’s Walk, Mr. Bloom said, abou this ad of Keyes’s. Want to fix it up.”

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LESTRYGONIANS

“As he set foot on O’Connell Bridge, a puffball of smoke plummed up from the parapet….He halted again and bought from the old applewoman two Ban bury cakes for a penny and brook the brittle paste and threw its fragments down into the Liffey.”

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Jay: Go stand by the sign.  Me: Should I kneel down? Jay: No you’re short enough. Me: *pulls face*

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“He entered Davy Byrne’s. Moral pub. He doesn’t chat. Stands a drink now and then. I’ll take a glass of burgundy and let me see…have you a cheese sandwich?”

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“A blind strippling stood tapping the curbstone with his slender cane. No trams in sight. Wants to cross….I”ll see you across. Do you want to go to Molesworth Street?”

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SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS

“Mr. Bloom came to Kildare Street. First I must. Library….Urbane to comfort them, the Quaker librarian purred: And we have, have we not, those priceless pages of Wilhelm Meister?

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Not actually my photo since you couldn’t photograph the round room at the Dublin National Library

THE WANDERING ROCKS

“They looked from Trinity to the blind columned porch of the bank of Ireland where pigeons roocooocooed.”

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Trinity College

Mr Kernan turned and walked down the slope of Watling street by the corner of Guinness’s visitors’ waitingroom”

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SIRENS

“Bronze by gold, Miss Douce’s head by Miss Kennedy’s head, over the crossblind of the Ormond bar heard the viceregal hoofs go by, ringing steel.”

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The now vacant and soon to be demolished Ormond Hotel and Bar

CYCLOPS

“So we turned into Barney Kiernan’s and there sure enough was the citizen up in the corner having a great big confab with himself and that bloody mangy mongrel, Garryowen, and he waiting for what the sky would drop in the way of drink.”

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The pub that was once known as Barney Kiernan’s

OXEN OF THE SUN

“In recent public controversy, with Mr. L. Bloom (Pubb. Canv.) which took place in the Commons Hall of the National Maternity Hospital 29, 30 and 31 Holles Street of which, as is well known, Dr. A Horne (Lic. in Midw., F. K. Q. C. P. I) is the able and popular master, he is reported by eyewitnesses as having stated that once a woman has let the cat into the bag (an esthetic allusion, presumably, to one of the most complicated and marvelous of all of nature’s processes, the act of sexual congress) she must let it out again or give it life, as he phrased it, to save her own.”

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ITHACA

At the housesteps of the 4th Of the equidifferent uneven numbers, number 7 Eccles street, he inserted his hand mechanically into the back pocket of his trousers to obtain his latchkey..”

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The original door from 7 Eccles Street at the James Joyce Cultural Center

PENELOPE
“I saw him a few times in the Bleeding Horse in Camden Street with Boylan the Billsticker.”

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Engraved in stone before the Bleeding Horse Pub

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Thanks James.

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James’ Death Mask at Martello Tower

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