noom

By Aram Saroyan

Opinion

Recently, going about daily errands, I came across an ad, on social media and on the radio, for a diet program improbably called noom.

Half a century ago in the sixties, in my minimalist phase as a poet, I came up with a one-word poem: noom.  It was published that year, alone on a page in outsize type, in John Perreault’s little magazine, Elephant. It also appears in my poetry collection The Rest (1971).  When Complete Minimal Poems (which includes noom) was published in 2007, followed by a rave in the New York Times Book Review, it went through four printings and was honored with the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams award.

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Dora Malech. Her most recent poetry collection, Stet, is available from Princeton University Press.

 

Malech’s other collections include Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011), and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009). Her fourth collection, Flourish, will be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2020.

Malech has been the recipient of an Amy Clampitt Residency Award from the Amy Clampitt Fund, a Mary Sawyers Baker Prize from the Baker Artist Awards, a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Writing Residency Fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and she has served as Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at Saint Mary’s College of California. She is a co-founder and former director of the arts engagement organization the Iowa Youth Writing Projects, and she is currently an assistant professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

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Blank

By Bud Smith

Short Story

Good Luck: Episode Forty-Five

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Kimberly King Parsons. Her debut story collection, Black Light, is available from Vintage.

 

Born in Lubbock, Texas, Parsons earned a BA in English and an MA in Literary Studies (emphasis on the works of William Faulkner) from the University of Texas at Dallas. She later moved to New York City, where she earned an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and served as the editor-in-chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art.

A recipient of fellowships from Columbia University and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, her fiction has been published in The Paris ReviewBest Small Fictions 2017Black Warrior ReviewNo TokensKenyon Review, and elsewhere.

She lives with her partner and sons in Portland, OR, where she is completing a novel about Texas, motherhood, and LSD.

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I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Death

By Bud Smith

Short Story

Good Luck: Episode Forty-Four

 

Why do people write stories? Because they’ll die soon, that’s why. Why do people read stories? Because they’re alive, for now, that’s why.

The editor was overwhelmed. Submissions poured in. Another 2000 words about someone’s grandma dying, $20 deposited into the account. By the end of the first week, a hundred stories a day.

The editor called me on the phone, “I don’t know what to do, man. I can’t keep up.” It was the middle of the day, I was in bed. The sun shined through the Venetian blinds.

“How many stories do we have now?”

“Over a thousand.”

“Well, it’ll get worse, just before we close.”

“I need help.”

“I’d love to help you pick a winner, Joey, but I’m on night shift. I’m in no condition.”

“Yeah. Okay. No worries.”

“Just batch select and reject them all. Send that form letter I sent you.”

The form letter said this:

 

Yo, thanks for sending your story about your grandma dying to the Good Luck novel. We got a lot of stories about a lot of people’s grandmas dying, and regret that there is no place in the larger work for the death of your specific grandma. Much Respect, The Editor.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Josh Gondelman. His new book, Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results, is available from Harper Perennial (Sept. 17, 2019).

Gondelman is a writer and comedian who incubated in Boston before moving to New York City, where he currently lives and works as a writer and producer for Desus and Mero on Showtime. Previously, he spent five years at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, first as a web producer and then as a staff writer. In 2016, he made his late night standup debut on Conan (TBS), and he recently made his network television debut on Late Night With Seth Meyers (NBC).

He is the winner of two Peabody Awards, three Emmy awards, and two WGA Awards for his work on Last Week Tonight. He is also the co-author (along with Joe Berkowitz) of the book You Blew Itpublished October 2015 by Plume. His writing has also appeared in publications such as McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New York Magazine, and The New Yorker.

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I Have a Terrible Feeling
 is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Good Luck

By Bud Smith

Short Story

Good Luck: Episode Forty-Three

 

The garbageman was at his kitchen window, looking out. I’m all alone, and I am the Devil, and I am misunderstood. 

He was like everybody I ever knew, everything I ever knew, an island, ashamed for some abstract reason.

Little birds swooped out of the trees and landed in a gang on his lawn, pecking at the grass seed. Each bird in competition with the next.

The man was zoned out, thinking of a way to throw himself in the garbage. But then he snapped out of it, saw the birds, heads bobbing, beaks snapping at his grass seed. Sparrows. Hopping and fluttering and eating.

He opened the window, leaned out and yelled. But the window was loose and fell down on his neck and now he was yelling at God, trying to yank the window up.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with R.O. Kwon. Her bestselling debut novel, The Incendiaries, is available in trade paperback from Riverhead Books.

Named a best book of the year by over forty publications, The Incendiaries was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book, Los Angeles Times First Book Prize, and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize. The book was also nominated for the Aspen Prize, Carnegie Medal, and the Northern California Book Award. Kwon’s next novel, as well as an essay collection, are forthcoming.

Kwon’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Paris Review, Buzzfeed, NPR, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Born in Seoul, Kwon has lived most of her life in the United States.

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The TNB Book Club is reading Exile this month, available from OR Books. Join us! Get your copy now!

And stay tuned for Belén’s appearance on the Otherppl podcast later this month.

About the book:

Che Guevara left Argentina at 22. At 21, Belén Fernández left the U.S. and didn’t look back. Alone, far off the beaten path in places like Syria and Tajikistan, she reflects on what it means to be an American in a largely American-made mess of a world.

After growing up in Washington, D.C. and Texas, and then attending Columbia University in New York, Belén Fernández ended up in a state of self-imposed exile from the United States. From trekking—through Europe, the Middle East, Morocco, and Latin America—to packing avocados in southern Spain, to close encounters with a variety of unpredictable men, to witnessing the violent aftermath of the 2009 coup in Honduras, the international travel allowed her by an American passport has, ironically, given her a direct view of the devastating consequences of U.S. machinations worldwide. For some years Fernández survived thanks to the generosity of strangers who picked her up hitchhiking, fed her, and offered accommodations; then she discovered people would pay her for her powerful, unfiltered journalism, enabling—as of the present moment—continued survival.

Available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Sign up now to receive your copy! (Sign-up deadline for this title: September 15, 2019.)

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“It’s a rare memoir that reads like a thriller, but Adrienne Brodeur’s Wild Game manages to do just that. Beautifully written and harrowing, the book left me breathless.” —Richard Russo, author of The Destiny Thief and Empire Falls

A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.

Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.

 

Who are a few of your favorite saints?

Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Augustine, Saint Lucy, and Saint Theresa of Avila.

I’ve hurt you: I’ve loved you.
I’ve vacuumed all the rooms.
I have no idea what became of us, yet
there are endless possibilities for happiness.
Once, when my lover betrayed me,
I greeted him at the door with a knife.
Now I am on my haunches, unvalued and unused.
Am I to be blamed for wanting absolution?
Am I to be blamed for keeping what I conjure
in a vial of formaldehyde beside my bed?
Idiot savant, death is my downfall.
My students fail, repeatedly, to deploy
the correct conjunctive adverbs
in everyday speech. Consequently,
I fold my napkin into a perfect square.
Henceforth, the night ends so quickly,
bringing forth the vulgar day.
When images become inadequate,
I shall be content with silence.
When images become inadequate,
I shall separate the chaff from the wheat.
I feel I’ve learned so little, here.
The soul pressed flat is matter, unsexed.
The heart pressed flat is meat.