Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. Her new novel, Starling Days, is available from The Overlook Press. It is the official April pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Buchanan is also the author of Harmless Like You, winner of The Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and an NPR 2017 Great Read.

Her short work has appeared in several places, including Granta, Guernica, The Guardian, The Harvard Review, and NPR’s Selected Shorts.

She lives in London.

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Although Sharron Hass has warned that rationality is the enemy of generosity

sex four times in one week ÷ our public argument at dinner =
sex twice X  the I want to see you text one workday at noon.

My four birthday presents for your four kids  ÷ (your telling me when your mother’s birthday was by telling me you’d bought flowers for her +
you did so only because I asked you what you did that day) > (your mother phoning me on my birthday to tell me that her gift to me would be a new pair of sunglasses – your dislike of my current pair of sunglasses).

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Kevin Bigley. His new novel, Comaville, is available from Clash Books.

 

 

Bigley is an actor/author. He can be seen on such television as Amazon’s Undone, USA’s Sirens, as well as heard on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman. Currently, he’s starring in the new Greg Daniels show Upload, coming to Amazon on May 1st. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Christopher and I saw it running across the street in a neighbor’s front yard. At first, we thought it was a large cat and didn’t think much of it. There are stray cats in our neighborhood. They run in people’s yards. After about 10 minutes of the animal appearing in and out of our window’s view, I was annoyed. I walked to the window and saw that it was a small black dog, trotting diagonally down the middle of the street with its mouth open. It didn’t seem totally aimless–I got the sense that it lived within our crescent shaped street’s selection of houses. A red car drove by and the dog started chasing the car.  I got our dog’s leash and Christopher went ahead of me to try to get the dog’s attention.

When I walked down the street, Christopher was talking to the dog, with it standing about 5 feet away from him. He had a red collar on, and the collar had a tag. The dog eventually approached us and we were able to look at the tag. The owner had put the dog’s license for the county on but not a tag with their name, phone number or address. The dog was fine with us putting him on a leash and wanted to keep walking. At this time, the red car that the dog had been chasing drove by again, and I waved at the driver in case it was the dog’s owner searching for the dog but missing it both times they drove past, and they did not respond. We called the dog shelter and it was closed.

Who exactly are the Girls Like Us you refer to in the title of your collection? Are you suggesting that men shouldn’t read your work?

Originally the title was “Girls Like You” which is a phrase I’ve heard many times over the years, both as compliment and critique. Either way, it was such a reductive statement, often derogatory: “Girls like you can’t be trusted” or “Girls like you aren’t worth my time.” The idea that I – or any of us – is just a type bothers me. I like to believe that my pain and suffering are unique! But then I started thinking that there is comfort in knowing I am not alone in my experience. #Metoo brought a lot of old hurts to the surface and helped me recognize the power of community. That there are many women with similar difficulties, who have faced similar challenges and internalized society’s misogyny in similarly self-destructive ways is actually a good thing. Instead of feeling shame over being a “girl like me” I wanted to take ownership of myself – the good and the bad. And I wanted to commiserate with other women rather than compete with or shame them.

I definitely want men to read my work! I hope that some of these poems might provide perspective that will help men to take into account and understand the undercurrents of misogyny that have run through our culture for decades.

Devices

By Elizabeth Hazen

Poem

Rhyme relies on repetition: pink drink,
big wig, tramp stamp, rank skank. Alliteration

too: Peter Piper’s pickled peppers, silly
Sally’s sheep – silly trumping smart because

the lls create consonance. Assonance
repeats vowel sounds: hot bod, dumb slut, frigid bitch.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Juliana Delgado Lopera. Their new novel, Fiebre Tropical, is available from The Feminist Press. It was the official February pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 
Lopera’s other books include Quiéreme (Nomadic Press 2017) and ¡Cuéntamelo! (Aunt Lute 2017) an illustrated bilingual collection of oral histories by LGBT Latinx immigrants which won a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award.

Their work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Teen Vogue, The Rumpus, The White Review, LALT, Four Way Review, Broadly, TimeOut Mag, and more.

They live in San Francisco.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Amanda Goldblatt. Her debut novel, Hard Mouth, is available from Counterpoint Press.

 

Goldblatt’s work can lately be found at NOON, Fence, and Diagram. She was a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, and teaches creative writing at Northeastern Illinois University.

She lives in Chicago, with her architect partner, and no dog.

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A girl: a train.

A girl, walking along the train tracks: a train, hammering along the train tracks.

A girl, lost in her thoughts, walking along the train tracks: a train, mindlessly fast, hammering along the train tracks.

A girl, lost in her thoughts, train tracks on a mountain pass: a train, fast, train tracks on a mountain pass.

A girl, lost in her thoughts, train tracks, a mountain pass, sun: a train, fast, tracks, pass, sun.

A girl, thoughts, tracks, pass, sun, trees: a train, fast, tracks, pass, sun, trees.

She doesn’t hear the whistles and bells.

The train crumples like a paper accordion.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Megan Boyle. Her novel LIVEBLOG is available from Tyrant Books.

 

This is Megan’s second time on the program. She first appeared in Episode 13 on October 30, 2011.

She is also the author of selected unpublished blog posts of a mexican panda express employee (Muumuu House, 2011). Her writing has appeared in Vice, the Believer, Thought Catalog, and other places online and in print. She has been liveblogging her life since March 17, 2020 on her Tumblr. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Crissy Van Meter. Her debut novel, Creatures, is available from Algonquin Books.

 
Van Meter teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and is the founder of the literary project Five Quarterly. She’s also the managing editor for Nouvella Books and serves on the board of directors for the literary non-profit Novelly. She lives in Los Angeles.

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I did a bunch of demerol when I was 13 years old. I was in a hospital in Plano, Texas, and I had both feet. 

 

I still have both feet, but at the time, it came as a shock to me. 

 

I got hurt playing football. 

 

I played strong guard for the Wilson Rams, and my running back, Jessie, was a dipshit. He tripped and speared my lower leg with the crown of his helmet during a trick play.  

 

Essentially, our coach sent in every running back we had—loaded the backfield, if you know the lingo—so that the Renner Raider’s defense thought we’d be running. 

 

The center hiked the ball to the quarterback. He handed the ball off to the halfback, who faked a handoff to the fullback before pitching the ball to the tailback, who then passed to the quarterback who had made his way downfield and assumed a receiver’s role. 

 

Trickeration, some people call it. Gimmickry, others say. 

 

The whole point is deception. 

 

But Jesse, my dipshit fullback, tripped on his own feet, ended up head first in my lower extremities, and  I came to on my back with my right leg in the air, and my foot wasn’t where it was supposed to be, and wherever it was, I couldn’t see it. 

 

Boom.

 

My mind went wild—the broad October sky shined black above me. 

 

Under the Friday lights of a Texas autumn night, I screamed, “My foot. My foot.” The crowd fell still and some of my teammates were puking. “Where’s my foot?” 

 

My hands searched the ground for my torn-away part. My heart beat my brain with blood and my breath felt frantic.

 

One of my coaches—I can’t remember their names—screamed into my helmet, “Shut the fuck up,” and I went still, and my body thrummed in the tangy, grass-scented air because maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I could hear the crowd holding their breath.

 

“Think it’s just dislocated?” someone said. 

 

“Hopefully,” was the answer. 

 

My foot was still on me, just hanging the wrong way. 

 

“What’s your name?” they asked, I guess wanting to see if I was addled beyond comprehending myself.

 

“Brian Carr,” I told them. “Did we get the first down?”

 

Everyone—but who were they?— laughed and things felt easier, and then I was in an ambulance, and then I was on a bed, and then I was listening to directions, and then the true pain came. 

 

The night cut in and out. My whole body quivered like the ribs of a kicked dog. 

 

“We can’t put you completely under,” a doctor said. I was bathed in light, but maybe my eyes were closed. “We have to turn your foot back around, and you ARE going to feel it.” 

 

The twisting began. 

 

Even now, I can hear the gnash of the process. The same kind of noise any accident makes. Drop a glass on the tile floor. Rear end another driver on the highway. Bang and crunch and fuck and shit. 

 

I yelped curses at God, bleated like a dying goat, lowed anguish unintelligible. 

 

A great darkness pulled across me. The world rattled closed in heaves. 

 

When I woke up, they gave me a button. 

There are many hats and selves in this collection, “Still-Life With God.” In fact, you have a poem, “My Persona,” where you say, “My persona /is filled with / bird song. It carries smiles in a jar.” So where do you place yourself in these poems as a speaker and as a writer?

I think people often mistake the fact that ‘the voice’ of the writer/speaker is not always the poet. My poems exist in many voices, sometimes my own biography, but very often, I am taking on a mask or a persona of another. I’ve always loved Elizabeth Bishop’s poems for the way she acquired many selves. Ultimately, these beings are all some part of me, in some incarnation—well, because they are my creation, out of my psyche, sometimes from memory, sometimes from my imagination. I am not beholden to anything but ‘the truth’ the poem tries to excavate.

If you look under G in the card catalog,
a hunched-over landlady will rent you
a space made of dust, albeit, a little domain
of quiet— Where the rent is cheap and so
is the debt, and silence is not morbid.
On these premises, text and rhetoric
mix a sexy playground for words.
Exquisite human machine of pathos
and debris, allowed the pages to be set
on letter-press, then ink bled and seeped
into a refinery of senses. The kids practice
spelling in the back stacks. We are all polar-opposites
on a stage of belief, fact and faith. Yes, Borges
digressed for an atheist and an Aleph. Delinquent,
these prophets and scholars broke the dress-code
in favor of out-of-fashion souls. Under the desk,
two students knock knees to make contact. Egg to sperm,
pen to pulp—Ideas fly to where our better
angels reside—Where chairs are stacked
on tables at the end of the day.