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Moore_DintyYour book is ostensibly about cannibals. Have you ever eaten human flesh?

My own, I suppose. I used to chew the ends of my fingers.

 

Have you ever met a cannibal?

No, but Montaigne did. You know, Michel de Montaigne, the founder of the essay, he who first gazed longingly at his own navel. Montaigne (which, by the way, is pronounced ‘Mon-taigne’) visited with three Tupinambá Indians who had been transported to Europe to show off as curiosities. Then he wrote a truly peculiar essay about the experience. He is my inspiration for this book: a collection of peculiar navel gazing with a dash of mescaline.

Cultural links of interest from around the web:

Author (and frequent TNB contributor) Steve Almond reflects on the wane of talk therapy and the rise of the writing workshop in the New York Times.

It is at this point that I can hear the phantom convulsions of my literary comrades. “Damn it, Almond,” they’re saying. “You really are making workshops sound like therapy.” Fair enough. The official job of a workshop is to help a writer improve her prose, not her psyche. But this task almost always involves a direct engagement with her inner life, as well as a demand for greater empathy and disclosure. These goals are fundamentally therapeutic.

 

New Narratives

When we think of experimental fiction and what it means to write in a way that challenges form and style, we often think of writers like Kathy Acker, Ander Monson, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Danielle Dutton, Selah Saterstrom, Mark Danielewski, Laird Hunt, to name a few. As this form has emerged, it’s slowly become a viable medium in which narratives are compiled of frayed edges, blurry lines and unique style. This type of writing began to focus on fragmented stories, utilizing techniques and styles that echo modern poets and experimental texts. A movement called the New Narrative began in the 80s that gave voice to writers looking to give voice to narratives in a more experimental fashion. Initially, these writers focused on eliminating the boundaries between the author and reader as to identify with the physical side of the author. While some of these New Narrative authors were gay and lesbian writers, all who became part of this movement did focus on “new narrative” forms of communicating with its readers. Incorporating meta-text and sexually unambiguous descriptions of the everyday were par for the course in works that emerged as a result of this movement in writing. Authors like Eileen Myles, Kevin Killian, Dodie Bellamy and Robert Gluck were among those who pushed boundaries with style and form and who are associated with such a progressive movement where writing’s concerned.Ugly Duckling Presse published Dodie Bellamy’s Barf Manifesto in the fall of 2009, which is a combination of two essays that Bellamy wrote for panel discussions about the liberation of form in regard to writing. Eileen Myles had written an essay entitled, “Everyday Barf” and Barf Manifesto is Bellamy’s response to that essay. Divided into two essays, Bellamy addresses some of the issues and talking points that emerged as a result of Myles’s multifaceted piece on “Everyday Barf.”