Three Sonnets

By Will Stanier

Poetry

 

 

Dark Sonnet

Lucie Elven is the author of the debut novel The Weak Spot, available from Soft Skull Press.

 

Elven has written for publications including The London Review of BooksGranta, and NOON. She is the former deputy editor of The Believer magazine, and The Weak Spot is her first book. She lives in London.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

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Today on the podcast, an episode devoted to the life and legacy of the late author, activist, diarist, and digital native Mark Baumer. A new book, The One on Earth: Selected Works of Mark Baumer, is available now from Fence Books. It was edited by Blake Butler and Shane Jones, with a foreword by Claire Donato. Butler, Jones, and Donato are the guests.

 

Born and raised in Durham, Maine, Baumer was a graduate of the MFA program at Brown University, after which he became a web content specialist, a climate activist, and a labor organizer in Providence, RI. A member of the group FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas Convergence), he walked barefoot across America to draw attention to climate change. His work is continued by the Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

725. Anna Qu

By TNB Editors

Podcasts

Anna Qu is the author of Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor, available from Catapult.

 

 

Qu is a Chinese American writer. She writes personal essays on identity and growing up in New York as an immigrant. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Lithub, Threepenny ReviewLumina, Kartika, Kweli, Vol.1 Brooklyn, and Jezebel, among others. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

She also serves as the Nonfiction Editor at Kweli Journal, and teaches at the low res MFA program at New England College, Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and Catapult. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their cat, Momo.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.


Leigh Stein is the guest. Her new poetry collection, What to Miss When, is available from Soft Skull.

 

Stein is the author of five books including the novel Self Care and the poetry collection Dispatch from the Future. She has also written for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, AllureELLEThe CutSalon, and Slate. She is a recipient of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers and The Cut named her poet laureate of The Bachelor.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Photo credit: Brian Jacks Lores.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the novel Savage Tonguesavailable from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

Her previous novel, Call Me Zebrawon the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the John Gardner Award. She was a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree for her debut novel, Fra Keeler, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Paris Review, Guernica, Granta, and BOMB. She splits her time between South Bend, Indiana, and Chicago.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

Instagram

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Katie Crouch is the author of the novel Embassy Wife, available from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. It is the official August pick of the TNB Book Club.

 

Crouch is the New York Timesbestselling author of Girls in TrucksMen and Dogs, and Abroad. She has also written essays for The New York TimesGlamourThe GuardianSlateSalon, and Tin House. A former resident of Namibia and San Francisco, Crouch now lives in Vermont with her family and teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Two Poems

By Tobin Bartolo

Poetry

 

i never liked wearing hats
always reminded me of
many years in succession
playing baseball on a team

now i go to bed with my hat on
there’s no game on
there’s no one at the field
no glove, no team, no bat

it would be fun to play a game
with a team again
would you be on the team?
if you like, you can design the hats

Sam Cohen is the author of the debut story collection Sarahland, available from Grand Central Publishing.

 

Cohen is a queer, Jewish femme born and raised in suburban Detroit. Her fiction is published in Fence, Bomb, Diagram, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. The recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and a PhD fellow at the University of Southern California, she lives in Los Angeles.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Kendra Allen is the author of the poetry collection The Collection Plate (Ecco).

 
Allen was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She is the recipient of the 2018 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction for her essay collection When You Learn the Alphabetawarded by Kiese Laymon. She has been featured on C-SPAN, interviewed in The Rumpus and Poets & Writers, and her work has been taught by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds alongside that of Jamaica Kincaid and Eve Ewing, among other distinctions. She lives in San Antonio.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Tao Lin is the author of the novel Leave Society (Vintage). This is his fourth time on the program.

 

Lin’s other books include Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Changethe novels Taipei, Richard Yates and Eeeee Eee Eeee, the novella Shoplifting from American Apparel, the story collection Bed, and the poetry collections cognitive-behavioral therapy and you are a little bit happier than i am. He was born in Virginia, has taught in Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program, and is the founder and editor of Muumuu House. He lives in Hawaii.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Matthew Specktor is the author of Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California, available from Tin House.

 

Specktor’s other books include the novels That Summertime Sound and American Dream Machine, which was long-listed for the Folio Prize. Born in Los Angeles, he received his BA from Hampshire College in 1988, and his MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in 2009. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, The Paris Review, Tin House, Black Clock, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. He is a founding editor of the Los Angles Review of Books.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

Instagram

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

 

I was doing the thing where my mom was on the phone with me so I was walking laps around the neighborhood. I get pretty sick of being in my apartment. And I need the exercise.

I hadn’t been home in months and months and months and Mom was telling me about how my dad fell in the pond and couldn’t crawl out because he’s got bad knees. It’d be funny and kind of sad if it weren’t for the fact there was a six-foot alligator in there. Dad tries to scramble out of the pond and he keeps sliding in mud and meanwhile, the alligator floats, all scales and prehistoric eyes, just watching. 

I laughed, passing construction site after construction site, old buildings going down and new condos going up, expensive condos no one was actually going to live in. Hundreds of empty condos all over the neighborhood.

“But the real problem is you can’t call animal control on an alligator,” Mom was saying. “Trust me, I tried it. They told me the state budget was cut and they no longer have the equipment or the manpower to wrangle alligators. Can you believe that?” 

Mom sneezed. She works in an old government building and she always has a sinus infection. 

“There’s practically a dinosaur living in the pond, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. There’s no one to call. And you certainly can’t kill it. You know your daddy hates shooting things.”

I cut down a side street I don’t often walk down. It’s an ugly chunk of sidewalk covered in busted bottles but it always has the best graffiti, usually Polish because that’s who most of the people in the neighborhood are. There’s this one Polish guy named Brutus who always talks about how he’s a mutant because he grew up thirty miles from Chernobyl. Brutus wears urban camo and has a ponytail down to his ass. He’s six foot ten and he probably is a mutant but I like him. He’s a good guy. 

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of the poetry collection Felon, available from W.W. Norton & Co.

 

Betts is a poet, essayist, and national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice. He writes and lectures about the impact of mass incarceration on American society. His previous books include the poetry collections Bastards of the Reagan Era and Shahid Reads His Own Palm, and a memoir entitled A Question of Freedom. A graduate of Yale Law School, he lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

 

“God is dead” was no celebration on Frederick Nietzsche’s part. It was a warning. Where would we find meaning now that the Enlightenment had rid us of the easy comfort of an unquestioned Lord? In 1942, Albert Camus attempted an answer in The Myth of Sisyphus. We recognize the absurdity but must imagine a happiness; “it is he who must give the void its colors.” It became our journey, our charge, our purpose, to provide the meaning. It doesn’t matter but as long as we’re here anyway, we might as well make it matter. 

 

I’ve never liked it one bit. Neither, it seems, does Dara’s unnamed hero (& very occasional narrator). 

 

“If his purpose is to generate purpose then that is no purpose at all.” (pg. 101)

 

The Story:

 

The story is a manuscript appeared on the writer Richard Powers’ stoop in the early to mid 1990s. The manuscript was The Lost Scrapbook, the first novel from the author working in complete pseudonymity publishing under the name Evan Dara. The story is a good one, as literary stories go. The reclusive author, like Bolaño’s Archimboldi in 2666, DeLillo’s Bill Gray, and even in the unceasing cast of writers, real and imagined, summoned in Vila-Matas’ Bartleby & Co. where he goes about defining “the literature of the no,” is an alluring literary figure. 

 

The story is the manuscript goes on to win the 12th Annual Fiction Collective 2 competition, judged by William T. Vollmann. The story goes it received one contemporaneous national review, an extremely favorable reading by Tom LeClair comparing Dara’s work to William Gaddis and was then summarily dismissed. The story is the famed critic and Gaddis scholar Steven Moore reached out to Evan Dara by e-mail to ask about the influence of JR, Gaddis’ massive 1,000-page novel primarily told in unattributed dialogue. This story is also a pretty good one. It feels specially tailored to spend the rest of its life performing as an interesting anecdote at parties put on by smartly dressed university professors. Evan Dara writes Steven Moore back. Says he checked JR out of a Paris library. Says he opened it once. Says he shut it. Says he didn’t want the influence.