Friday, July 3, 2015

Interview with The Blunt Instrument

I had a conversation with Elisa Gabbert over at Electric Literature about the reaction to her Blunt Instrument advice column where she tackled the "white male writer and equality in publishing" problem.

As I stated in the intro to our conversation, I have a horse in this race, being bi-racial, and running a school library that serves a population that is 94% people of color. Running a school library means that every year I select books and materials to purchase for pleasure reading and to support the school curriculum. I have a fair amount of power in this position considering I am given (a mere) $6.25 per student with which to purchase materials. That averages out to about $8,000 a year, and I spend every penny. Yet, every year I look for books by black, Latino, Asian American, Muslim, LGBTQ, etc. etc. etc. writers writing about these people and issues, and most books on offer are by and about white men and women. That's when it feels like white supremacy; that's what it looks like. This is not a theoretical problem, so we need concrete solutions.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

How Do We Live? Why?

I interviewed Hanya Yanagihara for Electric Literature about many things, one of them being suicide, another being the emotional capacities of men. We corresponded by e-mail over the course of a few weeks. I'd started following her Instagram feed and each day I saw her lush photos from Sri Lanka, while most days I had a view of the BQE.

Art plays a big part in her novel, A Little Life, and she wrote about the artworks that inspired the novel over at New York Magazine.

A view of the BQE isn't all bad, though. I found some drums there and took two of them:

And sometimes I think the dollar store is my natural habitat:

Other days I write wishes on a crane and send it off on its way:

Saw Courtney Barnett the other day at a last minute invitation and met a woman from Canada. Days like that are reason enough. Here's Courtney Barnett at SXSW.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Get Superstitious

In the winter I interviewed Elisa Ambrogio and Naomi Yang for the Rumpus. That entire adventure fell into my lap because I tweeted a link to a blog post I wrote about Elisa's video for Superstitious; she RTed, and then I asked if I could interview her and Naomi. Sometimes you just have to ask for things.

I'm happy to say that Elisa scored a major publicity boost last week when the New York Times T Magazine ran a short post on her new video for "Arkansas". Check it out! Her record is great and more people should be listening.

I have some forthcoming interviews with writers set to run in Electric Literature. Stay tuned.

And here's a plug for Okey Panky, a literary journal under the EL umbrella, run by writers and editors who have been friends and mentors for a long time. Elisa Gabbert's poems in last week's issue are fantastic.

A taste:

We had crossed into
November. I spoke
of my desire. I said desire

but I meant longing.
Desire is despair
with sex mixed in.