Great Interview with Author Jonathan Corcoran

corcoran_jonathanThe town I grew up in was a little pinpoint of civilization surrounded on all sides by mountains and miles of forests… I know my stories wouldn’t be as successful without the looming mountains or the swiftly flowing rivers.

Hear, hear! This sentiment is one of many that drew me to the multi-talented and quite charming author (and Brooklynite) Jonathan Corcoran, whose debut collection of linked stories, The Rope Swing, explores the unique setting of economically-isolated Appalachia and the complex people who inhabit its “looming” mountainsides and riverbanks.

Are you surprised, precious reader, at my natural affinity for the natural world? There’s nothing unnatural about it. I’m a woodland denizen, by Zeus’ sandal straps! A so-called “sasquatch,” although I prefer sans-quatch; it sounds more literary. My given name is Chester, but I tell the voters to call me Chet.

Msr. Corcoran asserts, during the course of an energetic interview at The Rumpus, that “This book, as a project, was certainly a meditation on the notion of cusps and cliffs.” Cliffs! I swoon! You had me at “looming mountainsides,” dear sir! Corcoran goes on to say:

In the stories that focus on queer life and love specifically, I wanted to show readers how these tiniest of decisions, or moments of indecision, have the potential to impact a body for a lifetime, and how these very personal decisions are often forced upon people under the heavy weight of an often-hostile external world.

A weighty topic, to be sure, and one that this author discusses at great length and with such attractive perspicacity, thanks to his interviewess, the talented poet and essayist, Mlle. Melissa Adamo. Read her poetry here and follow her tweetings at @mel_adamo.

Hats off to The Rumpus for finding these two lovely creatures. I hope to see much, much more from them in the future.

Purchase The Rope Swing from Amazon immediately, humans, if you value your reputations.


Stand Up For Sitting Down

I come bearing wonderful news. The fundraising drive of the fine Brooklyn literary journal Armchair/Shotgun has shattered the portcullis of success! As of this writing, the journal has raised $5,415, or 108% of its fundraising goal. The monies are intended to ensure an expansion of readership and the claiming of non-profit status (irony!); expensive pursuits, let there be no doubt. This is a resounding victory for art and artistes everywhere. But I say, why stop here? One and all, join me, and let’s bring the total to 109%. Donate to Armchair/Shotgun: The Next Five Years.

My regards to the editorial team of Laura McMillan, Adam Read-Brown, Evan Simko-Bednarski, and Chris Timmins (@ArmchairShotgun). They are truly dedicated humans. On the other hand, I am always looking for new ways to cultivate influence on the interwebs. The more of you donate to good causes, the more influence I receive, by association. With every dollar you give, I become stronger! Mwahahaha! 

I apologize. My id got the best of me. At any rate, my official position on this subject is as follows: though I disapprove of the unsupervised discharge of firearms, I wholeheartedly endorse the armchairs of Kings County, the divans, settees, love seats, and even their attendant ottomans. Join me, and let us stand up for sitting down.

NB – The fundraising drive is “closed”. But it’s never too late to shower me with praise, or the journal with money, promissory notes,IOU’s, etc.

Banquet Reading Series – September

Greenpoint Heights, 278 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11222

A wealth of literary ability abounded at the Banquet reading series on Saturday in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. These poets are making big, innovative strides on the page, which is all the more impressive, considering their legs are so puny and ineffectual off the page. One needs little proof of their credentials, although plenty exists. Among the readers’ accolades, we stumble upon – in a daze, a stuporous miasma of awe and excitement – residencies at the Millay Colony, grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, profiles in Poets & Writers magazine, and Pushcart Prizes. Egads! I shudder, even now, at the feeling of brushing against such formidable endorsements.

IMG_0646And that is not all. After the deceptively wry Luke Bloomfield, we heard from Wendy Xu, who, as it turns out, is one of this year’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship winners. That is not something to shake a stick at, humans! The mind-bending, sonically-inventive stanzas of Spencer Everett followed, which caused the room to lean forward in eagerness. Such complex, imaginative writing should be hallowed. Hallowed, I say! Last, but not least, the audience was graced with the introspective, yet lively poetry of the acclaimed Kim Addonizio. This National Book Award Finalist and former Guggenheim fellow has a new story collection due out this fall, called Palace of Illusions. Purchase her poetry collection, Lucifer At Starlight, on Amazon. The Banquet reading series returns next month. Stay tuned to @City_Sasquatch and #banquetreading for updates.

Is there room for a monster like me among such writerly behemoths? Lo, they tower above me. I must redouble my efforts to impress Lorin Stein, of the Paris Review, and Penguin Books. Did you know their publications are not meant exclusively for arctic fowl? Gods above, I had no idea.

How much for this garden?

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden – 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Nature’s bounty on display in the high summer! Breathe that air! Ah! Smell the flora! Ah! How good it is to be a monster today.

What a bucolic setting. I’ll take it! How much? There isn’t a single price tag anywhere to be seen.