Book Recommendation of the Month: Wasp Queen

Wasp-Queen-COVERAh, a cheery morning to you, my bipedal comrades! It is especially cheery because I have a book recommendation for you.

And so, I give unto you the thrilling poet Claudia Cortese’s poetry collection, Wasp Queen, forthcoming in December from Black Lawrence Press. Cortese’s brave and unblinking work appears in such publications as Blackbird, Crazyhorse, and The Offing. An excerpt from Wasp Queen can be found on the latter journal’s site. Read more about her on her author page at Claudia-Cortese.com. Her writing does not shrink from the hard truths of modern life.

Go forth, humanoids, and read! If you have a suggestion for my next Book Recommendation of the Month, email me at chetsasquatch@humanoid.net or tweet me @City_Sasquatch.


Interview of the Week: Becky Tuch of The Review Review

man at desk by pedro ribeiro simoes

This article of the week comes from my ghostwriter. How thoughtful of him to interview the founder of one of my favorite literary resources on the global interweb net, The Review Review, that most effective tool for researching literary magazines.

The innovative and delightful editress Mlle. Becky Tuch opens up about motherhood, her short story collection (and novel!), and the ongoing evolution of The Review Review in an interview for The Rumpus. Don’t miss it. Be a dear and leave a comment at the bottom, or tweet your reactions to @City_Sasquatch. I will be sure to pass them on to the author.

Find a list of my ghostwriter’s other publications on the About page at the top of your screen, and be sure to keep abreast of his weekly Song of the Day column for The Rumpus. I promise I’ll get around to it, as soon as I open this fan mail.

Kickstarter Spotlight: ‘Distilled Lit’ Magazine

notebook pen

“Write dangerously” is coined from Nietzsche’s “Live dangerously.” We believe if you’re not writing dangerously, not taking risks, not telling secrets, not being vulnerable, not throwing yourself into into the craft, then you’re not truly writing.

These are fighting words from the Kickstarter fundraising campaign page for an exciting new literary journal based in South Florida called Distilled Lit. South Florida, you say? Quite so. This region rarely receives the attention it deserves for its literary scene. I remember the constitutionals I used to take in my youth, several hundred years ago. I loved to lumber dashingly through the knee-high marshes of Florida, swatting egrets and singing Baudelaire at the top of my lungs. Ah, youth! Those halcyon days cause a swell of nostalgia to flow through me like a churning tsunami through the ocean of time!

Anyway, Distilled Lit proclaims its intention – feistily, no less – to champion the “ignored voices of South Florida writers,” especially those writers who have been “ignored for your unknown name, lack of awards or prestige, lack of titles, or lack of conformity to a contemporary aesthetic…” Hear, hear! This journal has won me over. Let’s offer them our support.

Visit their fundraising campaign page sometime in the next 41 days and contribute whatever you can, humans. As of this moment, they only have $2,379 left to raise. Sally forth, I say! And do your duty.

Also, if you know of another plucky journal, underrated author, or dogged artiste that would benefit from a tad of internet publicity (a la sasquatch), refer them to me! Little birdies may tweet me @City_Sasquatch or email me at chetsasquatch@humanoid.net


A Warm Review of Lit Mag ‘The Brooklyn Rail’

brooklyn rail cover

It thrills me – ahem – to inform you all that my ghostwriter has published a bit of nonfiction on the world interweb net, a piece that will be of some interest to you literati out there. You can now read his glowing review of local Big Apple journal The Brooklyn Rail on that perfectly-charming and helpful site, The Review Review.

If you write or read words, you will in all likelihood appreciate this wonderful – and wonderfully-free – journal. Read “New York and Other Diverse Countries: Brooklyn Lit Mag is Home for High-Quality Prose and Art Criticism” now.

As I said, I am just so vicariously happy for my ghostwriter – emphasis on ghost – I could climb a tree and stay up there for several days.

Read These Journals, Humans


Recently, thanks to the wonderful editresses at The Review Review, I stumbled across a list of “29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading” at Buzzfeed. Their list is certainly not exhaustive, but it consists of a refreshing variety of staunch old names like Ploughshares and Poetry alongside lesser-known publications like One Throne and Winter Tangerine Review.

Peruse it, dear bibliophiles, and tell me what you think. Though I was a bit miffed to see that The Hot Wind Review was not mentioned above… Oh well – it’s not the first time I’ve been lost in plain sight.

Pank You Very Much

The editor, publisher, and writer of this humble internet scroll (that’s moi) is deeply saddened to see the impending closure of one of the more refreshing journals we have: Pank magazine, edited by M. Bartley Siegel, Roxane Gay (@rgay), and others. Pank had a respectable tenure since it was founded in 2006. We shall miss it dearly.

I will now pour out my handy leaf skin of spring water, in memoriam.

Here are a few links of note for you, my precious reader:

  • Mlle. Katherine Mayfield of the Maine Review offers her advice for writers, via The Review Review. Helpful tidbits, this. For example, if you write horror, and a journal does not publish horror, don’t submit there. How pragmatic.
  • And for the erudite New Yorker’s social calendar, a dramatic reading of James Baldwin, Charles Bukowski, and others will take place at South Hollis, NY, on the 27th of this month. Featuring poet Bob McNeil and company. See more details here.

Brick City Speaks – June reading


Thank heaven for the tall ceilings in Hell’s Kitchen Lounge in Newark. I was able to fit in the doorway to join the audience for the June installment of one of my favorite literary readings, Brick City Speaks, a series that draws from local institutions like the Rutgers-Newark MFA program and the Portuguese-American community of the Ironbound section of Newark to create a unique and enthralling environment for literary monsters and homo sapiens alike.

This month, the dapper Mel King shared a touching love story, augmented by evocative prose, while the enchanting and altogether otherw0rdly Elizabeth Palamara (@EbethPalamara) allowed listeners a peek into her novel-in-progress. The wonderful dynamic between a tattoo artist and his client-turned-crush nicely paralleled Msr. King’s nonfictional themes. Then Melanie Tolomeo bewitched us all with her amiable stage presence and lyricism. Renaissance man Timothy Ruiz (@writertimothy) rounded out the evening with poems and a rousing performance of original music. All in all, a tour de force! Magnifique! Other French idioms would also suffice!

Don’t miss the next Brick City Speaks reading on the second Monday of July at 8:00 pm.


Sixfold Lit Journal

empty chairsThis week, Sixfold – an “all writer-voted” literary journal with no traditional editors – finished its latest session of evaluating fiction and poetry submissions. Sixfold is different from other journals in that it uses an American Idol-style evaluations system – minus the celebrity talking heads – to determine what is published and what isn’t. In sum, whoever submits a story or a poem to the journal is then asked to read and rank 6 of their peers’ submissions. Then, the process repeats twice more. After 3 rounds of crowd-editing in which the top pieces from each round advance, 3 submissions from the slush pile float to the top. The authors of these receive monetary payment and publication in the journal.

I applaud Sixfold for its innovative and refreshingly democratic approach to the slush pile problem that has plagued us for years. On the whole, I recommend this brave expose of the problem by Electric Literature’s Lincoln Michel (@TheLincoln). It’s worth a read.

Sixfold‘s approach is unique, and, according to them, “rigorous, thorough and fair.” I won’t question that description of this trailblazing journal. After reading some of their submissions, it seems to me that the majority of their citizen editors might harbor an appreciation for that ubiquitous author of thrillers, James Patterson. In which case, I ask you, how could hundreds of James Patterson fans ever lead us astray?

But don’t take my word for it. Read The Review Review‘s review of Sixfold and email me your own opinion at chetsasquatch@humanoid.net!


Free Water Reading at KGB

The April installment of artistic hoopsman-about-town Msr. Britt Melewski’s regular poetry reading, Free Water, was an absolute barn burner, humans. I do not jest when I declare that the air crackled with literary insight and panache, such that the errant pastoral detritus littering the sidewalk outside KGB Bar – the hay and wheat chaff discarded by agrarian residents of the Lower East Side – almost burst into flames. This was a truly spectacular reading.

Free Water #6 splashed our ears with the poetic sorcery of a bevy of accomplished writers including the innovative Kelin Loe, Cave Canem fellow Safia Jama, Edward Mullany, and the astonishing Rigoberto Gonzalez. Each poet provided listeners with something unique, something profound, something incendiary. Mlle. Loe’s visceral vocabulary and Mlle. Jama’s mastery of the figurative bolstered their co-readers like a warm tide. Msr. Mullany’s post-apocalyptic story of a man and his dog brought a tear to my eye, and Msr. Gonzalez used form to his advantage, sharing poems of lovely eloquence and rhythm.

I can barely wait for the next iteration of this tremendous reading series. Don’t miss it. In fact, if I hear that you have, I will give you a wedgie unlike anything you’ve seen before. A “wedgie,” for those who are unfamiliar with this colloquialism, is an unfortunate method of punishment directed at any and all creatures wearing pants. Humble beasts such as myself are ineligible.


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JC Independent Publishes “Love Poem #2”

Well. I’m so happy to report – giddy, really – that my ghostwriter’s poem, “Love Poem #2,” has been selected by the Jersey City Independent (@JCIndependent) as one of three winning pieces commemorating National Poetry Month. The contest was sponsored by the Jersey City Writers (@JCWriters) group.

I am brimming with fraternal glee. Such impossible, confounding glee, in fact, that my head practically spins with vicarious happiness. My own manuscript still has not seen the light of day (even though I paid an additional $79.99 at Kinko’s to ensure that it would be printed on neon reflective 20-pound paper stock), but not matter! Let us not distract ourselves from the joyous news. How… head-splittingly tremendous it is. So much so that I must, I’m afraid, retire for an early morning nap.

Now if only I could banish the little fluttering canaries with my ghostwriter’s face on them from the darkness of my mind’s eye… Oh joy, how you set my pulse racing.