The Rumpus

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.


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.

First the princely Bowie… and now…


What an ugly week, humans! I’ve walked this earth for several hundred years, and I haven’t seen one like this in quite a while. Sigh.

Just when I and the larger society were stirring from our period of mourning for David Bowie, a contemporary – and no less enthralling – musical icon, Prince, passes away! Too suddenly, I might add.

I wish better circumstances surrounded my next bit of news. Ah well. My ghostwriter has been busy this week, and I am somewhat impressed with him, considering how distracted he must have been by the sad news of yesterday. See his review of the seminal David Bowie album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggie Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, up now on The Rumpus. Perhaps it will serve as a welcome distraction from this, our latest lost hero.

Listen to An Old Record… Or Just Read This

edison victrola…A record review of Marvin Gaye’s Live at the London Palladium by my ghostwriter, published today on that indispensable resource for writers, The Rumpus.

Ah, how this article brings me back to my (slightly) younger days, when Edison’s phonograph was just released. I used to sit outside the windows of my human neighbors, silent and still, not daring to breathe, in the hopes that I could capture strains of the melodies wafting gently into the pine-scented air.



Giant monsters like music too. If you run into one, don’t judge him.

I haven’t seen any lately, so I wouldn’t know.

Look! A Meme!


A links roundup for insufferable information gatherers:

Via Dan Weiss’s Morning Coffee at The Rumpus, news that we might have a cloned woolly mammoth in the near to not-so-near future (if an unethical geneticist completes the hairy project at hand). Sounds like competition to me, humans. Join me in opposing such research! I call for a protest march at once.

Then, on the Ploughshares blog (via The Review Review), Tim Ellison bemoans the superficiality and short attention spans of tweeters, readers, writers, bloggers, and anyone else who likes pictures. I agree with Ellison. You scallywags! Stop looking at the brilliant meme above! You will regret it, you rapscallions!



Best Lit Mags, TV Shows of 2014

tony casale 11 - new old pics

My grandiose summary of the last twelve months continues! Below you will find my favorite literary magazines, sites on the world wide web/Internet, and other cultural miscellany:

Lit Mags, Sites and Webzines

Television and Other Cultural Errata

Take this information and use it wisely, humans! But be sure to thank me later. More ‘Best of” summaries are to come, due to (an) overwhelming demand.

Butter That Toast On Three Sides


Some literary news for you humans and humanoids out there: the buzz-worthy writer and former editor at The Rumpus, Roxanne Gay, has been announced as the editorial captain-ess of feminist webzine The Toast‘s new spinoff, aptly-titled The Butter. My friends and fellows out there in the interwebs will recognize Gay as the author of a noteworthy essay collection called Bad Feminist. They might also remember The Toast for such gems as “Women Wearing Spectacular Hats in Art History,” “All the Comments on Every Recipe Blog” (“Due to dietary restrictions, I am only able to eat Yatzhee dice. I made the necessary substitutions, and it turned out great”), and “Thematically Appropriate Books to Read In October, In Order of How Easily Scared You Are.” Gay is sure to add spice to an already-zesty literary pastry.

From the International Business Times’ story on the announcement, via The Review Review:

In an interview with Capital New York, Gay said The Butter will focus on cultural criticism and personal essays that “make readers think and feel.”

In addition to being in total control of editorial content on the site, Gay will have an editorial budget to commission freelance work.

If all this is true, we can reasonably expect a product of some verisimilitude with Gay’s laundry list of prior achievements. In any event, this is auspicious news. Perhaps I will twit my congratulations to Mlle. Gay (@rgay). Indeed, I think I will do that very thing. My recent experience with computers has only confirmed a suspicion I’ve harbored for some time now: my efforts to snare the attention of the literary behemoths of New York may appear vain at first, but upon further reflection, their silence speaks volumes.

I can think of no better artiste to join the ranks of this new venture than yours truly. My CV includes the recent invention of a new branch of semiotic criticism called Chet-ism. How much different can femin-ism be? Further qualification: I “think and feel” all the time! Really, I am perfect for the job.

On Brooklyn Rail, Fest, and Feminism

A supernova of sensory succulence greeted visitors to this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival at Borough Hall on Sept. 21. An abundance of authorship. A whirlwind of writerly wisdom. A kinetic caravan of creativity! From the readers and panel discussions on stage, to the plethora of literary journals and publishers represented in booths, to the crowd itself, this year’s event was a smashing success.

As one articulate passerby exclaimed, #BKBF FOREVA

This writer was duly impressed by the likes of Electric Literature, Graywolf Press, the Vonnegut Library, Slice, A Public Space, and Brooklyn Rail, among others. After picking up the latest issue of Brooklyn Rail, I found myself confronted with the talent of the artistic multiverse of Brooklyn. Reviews of art in all its various forms – drama, visual art, music, and literature – were sagacious and expertly-expressed. NB – Booth staffers at this venerable publication did not bat an eye at my questions. Kudos to them for their serene demeanors and helpful words. It’s not every day that a 7 ft 9 in, shaggy Adonis makes a bee line for you and begins interrogating the vessel of your livelihood. Well done, sirs and ladies.

In this issue, I found myself reflecting upon Ashley P. Taylor’s review of Roxanne Gay’s (@RGay) new essay collection, Bad Feminist, a book IMG_0739[1]which is making the rounds as we speak and earning a great deal of well-deserved accolades. Formerly of The Rumpus, Mlle. Gay has put forth a conscience-engaging set of arguments. I intend to seek out the book at my next visit to Word Bookstore. I am intrigued by the idea of this so-called “bad feminist.” What a ticklish notion. I picture gangs of feminists loitering outside of 7-11; chasing each other playfully around befuddled geriatric pedestrians; slouching on urban street corners as they flip coins into the air and catch them smartly in the palms of their hands.

There must be an -ist or an -ism for the peculiar kind of challenges I have met in the course of shopping around my forthcoming memoir, Beautiful On The Outside (coming soon in scratch n’ sniff scents). What would one call a pervasive bias in the publishing industry against towering, brilliant bipeds with shattering good looks? Might they be “Chet-ist,” perhaps? Or perhaps I myself espouse the new radical ideology of “Chet-ism?”

Latin linguists, do get in touch. I entreat you for your informed suggestions. Twit me @City_Sasquatch or by email at