extended chokes / trunks & palm-swell soft-recoilingThanks to Chris Holdaway and Lauren Strain for publishing an excerpt from One Hundred Acres in the sixth issue of Minarets, the literary magazine of Compound Press.

extended chokes / trunks
& palm-swell

soft-recoiling

Thanks to Chris Holdaway and Lauren Strain for publishing an excerpt from One Hundred Acres in the sixth issue of Minarets, the literary magazine of Compound Press.

you’re invited. cosmic wolves and poems. and prose.

you’re invited. cosmic wolves and poems. and prose.

this is me at the Similar Peaks Poetry and Press reading in Seattle. i’m reading from a manuscript called ONE HUNDRED ACRES, a reimagining of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories…

Damn, can’t believe I’ll be holding this in four days. Also, you should come to the release party. I’ll be reading poems from my manuscript, One Hundred Acres:
LIT AWP SEA 2014
LIT #25 Reading + LaunchIn glorious cooperative geekery
Thursday, February 27, 2014
6:30 pmOffice Nomads 1617 Boylston Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
BYOB

Damn, can’t believe I’ll be holding this in four days. Also, you should come to the release party. I’ll be reading poems from my manuscript, One Hundred Acres:

LIT AWP SEA 2014
LIT #25 Reading + Launch
In glorious cooperative geekery
Thursday, February 27, 2014
6:30 pm
Office Nomads
1617 Boylston Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
BYOB



This one time, I rewrote a popular Romanian fairy tale known as “The Golden Stag”. Then, a really wonderful new publication—ƒault, hue—accepted it for publication. This debut issue was edited by Jos Charles and I couldn’t be more pleased with it! Huge, huge thanks to Jos!!

Download the PDF or view it online:

Four poems from my manuscript, One Hundred Acres, are waiting for you in the eighth volume of Smoking Glue Gun!! The new issue also contains fantastic new work from Laurel Hunt, Dean Young, Ginger Ko, Caitlin Scarano, Melissa Burton, Aaron Apps, Eszter Takacs, Chanel Clarke, Jerrod Bohn, Christopher Lott, Rachel Milligan, and Fernando Flores.Much LOVE to the wonderful Blake Lee & Taylor Jacob Pate!!

Four poems from my manuscript, One Hundred Acres, are waiting for you in the eighth volume of Smoking Glue Gun!! The new issue also contains fantastic new work from Laurel Hunt, Dean Young, Ginger Ko, Caitlin Scarano, Melissa Burton, Aaron Apps, Eszter Takacs, Chanel Clarke, Jerrod Bohn, Christopher Lott, Rachel Milligan, and Fernando Flores.

Much LOVE to the wonderful Blake Lee & Taylor Jacob Pate!!

I have a fiction piece called “The Boy Named Awn" featured over at the Tarpaulin Sky Press website:"A bedroom is a diorama. A house is a diorama. A mass of land is a diorama. The ocean floor is a diorama with its own series of dioramas. Earth is a diorama attached to a line that signifies its orbit. Mercury is a diorama attached to a line that signifies its orbit. Venus attached to a line diorama. Mars attached to a line diorama. Jupiter attached to a line diorama. Saturn attached to a line diorama. Uranus attached to a line diorama. Neptune attached to a line diorama. And my teacher says that in 2006 some scientists known as the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto was no longer a planet. But there is still a Pluto diorama on my bedroom floor because I think it’s odd to suddenly negate Pluto—just like that."

I have a fiction piece called “The Boy Named Awn" featured over at the Tarpaulin Sky Press website:

"A bedroom is a diorama. A house is a diorama. A mass of land is a diorama. The ocean floor is a diorama with its own series of dioramas. Earth is a diorama attached to a line that signifies its orbit. Mercury is a diorama attached to a line that signifies its orbit. Venus attached to a line diorama. Mars attached to a line diorama. Jupiter attached to a line diorama. Saturn attached to a line diorama. Uranus attached to a line diorama. Neptune attached to a line diorama. And my teacher says that in 2006 some scientists known as the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto was no longer a planet. But there is still a Pluto diorama on my bedroom floor because I think it’s odd to suddenly negate Pluto—just like that."

This is me reading from the first chapter of Tim Allen’s Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man

#selfies

I share the details of my first WWE experience over at Thought Catalog

I share the details of my first WWE experience over at Thought Catalog

I talk about things I played with between the ages of 5 and 7 over at Thought Catalog.

I talk about things I played with between the ages of 5 and 7 over at Thought Catalog.

"Spaniel soaked his teeth with that meat. He continued to pick up and eat whatever dribbled off those teeth. It was Siren—that dribbled out of him. A warm, reddish water. A soup of big big scary and with a body not yet conceived."The Destroyer published something I wrote called “Dog, If You Let It.” Huge thanks to Drew and Maureen for featuring my writing in this exciting no-safety-zones publication. Give everyone a read and check out the cool digital broadsides, too.

"Spaniel soaked his teeth with that meat. He continued to pick up and eat whatever dribbled off those teeth. It was Siren—that dribbled out of him. A warm, reddish water. A soup of big big scary and with a body not yet conceived."

The Destroyer
published something I wrote called “Dog, If You Let It.” Huge thanks to Drew and Maureen for featuring my writing in this exciting no-safety-zones publication. Give everyone a read and check out the cool digital broadsides, too.

Boring poetry? Is that a thing? What constitutes boring poetry? What if there is no boring poetry but only a great number of boring human artists? Yes, I think boring human is boring poetry’s antecedent. Yes. Ariana Reines wrote “Oh person / What a bore” and I think that really says it all. I do. Art is dependent on human and not the other way around. Though, the other way around is possible—I just like to refer to the other way around as “voluntary submission” or “giving up.” Boredom, I believe, stems from a possible sense of defeat or intimidation. One should be sure to note that the word “defeat” itself is certainly militant and a ‘militant art’ can be troubling for many artists. However, for the artist opting for a rebellion against a dominant art form (any art form widely accepted/defended as divine or essential) that is later realized as a constraint, a word like “defeat” may seem appealing. An artist who feels defeated may feel more compelled to plagiarize or emulate a ‘successful’ or ‘talented’ or ‘challenging’ writer in an often-exaggerated way. Rather than the influenced citing their influence, the influenced becomes a parasite-art—a hyper-mimicry. Carl Jung once wrote of art, “One might almost describe it as a living being that uses man only as a nutrient medium, employing his capacities according to its own laws and shaping itself to the fulfillment of its own creative purpose.” I like the idea of ‘creative product’ being acknowledged as something beyond a bookstore transaction. I like believing that personal creativity is not stagnant—that it’s something that can distend my reach as an artist. I like that I feel like I can simultaneously fear and embody whatever I create. Blake Butler once told me that he didn’t understand the usefulness of a statement like, “I am selling my novel.” He told me that a novel is pieces of a person. People believe that they need to “write novels” and that they need to “buy novels.” For me, Blake peels away physicality and leaves me with something less understood and less tangible. In leaving readers with less, Blake actually leaves readers with more. (Take a couple minutes and just revisit Butler’s promotion for Scorch Atlas for just a quick example of what I’m talking about). If I simply accept Jung’s idea that I am a “nutrient medium” to be absorbed by art, I still in many ways feel as though I am—maybe not submitting to—but confirming that my own opinions and viewpoints regarding art are the ‘best’ opinions and viewpoints available to myself and others. I think that believing that my opinions and viewpoints regarding art are the ‘best’ opinions and viewpoints is incredibly dangerous. This is why I like to think of myself as an artist existing in a constant state of revision. I think it is most important to be careful. I’m not saying Jung is ‘right’ about art, but I am attracted to Jung’s carefulness. For me, progression as an artist means perpetual self-revision and carefulness. Not writing the new Critique of Judgment or self-labeling. (I mean, devour the latest subcultural honey if you want to, but don’t drown yourself in it.) It’s just very difficult to apply something like ideas of certainty to perpetual self-revision, I think. 
 
Certainty is doom.
 
Again, I believe boredom stems from a sense of defeat or intimidation, but I also believe it can begin with something that I’ve recently termed “freight-aesthetics.” Earlier this year in a Thought Catalog post I composed a list of questions addressed to young writers and one of the questions included: Are we living our “lief” or adhering to freight-aesthetics? The Steve Roggenbuck reference is obvious, but a lot of people wanted to know what I meant by freight-aesthetics. When I finally replied, I wrote: “All I meant by ‘freight-aesthetics’ is when a particular artistic standard is passed around from person to person—toting standards via the popularity and mobility of opinions. Treating an aesthetic standard like goods to sell.” First, I think it’s odd that I initially wrote “artistic standard” and then concluded with “aesthetic standard.” The interchangeability of those two words is worth mentioning because our modern-day use of the term “aesthetic” is very much a constraint we often take for granted. My “freight-aesthetics” neologism is quite obviously attempting to insult or, rather, assault “aesthetic”—a word derived from the Greek word “aistehesis” which means “of the senses.” Merriam-Webster definitions for “freight” read “the compensation paid for the transportation of goods” as well as “goods to be shipped.” When an artist says, “I really like your aesthetic,” they are essentially telling me that they appreciated the sensory experience evoked by my creative product. They are basically saying, “I enjoyed your art.” Writers and educators also tend to think of aesthetics as specific artistic standards or traditions—decrees to be upheld or passed down. Every educator teaches an aesthetic standard or a small variety of aesthetic standards that are absorbed by creative writing students and usually perceived as ‘right’ or ‘best.’ If ‘ideal’ aesthetic standards exist then ‘ideal’ creative writing programs exist. This is highly detrimental thinking. These ideals are what make poetry “boring.” Freight-aesthetics are responsible for boring poetry. Business transactions are boring. Teaching your students to be just like you is boring. I’ve been following the work of Johannes Göransson for a number of years and it was this comment of his that I read online one day and wrote down and tucked away for my future:  “I would be crazy to only teach my aesthetic in the limited sense because it would be bad for the class. In fact I pride myself on trying to give a lot of different looks of poetry to my students, especially my undergrads. I would have had a heart attack by now if I were to try to force all my students to write like I do. Or at least no students would take my class, something that has never been a problem for me.” Exposing a student to many forms seems way better than a mandate.
 
In “Poetries of Resistance,” Drew Krewer writes, “We’ve all heard the cry about MFA programs producing the ‘McPoem,’ but Perloff’s description doesn’t just point fingers, it locates the source of the problem––that uniformity in poetry is produced by a system filled with people who long to become one of the initiated, in hopes of securing these ‘good jobs,’ or at least to be praised by people in such positions. In short, the ‘well-crafted’ poem has achieved a certain exchange rate in the creative economy. Contemporary American poetry has, in a sense, become infected by the drive of capitalism. Higher education, after all, is a business.” Business becomes far more lucrative when young writers believe they will be learning the best from the best—when they believe that there is a best. 
 
A beast. A beast that writes nothing every day.
 
It seems outrageous to even want to believe in a best. Especially in a country so unfriendly to translations. I wrote a poem that repeats a line: 
 
SO MANY PEOPLE WILL NEVER READ THIS WORLD OF PEOPLE.
 
And I believe that. And that is sad.
 
Aase Berg is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.
 
Writers often see themselves as books that will be sold—they reduce themselves to the “exchange rate” that Krewer entertains. Freight-aesthetics cultivates writers who function as laborers for dollars—selling creative product becomes the sad and sole ambition of the American writer.
 
I believe no writer should be driven merely by an exchange rate.
 
The MFA program does not have to be seen as a useless concept, but I understand why that belief is common. It itself is certainly a business (like any level of education), but depending on one’s research and interests, a MFA program could be a beneficial and challenging venture. This is why the faculty aspect of a MFA program is a good way to avoid succumbing to freight-aesthetics. A creative writing program has been reduced to a number—to something that has been ‘ranked,’ but a faculty is a diversity not to be distorted as something uniform. What it really comes down to is: are you applying to a program because you’ve heard it will make you ‘successful’ or are you applying to a program because it offers faculty members that share your concerns and interests? 
 
Boring poetry is a product of freight-aesthetics and freight-aesthetics are a product of a system of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.”
 
Boring writer will paste its “Pushcart Prize nominee in (insert year)” into email after email until someone finally responds, OH, I AM INTIMIDATED BY YOU, PUSHCART NOMINEE. I MUST HAVE YOU. I MUST. I WILL PUBLISH YOU, PUSHCART NOMINEE. I WILL PUBLISH YOUR POEM ABOUT CATS AND ARTHRITIS.
 
And I will be swimming elsewhere.

Boring poetry? Is that a thing? What constitutes boring poetry? What if there is no boring poetry but only a great number of boring human artists? Yes, I think boring human is boring poetry’s antecedent. Yes. Ariana Reines wrote “Oh person / What a bore” and I think that really says it all. I do. Art is dependent on human and not the other way around. Though, the other way around is possible—I just like to refer to the other way around as “voluntary submission” or “giving up.” Boredom, I believe, stems from a possible sense of defeat or intimidation. One should be sure to note that the word “defeat” itself is certainly militant and a ‘militant art’ can be troubling for many artists. However, for the artist opting for a rebellion against a dominant art form (any art form widely accepted/defended as divine or essential) that is later realized as a constraint, a word like “defeat” may seem appealing. An artist who feels defeated may feel more compelled to plagiarize or emulate a ‘successful’ or ‘talented’ or ‘challenging’ writer in an often-exaggerated way. Rather than the influenced citing their influence, the influenced becomes a parasite-art—a hyper-mimicry. Carl Jung once wrote of art, “One might almost describe it as a living being that uses man only as a nutrient medium, employing his capacities according to its own laws and shaping itself to the fulfillment of its own creative purpose.” I like the idea of ‘creative product’ being acknowledged as something beyond a bookstore transaction. I like believing that personal creativity is not stagnant—that it’s something that can distend my reach as an artist. I like that I feel like I can simultaneously fear and embody whatever I create. Blake Butler once told me that he didn’t understand the usefulness of a statement like, “I am selling my novel.” He told me that a novel is pieces of a person. People believe that they need to “write novels” and that they need to “buy novels.” For me, Blake peels away physicality and leaves me with something less understood and less tangible. In leaving readers with less, Blake actually leaves readers with more. (Take a couple minutes and just revisit Butler’s promotion for Scorch Atlas for just a quick example of what I’m talking about). If I simply accept Jung’s idea that I am a “nutrient medium” to be absorbed by art, I still in many ways feel as though I am—maybe not submitting to—but confirming that my own opinions and viewpoints regarding art are the ‘best’ opinions and viewpoints available to myself and others. I think that believing that my opinions and viewpoints regarding art are the ‘best’ opinions and viewpoints is incredibly dangerous. This is why I like to think of myself as an artist existing in a constant state of revision. I think it is most important to be careful. I’m not saying Jung is ‘right’ about art, but I am attracted to Jung’s carefulness. For me, progression as an artist means perpetual self-revision and carefulness. Not writing the new Critique of Judgment or self-labeling. (I mean, devour the latest subcultural honey if you want to, but don’t drown yourself in it.) It’s just very difficult to apply something like ideas of certainty to perpetual self-revision, I think.

 

Certainty is doom.

 

Again, I believe boredom stems from a sense of defeat or intimidation, but I also believe it can begin with something that I’ve recently termed “freight-aesthetics.” Earlier this year in a Thought Catalog post I composed a list of questions addressed to young writers and one of the questions included: Are we living our “lief” or adhering to freight-aesthetics? The Steve Roggenbuck reference is obvious, but a lot of people wanted to know what I meant by freight-aesthetics. When I finally replied, I wrote: “All I meant by ‘freight-aesthetics’ is when a particular artistic standard is passed around from person to person—toting standards via the popularity and mobility of opinions. Treating an aesthetic standard like goods to sell.” First, I think it’s odd that I initially wrote “artistic standard” and then concluded with “aesthetic standard.” The interchangeability of those two words is worth mentioning because our modern-day use of the term “aesthetic” is very much a constraint we often take for granted. My “freight-aesthetics” neologism is quite obviously attempting to insult or, rather, assault “aesthetic”—a word derived from the Greek word “aistehesis” which means “of the senses.” Merriam-Webster definitions for “freight” read “the compensation paid for the transportation of goods” as well as “goods to be shipped.” When an artist says, “I really like your aesthetic,” they are essentially telling me that they appreciated the sensory experience evoked by my creative product. They are basically saying, “I enjoyed your art.” Writers and educators also tend to think of aesthetics as specific artistic standards or traditions—decrees to be upheld or passed down. Every educator teaches an aesthetic standard or a small variety of aesthetic standards that are absorbed by creative writing students and usually perceived as ‘right’ or ‘best.’ If ‘ideal’ aesthetic standards exist then ‘ideal’ creative writing programs exist. This is highly detrimental thinking. These ideals are what make poetry “boring.” Freight-aesthetics are responsible for boring poetry. Business transactions are boring. Teaching your students to be just like you is boring. I’ve been following the work of Johannes Göransson for a number of years and it was this comment of his that I read online one day and wrote down and tucked away for my future:  I would be crazy to only teach my aesthetic in the limited sense because it would be bad for the class. In fact I pride myself on trying to give a lot of different looks of poetry to my students, especially my undergrads. I would have had a heart attack by now if I were to try to force all my students to write like I do. Or at least no students would take my class, something that has never been a problem for me.”

Exposing a student to many forms seems way better than a mandate.

 

In “Poetries of Resistance,” Drew Krewer writes, “We’ve all heard the cry about MFA programs producing the ‘McPoem,’ but Perloff’s description doesn’t just point fingers, it locates the source of the problem––that uniformity in poetry is produced by a system filled with people who long to become one of the initiated, in hopes of securing these ‘good jobs,’ or at least to be praised by people in such positions. In short, the ‘well-crafted’ poem has achieved a certain exchange rate in the creative economy. Contemporary American poetry has, in a sense, become infected by the drive of capitalism. Higher education, after all, is a business.” Business becomes far more lucrative when young writers believe they will be learning the best from the best—when they believe that there is a best.

 

A beast. A beast that writes nothing every day.

 

It seems outrageous to even want to believe in a best. Especially in a country so unfriendly to translations. I wrote a poem that repeats a line:

 

SO MANY PEOPLE WILL NEVER READ THIS WORLD OF PEOPLE.

 

And I believe that. And that is sad.

 

Aase Berg is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.

 

Writers often see themselves as books that will be sold—they reduce themselves to the “exchange rate” that Krewer entertains. Freight-aesthetics cultivates writers who function as laborers for dollars—selling creative product becomes the sad and sole ambition of the American writer.

 

I believe no writer should be driven merely by an exchange rate.

 

The MFA program does not have to be seen as a useless concept, but I understand why that belief is common. It itself is certainly a business (like any level of education), but depending on one’s research and interests, a MFA program could be a beneficial and challenging venture. This is why the faculty aspect of a MFA program is a good way to avoid succumbing to freight-aesthetics. A creative writing program has been reduced to a number—to something that has been ‘ranked,’ but a faculty is a diversity not to be distorted as something uniform. What it really comes down to is: are you applying to a program because you’ve heard it will make you ‘successful’ or are you applying to a program because it offers faculty members that share your concerns and interests?

 

Boring poetry is a product of freight-aesthetics and freight-aesthetics are a product of a system of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.”

 

Boring writer will paste its “Pushcart Prize nominee in (insert year)” into email after email until someone finally responds, OH, I AM INTIMIDATED BY YOU, PUSHCART NOMINEE. I MUST HAVE YOU. I MUST. I WILL PUBLISH YOU, PUSHCART NOMINEE. I WILL PUBLISH YOUR POEM ABOUT CATS AND ARTHRITIS.

 

And I will be swimming elsewhere.

MY FRIEND KARTER AND I WENT INTO THE WOODS A COUPLE DAYS AGO.

WE WENT LOOKING FOR “ART.”

TONIGHT WE STOOD IN FRONT OF A PAINTING OF A DEAD PERSON AND READ IN FRONT OF A LIVING AUDIENCE.

(SHIT WAS REAL)

THANK YOU SO MUCH LIVING AUDIENCE!!!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH PITTSBURGH!!!!