Tag Archives: book

Noel Scott Engel 1943-1976

HOLY SHIT SCOTT WALKER DIED!

Hard to put into a flat dead blog how much of a presence he’s had in my life the last 15 years. How about a video.

As for his death: Was it me??? My new book, which prints within a few weeks, has his song in the epigraph. It just went to the printer today and I find out Scott died. Shit!!  Too much Pynchon in my life right now. Time to drink. Vaya con los ancianos, Scott!!!

BYEBYE AND SHLORT – NEW NOVEL MAY 2019 BY EUGENIO NEGRO

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Son of Amity by Peter Nathaniel Malae

DEAR MALAE: I swear I offered this to a bunch of publications in the straight community but no one wanted it, at least not from me, so here it is on an insignificant blog. I tried! Feel free to use. –N

Peter Nathaniel Malae’s new book Son of Amity begins with themes familiar to his readers: violence, incarceration, cultures tangled and erased by poverty, hatred for the consumer and the less-dedicated, and perhaps the Californian writer’s greatest contribution to twenty-first century literature: an identifiable search for the use of masculinity in our time.

As before, the economy of description is refreshingly socio-economic. Malae’s mission to portray common people brings us undernourished, overfed, jelly-spined poor whites, but also dignified and convincing portraits of men forgotten in prison and in Bush’s Middle-East conflict, and women rejected, imprisoned, by the ignorance in their environments.

But this is no rerun of What We Are: like Jimmy Baca before him, the author’s own evolution since he disappeared into the “Pacific Northwest” makes the reader an attractive offer to evolve according to his characters’ examples. There are three males in this dialect-rendered story. Which is the titular Son of Amity?

Here Malae repurposes his previous characterizations to disarming effect. For a start the writer’s voice, mercifully, is separating from the narrator’s. Malae always demonstrates an ear for specific slang, something that really impresses academics, but in Son of Amity, especially the memories of prison, we finally get to observe what this slang, in its various pressure and quantity, really means between characters.

Central to the three adults’ seemingly-doomed cohabitation is a highly-realistic evolution of characters’ wills and desires, something unfit in What We Are’s immediacy. Starting with revenge for a rape, the characters’ common ground shifts under them as the victim of the violence takes the will to both choose forgiveness and transform the violence into a child: Malietoa to his Samoan uncle, Tophat to his veteran father, the latter crippled by the former.

The use for masculinity is found in a shared faith in family centered around the child Benji, and not in an act or a gesture. The outcast’s longing for a family to serve –and worth serving –in previous work has arrived. As What We Are’s exasperation before an expanded mind rouses similar feelings to Immigrants in Our Own Land, so this meditation on refocused life approaches the glorious beauty of Black Mesa Poems.

Throughout the book, Malae turns his previous work’s conceits against themselves using time and natural renewal: here we hopelessly serve our past even as the future offers us a ride without reservations, in this case the innocent child at the lead. The book’s greatest charm lies in watching the three adults reluctantly choose the boy’s inspiration over their baggage. Who, then, is the Son of Amity? I would argue that it’s the boy, and I propose that the narcissistic masses of this country read this book and follow their own Malietoa, their own Tophat.

Malae never neglects the portraiture of people trying to both live up to the past and make some way of living in the present. Perhaps the clearest symbols of this are Pika’s Samoan umu Thanksgiving turkey at the book’s finale and Michael’s worship of the Vietnam vets. But the conceit and the dignity lies in Sissy’s internal monologue throughout, in which the urban, feminist, progressive reader must coexist with the fact that Sissy’s post-rape decisions come from a need to move forward without any plan.

Highly recommended for those needing an immediate dose of reality.

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Lit Crawling with Bentboybooks

At the lovely, dearest Green Arcade in the “hub” of San Francisco we encountered this store-exclusive Lit Crawling from Bentboybooks, a tiny publisher of whom we are, as usual, the shit-last to learn.

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Funny enough this October 2017 zine, besides being exclusive to Green Arcade, is not listed on Bentboybooks’ website. Turns out to be a survey of their recent zines.

The collection of mostly poetry begins with an anthology, complete with CV beginning in 1972, of Jan Johnson Drantell, whose work evidently has been rediscovered and put into the zine. Her poems could be called provocative: her voice earnestly and compassionately pushes against the ideas and word-bunches of her time, beginning in the Vietnam era. I really can’t pick a favorite poem, they are all so precise and on-point.

Then comes Pam Martin, who is quite joycean, and I’m a sucker for anything joycean that pulls it off, so I’m in. She’s apparently a big deal in the local art-organizing scene, and I mean the upper echelons, the museums and so forth.

Drew Cushing closes the collection out, and he seems to be the ringleader of Bentboybooks. His selections have a lot of political allusions that will have to remain over my head until sometime after I finish this zine review.

I’m finally excited to say that the book turned me on (ha ha) to the devotedly naked Ronald Palmer, whose books I will be investigating soon. Apparently he’s complex, capable and raunchy, so I’m looking forward to it. His story Manikin is very San Francisco-completist, lots of locations named, five-Os bleaching sidewalks. He’s always naked in his promotional photos, so it’s got to be good.

Check out Bentboybooks every time you spot one!

Trump: Meat Ladder to Mars Novel to Become Nonfiction Right On Time

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It appears that the 2016 Eugenio Negro novel “Meat Ladder to Mars” will indeed become nonfiction, at least most of it, thanks to President Trump, who “plans” to “direct” NASA to send North American astronauts to the moon and to Mars, presumably as soon as possible. And who will work these launch jobs? We’d better read the book.

“Meat Ladder to Mars” is on sale at Bell’s in Palo Alto, Spectator in Oakland, Borderlands and Dog-Eared Books in San Francisco.

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany

Dhalgren is the fucking bomb. A friend told me to read it like 15 years ago, and I should have then, as part of the Ballard-Burroughs-Other-Next-Level-Stuff trip I was on about then, but I’m just reading it now.

Every sentence is like a poem. William Gibson says he doesn’t understand it, but that’s beside the point. It’s about memory loss, dyslexia, time, all the important stuff. The story is just the medium. Certainly not a “difficult book” like these blogger dorks say. Nor is it particularly long: he just breaks paragraph a lot. And it’s punker, bummer, scumbagger, than anything. Read it now!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhalgren

If you’re one of the 150 million American males who refuses to read, here it is put into tweets: http://www.conceptualfiction.com/dhalgren.html

New Novel Available! Meat Ladder to Mars

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It’s finally here, gente! My gentri-fi novel Meat Ladder to Mars about a young professional who leans out, as it were, has been so graciously published by those crazy cats Éxitos Gnosis. It’s available for download at Amazon Kindle and they will print the book in May sometime. Go get yerself an ebook, they’re cheap! If you love it or hate it, consider leaving a review on Amazon as well. Enjoy!

Here’s the blurb:
Zosime, once an important crewmember at the doomed sky ladder, is now under one of the world’s largest landfills, loading an antiquated space shuttle with unprotected livestock. Suddenly the world-wandering heroine is given the choice to follow her heart and heal her family or follow orders.
Using the gentri-fi genre, Eugenio Negro presents the moment before colonization of the planet Mars. Negro’s controversial story examines the economic and cultural forces at work in the Mars mission, and asks: is space exploitation the dream of all humankind?

Here’s a QR code:
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