Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Last night as I rocketed through limitless space, and slept in my cold chair in the capsule, the black universe full of blue and orange stars passing outside the window, I had a dream that I was on the Canadian TV show about books, "Imprint." It originated in Toronto; I used to watch it years ago when I lived in Detroit. Imagine-- a television show devoted to books!

Except, in the dream, the show was a very advanced version of "Imprint," with another name, and a futurized set. Is this something that awaits me on the planet Zytron?

(Does "Imprint" still exist? What authors are on it?)


- Leopold said...

Hmmmm. I'm not sure. I could have a look into it.

There's a cable channel up here called Book TV (strikes me as kind of ironic...) I don't have a TV, but as far as I can tell it's books 24/7. Some guy who works there lives nearby cause I walk by his Book TV SUV in the middle of the night sometimes.

When I get my little ULA promos together for the book fair I think I'll do some late night ninja windsheild spamming.

- Leopold said...

ah, your post is very timely, but sad.

Imprint was cancelled just the other day, aparently, after 16 years.

The article is here: http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2005/03/24/Arts/tvo050324.html

But the recent Book TV is still around...though I can't vouch for its quality...

- Leopold said...

But, of course, I imagine the Zytron version is still going strong. God bless the Zytronians.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought it would be cool if someone... on the radio, in a magazine, whatever... did something where they interviewed authors in the middle or early parts of projects. It's easy to find interviews when an author is on their book tour or has finished something. They've had the advice from their house's PR department and - even if they haven't - the work is finished anyway, so it's all done and over.
I'd rather see interviews with the authors when they still aren't sure what's going to happen, when their ideas are really churning, when they feel consumed by the project. I mean, they do it for movies, why can't they do it for books?

Anonymous said...

Book TV is alright. But the interviews are very dated.

Interviews with P.J. O'Rourke on "Republican Party Reptile," and Arthur Miller from the 80's.

Anonymous said...

Leopold, I was just crusing around your blog when I saw this:

"The only way Random House has my current address is because they lifted it off my SASE for the rejection above. Not only is this illegal under changes to the Canadian privacy act as of February, 2004, but it's really, really tacky."

That's INSANE!

Anonymous said...

The Believer has a section where they talk to writers about what projects they're currently working on, in the middle of, starting, etc. It's pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Here's one--Scribbling, a documentary about Robert Newman's efforts to write his Soft Skull novel, The Fountain at the Center of the World. You might be able to write to the BBC to get the transcript or video itself. Some of his "travels were filmed by a BBC2 crew for a documentary, Scribbling, about the creative writing process." More info:

Robert Newman was born in 1964. He is Greek-Cypriot, English, French and American. He has worked as a farmhand, warehouseman, house-painter, teacher, mail sorter, social worker, mover and broadcaster. Newman has been politically active with Reclaim The Streets, the Liverpool dockers, Indymedia and People's Global Action. The Fountain At The Center Of The World is Newman's third novel, following Manners (Penguin) and Betty Trask award-winning first novel Dependence Day (Random House), but the first to be published internationally.
The writing of The Fountain At The Centre Of The World was the subject of a BBC film shown on national television in Britain, Australia and parts of Europe. Research for the novel took him onto Welsh trawlers, into refugee detention centers and tropical disease hospitals. He also learnt Spanish and travelled extensively through Mexico and Central America.

Anonymous said...


How dare you have expectations of our mainstream media? You're supposed to be satisified with daily reports of the status of feeding tubes and slowly dying people. Why, just this morning i heard on my radio that Pope JP II, the spiritual leader of my faith, not only had a feeding tube inserted, but was also too weak to appear at his Vatican window. Wowwwwww. It's unclear whether this feeding tube will be temporary or not, so i'll stay tuned to find out about that.

Instead of relying on NPR, BBC, and various and sundry glossy magazines, check out some artists who report straight from the horse's mouth about the projects they're working on and their challenges, successes, feelings, etc. It's interesting to read, when the artist actually has talent and isn't some vacant trend-rider.

Brady, check out the writing of Jack Saunders. I think you might like it.


-Pat Simonelli

Anonymous said...

First--I have to apologize to you [Christini]. In reference to the Green quote.

Second--I have to apologize for my pessimistic [raving & ranting] attitude today, but frankly--I don't give a shit.

I've been getting a lot of Canadian submissions to Antipatico this week, courtesy of placesforwriters.com

Some great [at least I think they're great] writers, and oodles of awful writers. What defines an awful writer?

1- Awful writing.

2- A bio. over 1500 words, rants and raves: "Some of my work has been published by various poetry contests. The ideas and messages in this project are a reflection of my academic background, which consists of bachelor degrees in sociology/cultural anthropology (1994), and philosophy (1996). I took education courses and started teaching ESL to adults for a language school in 1999. I have been self-employed for the last three years. I feel very privileged to have such valuable creative time for my work and my writing. I won an Editor's Choice Award last year."

3- This person has no work or bio to be found on the net, after making such claims.

4- I don't hesitate to send a formal rejection letter.

Soft Skull Press

It's really hard to believe that Soft SKull started as a twinkle in the eye of a Kinko's employee [Sander Hicks].

I'm a comedian and I wrote a book--sure we'll take your work Mr. Newman.
I'm the singer of Soul Coughing and I wrote a book of poetry--sure we'll publish it Mr. Doughty.
I'm Bill Hicks!--okay Mr. Hick's
I'm Lee Renaldo, you know, from Sonic Youth?--oooh another musician

Soft Skull : "in a nation that starves for real reality, Soft Skull Press has solidly grounded, daringly provocative food for the brain." Let me repeat that. Real Reality. Food for the Brain. How can I get "real reality," and "food for the brain" from writers who travel the world doing stand-up/musical gigs? I'm waiting for Soft Skull to give Flava Flav and the surviving member of Milli Vanilli a book deal. I mean , what the fuck?

Noah Cicero said...

I agree with Marissa concerning Soft Skull. Soft Skull is just feeding off the suburban hipster fad going on nowadays.
Soft Skull constantly sites what awards author's have won, what ivy league schools they have given speeches, and have tons of books with campy plots.
This is one book that I thought was especially dumb.
"Hey Kidz! Buy This Book
A Radical Primer on Corporate and Governmental Propaganda and Artistic Activism for Short People"

by Megan Kelso

This is what it is about:"A respectful, straightforward how-to guide for youth who have a problem with the way the world works, but don’t yet know how to articulate their demands or achieve their goals for world change."

If today's liberals are so good at changing the world why does Youngstown, Ohio in America need to give fifteen year tax abatements to factories for only 100 jobs. I have a hard time believing that anything in that book makes any sense.

- Leopold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
- Leopold said...


If you think that Random House thing is crazy, you should venture into my rejection letter section and look at the rejection letter from Event Magazine. In fact, here's the link: http://www.redfez.net/escape/rejection/eventreject.html

I always had a pissy attitude about the sincerity of the current lit establishment, but that rejection just clinched how cynical, corrupt and stiltifying the whole thing has become. Plus it's hilarious in a seriously fucked up way.

What are your thoughts on rejection letters? I notice you said 'formal rejection' - is that the same thing as a form rejection letter? or do you give comments?

I know people at other lit sites who refuse to give feedback rejection letters. I got a rejection from one of them (it was automated) that read: "Unfortunately, we will _not_ be publishing your poem. The poem has been removed from our system." I felt like i had been deleted!

My personal feeling is that lit sites/mags exist because authors, good or bad, take the time to write and submit (often for no money.) We read it, it doesn't take much more effort to tell them why we're rejecting the piece. If they're bad or we don't like it, they deserve to be told why we think so, whether they agree or not.

As an author I'd like to know. It feels like a total waste of time to get a form rejection letter. I don't think author's should change work they believe in for a publication outlet, but comments are always helpful. Even if they say 'your work is derivative bullshit' at least i know what they're thinking and that submitting to them ever again would be a bad idea. If the site isn't even providing feedback (even one sentence on what they thought) in their letter, they're just leeching. That's my personal take on the matter, though.

Anonymous said...


The Reading Service for writers flyer is ultra tacky. I've never received such an ugly rejection letter. Yours takes the cake! Although I did receive a hand-written rejection letter once, it was written by the wife of an editor who died. That was probably my most interesting rejection letter I've received.

I used to write "rejection" letters, that were personal to the writer. This never went well. Apparently most writers [unlike you and I] don't want to see this--or I just had a bad batch of writers who couldn't handle rejection.

Here's a classic example that I hung onto for a while. I told the guy that I thought the piece started out strong; but he lost me about halfway through (new characters appeared from nowhere etc...no character sketch, just "Joe bought a bottle of wine.") Woah, who's Joe???

Maybe it wasn't his best piece. I asked, "do you have any more pieces I could read?"

Holy shitballs. You'd think I asked him if he saw the video tape of his wife fucking the 49ers on ebay. He went nuts. In addition to being a psycho, I think he was pissed off that I wouldn't pay him if I accepted a piece for publication (even though my guidelines stated that Antipatico was non-paying).

And I quote "You can charge your attitude off to your youth. I live off my art and writings. I just bought some of my own letters that I just bought from XYZ [a name I never heard] in 1972...my letters cost me about $350...and now that XYZ is dead an offer for my letters and XYZ's replies has been made for $2000. Good luck with your "labor of love" that is very "trite" and VERY Catholic. UGH."

I still have no idea who XYZ is. Do I care? Should I? I don't. But I wish XYZ knew what kind of scum- bag he was associating with through snail-mail in 1972.

Since that e-mail I haven't wasted the energy to write a personal rejection letter, unless the person seems eager, and/or requests feedback.

Maybe it's shitty on my part to say "Thank you for taking the time to submit your poems. Unfortunately, I can't find a place for them in Antipatico, but wish you all the best in placing it elsewhere." I suppose I wouldn't want it for myself, but if they don't say "any feedback would be appreciated" -- I don't put my two cents in.

- Leopold said...


Huh. That's interesting. So far I've been lucky enough to avoid having to reject many people - but i've purposefully kept the number of submissions I receive small - by not agressively promoting the site and doing a large chunk of it by 'invitation only.'

If I could, I would do it all by invitation. That way all I need to do is go out there, listen and read a lot of stuff and, if I really like something, say 'hey! Can I publish this in Red Fez?' It takes the focus off of competition and they seem to take my criticism better, because i'm not passing judgement on it, necessarily. It's a much more contstructive way of doing things and helps put focus on the quality of the literature since 'where you've been published' doesn't come into it.

I like how on Pat's site he says up front they give feedback, so if you can't take it, don't submit. I'm considering doing that as well.

That XYZ guy sounds like a real nutzoid. I like how he got up about you not paying. Geeze, it's not as if you're taking enough of your time, extra energy and money already just to keep the site together for little personal benefit. You know what? I DON'T make my living by writing. I get paid shit (actually, nothing) and I DON'T get paid for running my site and reading loads of crap. Geeze.

Good luck with your site, though. I'm looking forward to seeing your update.

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with most of what Soft Skull produces, but I think it's worth pointing out that they have published at least one novel that I think is exciting and important, that corporate publishers would not touch because they disagreed with it on political grounds (The Fountain at the Center of the World), and some good non-fiction books--by Mickey Z., for one. And that's more than a lot of presses ever achieve.

Anonymous said...

What shit poetry
Inactivity is a strawberry-red-swirl
painted sheet-rocked wall, blemished
by memories of passing furniture.

Hyperactivity is a caffeinated-liquid-eye
liner wearing whore, tarnished
by dreams of inactivity.

Anonymous said...

More Upper Class bullshit
I'm an anti-social socialist with
your five hours
I'm an anti-social socialist
your five
I'm an anti-social
five hour booty call with agoraphobia

Anonymous said...

Good tip on the Daily Report. I have checked it out but I need to go more regularly. I am just starting to follow other writers' blogs. There are many though...
and the one thing that would be nice about a magazine would be that a good interviewer could ask some interesting questions.
Ah wall... with time I will learn more.
I am only an egg.
that said, I do have to say that SOFT SKULL had one other really good book. I loved, loved, loved SCORCH by a.d. nauman. I have tried relentlessly to find this one novel author and write her a fan letter. I have written two or three to various addresses that may or may not have actually reached her. I do not know. No replies.
Anyway, mostly I'd agree that Soft Skull has been a real bunch of hipster punk asses,
the "short people" thing doesn't look like it deserves much hate. By "short people" they mean kids. they are trying to politicize kids.
As a professional politico, I respect that effort...
and anything megan kelso is involved with I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to. megan kelso does beautiful, beautiful art work in the comix world. Talk about a beleaguered artistic minority... comics artists (of which I am VAGUELY one) can't really claim our medium ever had the respect it deserves.
Talk about a DIY'er, Megan Kelso earned every ounce of respect she got by blood sweat and tears.
She has a following now,
but she's still poor.
That's the life of a comics artist.

Noah Cicero said...

I've written a poem for the demi-puppets, here it is. The poem is called "Don't Eat my Shoes because they are the Only Pair I have."

Piddle diddle
diddle on my piddle
beside a tree
I piddle diddle
in bed I piddle diddle
while your sister
piddle diddles on my piddle
piddle in her diddle
while I diddle in her piddle
diddle the piddle she said
while I held my piddle
I diddle
and piddle
diddle poop
piddle pop

- Leopold said...

Heh. I submitted my novel to SoftSkull this February. Haven't heard back yet. Hopefully they have enough taste to run with it. (If they can overlook the fact that i put the wrong return address on my cover letter like a serious moron in need of beatings.)

Noah, I really like how your poem touches upon the way we are all connected in our past lives via our contemporary sartorial disconnects. Bravo, good sir!

Noah Cicero said...

thank you leopold. I located the essence of that poem while probing through the corridors of the Guggenheim eating chili dogs, a head-cheese sandwich, and drinking absinthe out of a thermos for the genesis of the male orgasm.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop laughing. Hey man/woman it's already to say my poetry sucks, but don't call it "upper class bullshit."

It's always an anonymous post. Maybe you're the asshole who got that rejection letter from me. Sigh. Probably not. You're probably just another loser who will leave this blog and go back to your yoga pose--once again attempting to suck your own dick. Break a neck buddy!

Anonymous said...

It's ALRIGHT to say, is what I meant to say...ugh

- Leopold said...

I think it's pretty telling that they had to take Marissa's poem out of context (half of the poem isn't there) and change the title to make their point. Basically, changing a not bad poem into something that doesn't make sense - essentially changing it into demi-puppet poetry - to make their point that we're 'hypocrites'.

I don't think they understand that they are just proving our point...

Here's the link to Marissa's original poem, if anyone is interested:

Anonymous said...

How deep, Acid tears, never heard that before, how original.

Waxed siren burns fast in mind
arresting thoughts of yesterday.

Clouds set in, crying acid tears.
In red vinyl pants, she cowers on the corner.

Wet, she emulates a fruit roll up
stuck to a lamp post.

Anonymous said...

This is the type of pablum demi-puppets publish in Fence

We stumble blindly
through hallucinations
of the dead
and hope for


they are not
nor watching us

Anonymous said...

Wow I feel like a fucking star, man. The demi-puppets are danglin' from my tits.

Perhaps SeƱor Anonymous would like to run my fan club. I'll do you one small favor Anonymous--just one: I'll sign "xoxo Marissa Ranello" on your girlfriend's sloppy set of saline filled fun bags.

Than you can live out your fantasies while juggling her utters and pretend you're touching meeh!

In the meantime you keep reading my work man!

Anonymous said...

I thought Pinsky was bad, but this crap has to be parody, Jewel represents the common woman more than this. Keep trying Demi Puppet
Every yesterday, we reflect
upon ourselves
and hang
from the literary
umbilical cord, waiting
to receive
that stinging
paper cut
from the elitist

Anonymous said...

All I read was my poem. Perhaps the blog is screwing up, anonymous. Did you say something? I can't decipher your moon language.

Marissa Ranello said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chilly charlie said...