Review: Elders by Ryan McIlvain

Posted by – July 11, 2013

elders

McIlvain is very skilled at showing rather than telling, allowing the depth of his characters and their relationships with each other and their environments to sneak up on you. Early on, he demonstrates the way the Elders are growing closer with a simple yet perfect image of synchronized spontaneity: “Passos yelped, and McLeod too, like coon hunters, and instead of opening their umbrellas they took off running, downing the street at a sprint, laughing the whole way.”

I review Elders by Ryan McIlvain (Hogarth 2013) over at The Rumpus. 

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“The Live One”

Posted by – July 1, 2013

I have a piece of flash fiction up at Flashes in the Dark. Check it out. 

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Review: Mile Zero: Poems by Ryan W. Bradley

Posted by – June 30, 2013

mile zeroBradley’s poetry collection Mile Zero (Artistically Declined Press 2013)* is full of wonderful poems. The tendency toward the first-person makes it seem rather autobiographical; since this is poetry however, I do expect a blending of fact and fiction. There are lots of poems about love for his wife and his children. One of my favorites of these is “The Poetess in Me.” The imagery in this one in simple and beautiful:

The poetess in me speaks

in words I don’t understand,

like my wife’s body—such a mystery,

the way it works, lying naked in bed,

moving my fingers across her skin

like the best of anatomy lessons.**

In a less stylistic note, I also appreciate the gender-blending created by focusing specifically on the poetess in him.

However, I enjoyed the collection most when Bradley pushed himself a bit past the more straight-forward, autobiographical pieces. I loved “Aquarium,” which is still self-reflective, but is so by focusing on the world, and the unknowable qualities of the world, at large:

There are things happening,

behind closed doors maybe,

girls jumping

in the cramped space

of public restrooms

I also loved “Strippers Don’t Dance to the Beatles”:

Strippers don’t dance to the Beatles,

they save their jar-faces and swollen hearts

for the mirrors tucked in their purses.

“Strippers” especially demonstrates Bradley’s talent as it creates a dense and smoky atmosphere with the longer lines, the “d”s and the “s”s, the bruised and dark feeling of jar-faces and swollen hearts. These beautifully chosen phrases cloak the following line, “for the mirrors tucked in their purses”—a line with the potential to be just as superficial as it is desperate—with the feeling of dark, strip club hallways and objectifying glances.

“Dinner with the Family,” a portrait of a family at dinner, “feral beasts” and “artists” eating in a simultaneously destructive and creative frenzy, is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.

“Atlas, Missing Earth” and its page-mate “Peter Sears” are also both remarkable poems, as are the final two poems, “For the Love of Wings” and “Houdini Holds His Breath in the East River.” Like the much-loved “Strippers,” these four all find that magical balance of the personal and the transcendent, creating worlds in which words function both as practicalities and as art.

On a last note (and I believe Bradley already knows this), but I love the cover design.

 

*full disclosure: I’m online friends with the author, Ryan W. Bradley—in fact, Mile Zero was a gift from him to help me through a hard time. 

**In case it’s not obvious, all of the excerpts are only select sections from each poem, not the poem in its entirety.

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Doctor Sleep book trailer

Posted by – June 24, 2013

YOU GUYS, I CAN’T WAIT. Especially now that I know The Shining way too well after writing a thesis chapter on it.

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steve roggenbuck & selfies

Posted by – June 24, 2013

I pre-ordered a copy of Steve Roggenbuck’s new book if u dont love the moon your an ass hole: poems and selfies and as thanks, he emailed me a personal selfie to cherish forever. And now I share that selfie with you. It made me lol. But actually.

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In other news, I’m working at the same store I worked at during high school. #postcollegelife

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The LEGO® House

Posted by – June 7, 2013

S51aebdb6b3fc4bf3fc0000db_the-big-lego-house-reveal_1-1000x500o LEGO® is building some super sweet “experience center” in Denmark that will resemble a bunch of LEGO® blocks stacked together in a neat, appealing, and accessible way. The Father (a.k.a The Architect Father) forwarded my family a video of the design, mainly because he thought we’d like the style of the video, but I also was interested in the unique features of the architecture itself.

The design looks very interactive and very fun, which is appropriate considering its future usage. There are lots of rooftop terraces, including what looks like a maze. The keystone, the block in the middle/top, is the one piece that truly resembles a LEGO®, complete with the little circles on top. The video also shows the final design being essentially all in white, which makes the bright furniture and occasional wall decorations, also shown in the video, really pop.

I can’t figure out how to embed videos from Vimeo, so here’s a link to the ArchDaily article on the design reveal.

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