McEqualizer

Sometimes I feel jealous of Arda Collins.

Then I watch Micky-Mick struttin’ and remember: Arda can’t do this.

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Mother F-er

Below is a select list of nouns that appear both in Mother and in L.J. Moore’s Play-Doh retro, Sgt. Pepper-clever, monster mash of poems: F-STEIN.

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Oscar Wilde Would Have Twittered

The riveting conclusion to our 2.5-part series.

In our first installment twittering poets wrote about the impact of social networking on their craft. One commenter wrote of the post: “It makes me feel like throwing up…I don’t even know what Twitter is, and I don’t want to know. Sounds like stupid shit. I came here to read about Richard Hugo.”

Self-loathing was imminent. And yet we soldiered on…

In installment 1.5 Brandon ‘Scott’ Gorrell expounded on the techniques of various twittering writers he admires and read the tea leaves of my Twitter style as well (‘confused,’ ‘tired’). He also addressed the proliferation of  ‘scare quotes’ and took what may be his first public step in becoming a more streamlined  ‘Brandon [no Scott] Gorrell.’

Now, for the eye-popping finale, we go the way of so many poets and move on to prose. Below, some of the liveliest twittering prose writers of our generation send this baby home!

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Lydia Davis Doesn’t Twitter

Last summer, I curated a reading at Polestar for Brandon Scott Gorrell and other members of the Muumuu House extended family. Brandon is the author of the poetry collection During My Nervous Breakdown I Want to Have a Biographer Present. On Twitter he is @LydiaDavis. I like these.

The reading was July 4th weekend. Two people came. The Muumuus grew silent. They were young, vegan-thin, styled by Vice. I was turning 30, eating animal byproducts on the sneak, looking extra-Jewy. Sorry, I said.

Months later, I wondered what Brandon thought of me. Did he ever think of me at all? Was I at fault for the poor showing on The Lower East Side, or could we all shoulder the blame? One question in particular kept me chewing the Nicorette late into the night: Could I get to the bottom of those ‘scare quotes’?

I had an opportunity to email with Brandon for my last post: Richard Hugo Didn’t Twitter, in which I asked a number of poets how Twitter has affected their craft. Brandon’s response stood out from the fray. I saw my moment. Went Bill Moyers on him:

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Richard Hugo Didn’t Twitter

Triggering Town or Trending Topic?

Tao Lin, who is more prolific than Lil Wayne, recently had this to say on Twitter:

someone fb msg’d me re ‘writing tips’ re ‘being focused,’ seems like all i was able to suggest was to ‘not have friends’

I find Lin’s suggestion curious. The energy I spend pre-meditating my tweets (yes) distracts me more from the process of writing poems than does any genuine interaction with other members of the species. On Twitter, I dumb down a notch and ham it up two. I don’t calculate syllabics; I calculate followers. I’m no longer writing for my ideal audience (Jewish girls with a junkie fetish) (me). I’m writing for everyone. I feel like Joan Rivers on HGH.

Below, I’ve conducted a little survey of other poets on Twitter to see what they have to say about if/how Twitter has affected their craft:

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How to Start a Reading Series

My book launch party* is 4 pm this Sunday, February 7th at Polestar–a poetry series I curate at the lovely CakeShop. (Yeah, it’s a little weird that I’m reading at my own series. Whatev.)

In honor of Polestar (now in its 18th installment–rock!) I’ve put together a few tips for those of you looking to run a reading series of your own. Here we go.

1. Be sure to choose a venue with an ice machine that sounds like a DeWalt hammer drill. Ice machine should have no off-switch. For optimum effect, ice machine will go into high gear when your most prominent, and/or well-connected poet is reading.

2. Your venue should have a microphone that flickers on and off throughout the reading at random. For added flair, you may want to work with a microphone that gives out entirely.

2b. Never completely figure out the microphone or speaker system.

3. Give your reading series a name that could also connote a strip club.

4. When requesting a poet to give a reading, always copy and paste the email you sent to the prior poet verbatim. This way, you can address Henri Cole as “Dear Ms. Marvin” and Marie Howe as “Please forward to Arda Collins.”

4b. If you happen to address a certain beloved and lauded octogenarian poet by the wrong name in your query email, you’re encouraged to add: P.S. Would you consider blurbing my book?

4c. When you don’t hear back from the beloved and lauded octogenarian poet (we’ll call her The BLOP), ask the most hypersensitive poets in the community if she is still “with us.”

4d. Rest assured that you will soon see The BLOP’s newest collection at St. Marks Books. Consider Tupac Shakur and his many post-humous releases. Then consider that The BLOP is alive and well. She’s just avoiding you because she thinks you are lame.

5. Yes, absolutely include a bloody glove in your initial website design.

6. In preparing the poets’ bios, there’s no need to learn how to correctly pronounce Pleiades or “Nurkse.”

7. Make sure to host the hippest poets on July 4th weekend. This way, when no one shows up, you get to experience their judgemental silence in its pure, undiluted form.

8. Spend time making friends with your shame.

9. Come to terms with the fact that everyone dreads a poetry reading.

9b. Come to terms with the fact that you especially dread a poetry reading.

10. Keep the thing damn thing afloat anyway. After all, that hot dish from your MFA program shows up every time.

10b. If you are following instructions correctly, the dish should move to Berlin very soon.

* Again, can we call it a party if people have to buy their own drinks? Questionable.

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Things I Love (That Jayne Cortez Would Hate)

I recently had the privilege of seeing the great Jayne Cortez perform at City College. I’m no expert when it comes to performance poetry, but Jayne is the O.G.

During the portion of the evening where students get to ask her our asinine questions*, someone asked who her influences are. She responded: “I’m not influenced by ANYONE.” ‘Nuff said.

I’m totally obsessed with this poet. Yet I gleefully engage on a daily basis in behavior that she would likely deem toxic, anti-feminist, corporate, and/or plain old poopoo.

I know I’m not alone in letting down the artists I admire. Take legions of Morrissey fans in the 80s and Where’s the Beef?

In honor of diversity, and because it’s feckin’ fun, I’ve comprised a list below of things I love that Jayne Cortez would probably hate:

1. Chuck Bass

2. Chuck Bass & Blair Waldorf : the special moment

3. Chuck Bass man-on-man action

4. OPI Axxium color gel manicure (stays on forev)

5. Norbit 

6. Nike iD (love me my Pegasus+ 25 iD sneaks in all-black with silver swoosh)

7. Who? What? Wear?

8. Marie Robinson at Sally Hershberger

9. Nicorette (2 mg please)

10. Bergdorf’s 5F

11. “Chrome Plated Woman” 

12. Spanking The Monkey (rivals Harold and Maude, and I don’t say that lightly)

14. Perfekt

15. “Wouldn’t Get Far” (floatin’ away on the hood of a Camry)

16. Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo

 

*This is reminiscent of when I saw Fiona Apple at The New Yorker festival and Sasha Frere-Jones asked her all of these random questions, like: what do you eat for breakfast? (not that I don’t want to know) (and fyi: she doesn’t eat eggs) when there’s really only one question for Fiona Apple: Is it worth it to be so crazy to be so talented?

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The Tweeter Center

I don’t know.

I feel like I’m supposed to be tweeting the Twit now that the book is 15 days from publication. But I just don’t see myself going peacefully into the dull night of the “Really, Massachusetts? Really?” or “OMFG hahahahaha LMAO BRB LOL!!!!!!!” or “Seriously, dry cleaners? Seriously?” crowd anytime soon.

So for now, I’m running a semi-structured alphabetic poetics experiment from aboard my ‘tweet deck.’ [UPDATE: This didn't last. Though I did make it all the way backwards to the letter "A." Once.] Yeah. I figure banal posts about other people people’s poetry (O.P.P.?) can at least be classified as benevolent.

Sounds enticing, eh?

I must admit, though, that it’s tempting to twit the Twat every time I, say, have a thought. Here are some of the tweets I’ve restrained in the past two days, since ‘going public’ on Twitter:

Meditated this morning next to an open toilet.

Apparently my guinea pigs are now too upmarket for baby carrots.

Nicorette in yoga class makes for spicy Savasana.

Yoga Journal hates you.

I hate water.

Guinea pigs now too upmarket for baby carrots AND apple.

Don’t be afraid to brush curls and transform into Stevie Nicks.

Lady on A Train has bottle of Purell carabinered to her purse.

I still love you junkies.

Guinea pigs resemble Puffy and Biggie. The nasty one will surely outlive the sweet one.

Why shouldn’t she be nasty? Consider the collective unconscious of the guinea pig.

Book proof just arrived UPS!!!

Does book resemble a pamphlet?

Crying to publisher (via text)

Spin teacher really believes we are on the open road.

Publisher going to upgrade paper stock!

Why is that Misshape always at Souen?

Why am I always at Souen?

Mother and Mother-in-law are running viral grandchild marketing campaign.

Blackberry has now officially merged with hand. Hanberry. Bland?

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Last Sext

LAST SEXT

So Sad Today

SO SAD TODAY

"What separates Broder from her confessional cohort...is that she doesn’t seem to be out to shock, but to survive."
–Elle

"Broder presents a dizzying array of intimate dispatches and confessions…She has a near-supernatural ability to not only lay bare her darkest secrets, but to festoon those secrets with jokes, subterfuge, deep shame, bravado, and poetic turns of phrase."
–New York Magazine

"A triumph of unsettlingly relatable prose."
–Vanity Fair

"Her writing is deeply personal, sophisticated in its wit, and at the same time, devastating. SO SAD TODAY is a portrait of modern day existence told with provocative, irreverent honesty."
–Nylon

"At once devastating and delightful, this deeply personal collection of essays…is as raw as it is funny."
–Cosmopolitan

"Broder writes about the hot-pink toxins inhaled every day by girls and women...and the seemingly impossible struggle to exhale something pure, maybe even eternal...there's a bleak beauty in the way she articulates her lowest moments."
–Bookforum

"Broder may be talking about things like sexts, Botox, and crushes, but these things are considered alongside contemplations about mortality, identity, and the difficulty of finding substance in a world where sometimes it’s so much easier to exist behind a screen."
–The Fader

"…So Sad Today is uplifting and dispiriting in seemingly equal measure. It’s a book that’s incredibly human in the way it allows for deep self-reflection alongside Broder, which speaks not only to her powerful writing but also the internet’s magical ability to foster connections."
–A.V. Club

"...delightful...Broder embarks on an earnest, sophisticated inquiry into the roots and expressions of her own sadness...deeply confessional writing brings disarming humor and self-scrutiny...Broder's central insight is clear: it is ok to be sad, and our problems can't be reduced to a single diagnosis. "
–Publishers Weekly

"Broder is probably the Internet’s most powerful merchant of feelings…"
–GQ

"Vividly rendered and outspokenly delivered essays…Sordid, compulsively readable entries that lay bare a troubled soul painstakingly on the mend."
–Kirkus Reviews

"If Melissa Broder weren’t so fucking funny I would have wept through this entire book. Love, sex, addiction, mental illness and childhood trauma all join hands and dance in a circle, to the tune of Melissa’s unmatched wit and dementedly perfect take on this terrifying orb we call home."
–Lena Dunham

"So Sad Today is a desperately honest collection of essays, the kind that make you cringe as you eagerly, shamelessly consume them. Melissa Broder lays herself bare but she does so with strength, savvy, and style. Above all, these essays are sad and uncomfortable and their own kind of gorgeous. They reveal so much about what it is to live in this world, right now."
–Roxane Gay

Scarecrone

S C A R E C R O N E

"Broder manages to conjure a psychic realm best described as one part twisted funhouse and two parts Catholic school, heavy on libido and with a dash of magick. This gritty, cherry soda–black book...is bizarrely sexy in its monstrousness."
–Publishers Weekly

"I don’t know what a book is if not a latch to elsewhere, and Scarecrone has pressed its skull against the hidden door. It is neither drunk nor ecstatic to be here—it is a state unto itself."
–VICE

"Lushly dark and infused with references to black magic, Broder's work often feels less like a book and more like a mystical text."
–PAPERMAG

Meat Heart

MEAT HEART

"Out to 'crucify boredom,' her poems show us how any relationship with the divine is no less at risk of engendering grotesque lust...What makes Broder such a pleasure on the page is her insistence that these dramas play out on a workaday stage infused with surreal Pop and imaginative muscle..."
–Publishers Weekly

"With a title recalling Yeats...Broder risks the divine in her second book...shrewd, funny, twisted, sad poems..."
–The Chicago Tribune

"Meat Heart...is unbelievable and overwhelming for its imaginative power alone, but if you listen past the weird you can hear all sorts of things: sadness, seriousness, life, death, and a whole lot of laughter....Broder is a tremendous talent"
–Flavorwire

"...Meat Heart embodies that strain of sustenance, that sort of psychosomatic excitement most valiant art more or less tries to pull off…Her poems don’t bore or bear down. They beam oracle energy. They pump a music of visions for the life-lusty death dance."
–BOMB

Melissa Broder's Book Cover

MOTHER

“This debut from Broder is as funny and hip as it is disturbing… a bright and unusual debut.”
–Publishers Weekly

"…obsessive, energetic and pop-culture-infused poetry…"
–Time Out New York

"Broder’s insight and honesty will make your brain light up and your hair stand on end.”
–The San Francisco Examiner

"Broder’s verse is acrobatic and whip-smart… its own creature."
–Bomb