The Coronzon Press

External memory of the happened upon

An annotated ongoing collection of links having to do with the small press scene, the literary underground, outsider writing, audio recordings of writers, cult writing (great writing that fails to excite the masses), visual art by writers, book cover art, my favourite writers, and friends. It started as just recording links with brief descriptions, but, here and there, is in danger of turning into a rant. – JB

 

[Last changed: September 15, 2015]

blackheath books
Poetry chapbooks and novels done on a very small scale, with some interesting videos of their production. Some engaging stuff from a range of writers.
Taneda Santoka’s haiku
A relatively modern (1882–1940) haiku nonconformist and wandering hobo Zen monk inspiring for his faults. There is a nice collection including diary extracts translated by Burton Watson available from Columbia University Press called For all my walking [review]. I’ve uploaded a PDF of the book Grass and Tree Cairn, translated by Hiroaki Sato.
Fire on the mountain
Another excellent page on Santoka (disappeared, but found again at the Internet Archive).
Beat the dust
A large site and litzine by Melissa Mann dedicated to new writing and the small press scene.
The paintings of E E Cummings
A great poet who was also a rather good painter.
Coast Galleries: Henry Miller
Miller’s watercolours.
Fuel Design & Publishing
Some innovative design ideas and a fascinating three-volume set of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia, which David Cronenberg made good use of in Eastern Promises.
Cosmodemonic Telegraphic Company
A blog dedicated to Henry Miller which turns up all sorts of interesting bits and pieces.
Vertigo
A blog about reading and collecting the fine writer W G Sebald, cut off in his prime in a car crash in 2001. Also covers other novels that make use of embedded photographs, something Sebald does beautifully in The Rings of Saturn and Austerlitz. A number of great books I had never heard of before have come my way via this site, such as Max Frisch’s exquisite Man in the Holocene. There’s a nice three-part interview with Sebald.
James Joyce reading from Finnegans Wake
The Finnegans Wake Society of New York meet once a month to read from the great book. Years ago I travelled across London to hear this recording at the National Sound Archive, the only one of Joyce reading from the Wake. The web takes the trudge out of many things, but we probably value them less as a result.
3:am magazine
Litzine, particularly good interviews.
nthposition
Another very good litzine.
UbuWeb: Sound
What an amazing collection of audio recordings of writers. Loads of William S Burroughs, John Giono, even Gertrude Stein, E E Cummings, and some fascinating stuff from Marshall McLuhan, who, amazingly, is still interesting. Even Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate.
Kenneth Goldsmith
Fascinating interview with the founder of UbuWeb.
Lu Xun (1881–1936)
One of the best modern Chinese writers (Lu Hsun in the old Wades-Giles spelling) – I call him ‘modern’ I suppose because most of the Chinese writers I regularly read are at least a thousand years old. Lu Xun is a joy, and a pleasure to translate from the few bits I’ve had a go at. Forget all that dreary crap about unwanted Chinese daughters in orphanages. Read Lu Xun’s Wild Grass instead. In Chinatown bookshops you can usually pick up the cheap and lovely English editions put out by the Foreign Languages Press of Beijing. (Lu Xun on Wikipedia.)
Céline’s Fable for Another Time
On-the-money review by John Dolan of one of my favourite books, Céline’s Fable for Another Time. Most of this book was written in a very grim Danish prison cell. This is one of Céline’s lesser-read books, perhaps, but certainly one of his maddest and amazing. Twenty pages just talking about his arse. This must be almost the best book ever written. There’s a few videos of Céline on YouTube.
E M Cioran
E M Cioran’s philosophy asserts that all our troubles began in being born, and this was the basic mistake. Cioran is a great stylist who wrote splendidly and often with sly humour on alienation, boredom, despair, suicide, futility, and suchlike. I think of him as an enlightened man who decided to forgo enlightenment for the sake of carrying on exploring the darkness, such that he is like a light that shines out of the Pit. The Trouble with Being Born is a good book to start with if you’re new to him. On the Heights of Despair, written when he was just 22, is a great read and really quite astonishing for such an early work. I’ve read most of his books and also made a sort of pilgrimage to visit his grave in Paris. I’ve gathered a few PDFs of some of his essays: Encounter with the Void; The Evil Demiurge; The New Gods (different translations of the last two appeared in his book The New Gods); A Bouquet of Heads; The Snares of Wisdom; Odyssey of Rancor; Mechanism of Utopia (the last two appeared in his book History and Utopia). Plus the extract from The Book of Delusions that appeared in Hyperion in May 2010, the excellent interviews by Jason Weiss and Michel Jakob, and two articles by Willis G Regier: Cioran’s Insomnia and Cioran’s Nietzsche. And the entire 1970 book The Fall into Time, which has been out of print for ages (this book has a different translation of ‘The Snares of Wisdom’ as ‘The Dangers of Wisdom’, and the concluding essay of fragments, ‘The Fall Out of Time’ about ‘the wrong eternity’, is another Cioran gem). Here are different translations of two of the essays from The Fall into Time: A Portrait of Civilized Man; The Ambiguity of Fame.
Planet Cioran
Good site on E M Cioran, includes a piece on Cioran’s remarks on Beckett from his as yet untranslated Cahiers.
William Saroyan
It is a complete mystery to me why so little of Saroyan’s work is still in print. It is said that the public lost the taste for him. Oh, and found it for all the utter shite that is put out these days I suppose? Anyway, it is a pleasure to track down his many works second-hand. Might I recommend as a good start The Trouble with Tigers (1938), My Name is Aram (1940), and Here Comes There Goes You Know Who (1961). The latter is a delightful ‘autobiography’. There’s plenty more good stuff after that, particularly the early short stories, although after a while he does start repeating himself a bit. I have uploaded a rather idiosyncratic audio recording of him reading some of his writings in 1953. Yes, I like Saroyan.
The Unknown Saroyan
Video lecture on William Saroyan by Dickran Kouymjian at the Library of Congress. Concentrates mainly on Saroyan as a painter.
Author interviews by Don Swaim
Huge archive of Swaim’s audio interviews with writers. I loved the one with Jerzy Kosinski.
Charles Bukowski
The best site on the web on Bukowski.
Paris Review interviews
Some of the best interviews ever with writers. The one with Céline is brilliant.
The Richard Brautigan Archives
Large site on Richard Brautigan, with audio clips of him reading.
Brautigan Bibliography and Archive
Besides bibliographic information, this site has an excellent page on his recordings and the whole Listening to Richard Brautigan album can be downloaded.
Steven Jesse Bernstein
Page for a great dead poet, put up by his son.
The Sad Bag
Recordings from Jesse Bernstein’s cassette The Sad Bag.
Burning Shore Press
Small press in Califonia with a good vibe. Some interesting interviews and articles, such as R K Wallace asking whether Bukowski has been overpublished. Although the question, to my mind, is whether it might have been a good idea for Bukowski to burn a chunk of his stuff. Judicious (or not) author self-destruction tightens what survives. That said, reading Bukowski is more like keeping the company of the guy for a while. Maybe it doesn’t matter with him. True enough though, what Bukoswki himself said, about there being nothing to read for all those millions of books out there. You look and you look, some days it seems the whole world is writing, yet you don’t bring back much you want to clutch to your breast for a while. But you notice more the mystical process by which certain books seem to seek you out. In fact, I’m relying on it, as a small publisher.
B S Johnson
Johnson, like more than a few good writers, killed himself. Trawl (1966) I think is his best book, although I’ve yet to track down a copy of See the Old Lady Decently (1975). He always said he wrote novels, but not fiction. I don’t know why a lot of people have difficulty with this idea. A novel is a form. But views are hopelessly entrenched and so a better form to write within is simply a book, and let others categorise it if it makes them feel better. If the novel is to be judged by the formulaic boredom it has mostly become today, then it may already be a dead word. When I see writers struggle to name what their writing is, particularly when it contains autobiography and fiction mingling promisciously on the page, with the object that you shall not know which is which (the skill of it after all), I can understand their reluctance to call it a novel or a memoir, and why they plump for novel in the end. But wouldn’t it be better not to have to come down on either side? When J M Coetzee’s publisher asked him whether Boyhood was fiction or memoir he replied: ‘Do I have to choose?’
Dissident Editions
A wonderful site by Anthony Weir, ‘a male hermit-anarch who has successfully resisted employment for forty years’. This is one of those rare sites that has the power of drawing you in, probably because it has spirit and personality, whereas many literary sites of equivalent size can often seem sterile and offputting and you want to leave at the earliest opportunity. Maybe it’s something to do with being older, the anarchic spirit in twenty-somethings is loud and boorish but in the older person such a spirit when it surivives is a flame that has been carried further, it quite simply becomes genuine. And another thing, his online ‘novel’ Cannibalism for Vegetarians is the only online novel I have ever read all the way through. I was immediately attracted to it as something potentially worth reading by the quote by Fernando Pessoa at the start. People who have read Pessoa, people who have heard of Pessoa, I usually like.
Strange Attractor
Mark Pilkington’s great taste for the obscure and esoteric in Strange Attractor Journal. Also covers some eccentric literary figures such as Boris Vian, Richard Jefferies, C F Russell, and David Lindsay. Plus Further, a blog with its finger on the pulse of the weird and wonderful.
Dreamflesh
Dreamflesh Journal Vol. 1 and Archaeologies of Consciousness, self-published print works from Gyrus. Essays, interviews, blog, and very good reviews and library sections (the latter contains shorter reviews).
The Atlantis Bookshop
London’s oldest independent occult bookshop, started in 1922.
Alma Books
One of the better medium-sized publishers, set up in October 2005 by Alessandro Gallenzi and Elisabetta Minervini, who previously founded the Hesperus Press. One of the few mainstream publishers in Britain that still looks at unsolicited manuscripts. Alma has acquired Calder, which in the past was the lone voice in the publishing wilderness, recognising Beckett, for instance (though Faber has acquired the rights to Beckett’s works). John Calder writes occasional posts on their blog. Alma have an interesting list, including for instance the brilliantly titled Salmonella Men on Planet Porno by Tsutsui Yasutaka (don’t know whether it’s any good, I read his novel Hell, which started well but fizzled out).
Serpent’s Tail
A good large independent publisher, now owned by Profile, though even they have stopped accepting submissions that don’t come via agents. Like seeing a nice dog get fleas.
Everyone who’s anyone
Infamous site by Gerard Jones cataloguing publishers and agents from the UK and USA, together with lovely disrespectful comments. Every writer’s got to try going the agent route, before papering their wall with rejection slips and saying fuck em! Gets it out the system. Now they can approach you, if they dare, when they later realise what slipped through their fingers. Good to have a long memory, I say.
Literary rejections on display
Blog that publishes rejections from literary agents and other related stuff. Lively discussions in the comments. I like the idea of exposing the culture of rejection to ridicule, although these days realise that trying to interest an agent in one’s writing is akin to begging. There’s no dignity in it. And it’s all the wrong way round, agents need to get off their high horses and learn their place in the food chain. They should be the ones to come crawling. Let the writer succeed on their own by some modest means, such that they attract a little attention from a savvy agent who thinks they can take this further. Then the agent can approach and the writer can have a look at what they have to offer. That’s the way it should be. So I am all for agents being flooded by shit from mediocre writers. It’s punishment for getting above themselves. If there’s any approach needs to be made it should come from an agent who is looking elsewhere than the slush pile, because it’s the writer who is the actual talent here. Writers should only demean themselves once by approaching agents, to assess the process, and if massively rejected walk away and advance their work in some other fashion, rather than going back to try them with their next book and the next. Life is too short to remain powerless and dependent on the yay or nay of others, especially those looking within such a narrow and boring range for the great new rising star.
Stone Bridge Press
Great small publisher of Japanese literature in translation, such as Furui Yoshikichi’s superb Ravine and Other Stories (some of the best short stories I have ever read) and Ozaki Hosai’s Right under the big sky, I don’t wear a hat. Their website describes Ozaki’s book in this way: ‘Colloquial haiku and occasional essays by an eccentric and disturbed personality who spent his last years at a small Buddhist temple off the coast of Shikoku.’ The word ‘disturbed’ I think conveys a false picture of him. I presume the comment is based on the eerie imagery in Bell-clinker, but you don’t have to be disturbed to draw supernatural elements into your art. In fact, in that wonderful piece of prose it is clear he is not disturbed by what others might find disturbing. Ozaki lived 1885–1926 and was an insurance salesman and heavy drinker who at the end of his short life lived a solitary existence on Shodo Island. He’s every bit as fascinating as Taneda Santoka. Stone Bridge Press have also published a book of ‘flash fiction from contemporary China’, entitled The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories, which I haven’t read yet but I’m intrigued, pity they have no excerpt available. One is reluctant to take a risk on books completely sight unseen. Very short fiction has taken on the recent label of ‘flash fiction’ as if it is a new thing but Kawabata Yasunari did this way back in his great Palm-of-the-Hand Stories.
Shuttlecock
Reflections on writing by Shono Junzo, one of the Japanese writers published by Stone Bridge Press.
Bad Sex Award
The only literary award worth watching with interest. This is the index to all the pieces published on it on the Guardian site.
Fugue State Press
An uncompromising small press in New York we like the outlook of. I like this that they have to say: ‘It’s hard to define what experimental means. By its nature there’re no rules. We’d love to see a book that’s like an artifact, elemental, less like storytelling literature, more like dirt or air. We often enjoy prose that’s broken…’ An article on it on NYPress.
Jonathan Baumbach’s opinion
Baumbach reflects, on Maud Newton’s blog, on the dire situation publishing finds itself in today as a result of corporate control of the major presses. Well said.
Self-Publishing Review
Site set up by Henry Baum, who had his first novel published by Canongate in the UK but then opted for self-publishing with Lulu for his next one, which caused a lot of comment at the time about the state of publishing. He writes in his blog that he just doesn’t have ‘the heart or stomach to deal with the querying process again’ with his latest book. Know the feeling. This is exactly how agents and big publishers will lose out on acquiring good books in the future, no longer because of their own tunnel-vision but because writers just can’t be bothered with them any more. This will force publishers and agents to come looking out here. We enjoy the irony there.
RALPH Magazine
One of my favourite literary review sites. It was here I first read about Sokei-an, and I bought his beautiful book – Holding the Lotus to the Rock – on the strength of it. They seem to have good taste, enjoy the art of the review (because it is an art to say something worth saying about a book), and give a book the time it deserves. The site has grown very popular and they put it down to readers who have ‘grown tired of the puff-piece world of American book reviewing’. It’s getting clear, isn’t it, in the essay aspect of this links page, that there is real life in these outsiderish endeavours.
The Boy and the Darkness
A pity only the first part of this fantasy novel by Sergey Lukyanenko is available in translation. I don’t read much fantasy but this I loved. Lukyanenko wrote the novel that was made into that great Russian vampire movie Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor). While we’re on Russian writing, I came across the Strugatsky brothers’ Roadside Picnic, which I was interested to read because Tarkovsky’s film Stalker is based on it and Stalker doesn’t mention aliens once. So I had that confirmed, at least. The film is far superior, probably because it doesn’t spell things out the way the book does. The novel’s characters are largely cardboard, as in most genre novels, but there are a few good ideas, in particular the idea of the ‘roadside picnic’ as a model of alien intervention, that the roadside trash left behind by extraterrestrials having a fag break at some truckstop planet in which they have zero interest becomes for the humans that have to clear it up a Chernobyl-like ‘Zone’ holding mysterious dangers. I like the idea of aliens visiting Earth the same way some of us might visit the countryside solely to dump in a lay-by an old washing machine, a broken electric kettle, and a battered suitcase of laddered tights.
Another Sky Press
Small press in Portland, Oregon. They provide the whole book for free in PDF, and hope you will like it enough to buy a print copy or donate. In an interesting podcast on Dead Robots’ Society the founder Kristopher Young says he does this because he sees the offering of a truncated sample as a tease. I don’t see it that way myself. To me, providing a sample, say the first twenty pages of a book, is so a person can see what the book is like and whether they’d like to read it. Providing the whole book in PDF may seem a noble gesture, but actually it is doing the book a disservice, since few will read anything more than a smattering of it in PDF but they are dissuaded from buying a copy since they already have a copy. A sample, on the other hand, far from being a tease, is geared towards securing readers, those who like what they read enough to buy a copy.
merkley???
Fantastically talented fruitcake photographer. The closest thing to an ‘explanation’ is his Flickr about page.
If the Devil Should Die Would God Make Another?
I was really pleased to come across Robert Ingersoll’s The Devil (1899) online. One of those forgotten Freethinkers still worth reading. I once saw the most beautiful girl receiving a pile of books at the hatch when the British Library was still in the Round Reading Room. The pile was half her height. As I looked, I saw that every single one of the books was about the Devil. The Devil has all the best chicks. They read books, too. I always give this as an explanation for my interest in the occult.
Atlas Press
Great small press this. Extremist and avant-garde prose writing from the 1890s to the present day. Of particular interest to me is 4 Dada Suicides, one of whom is Jacques Rigaut, whose suicide led to the book Le feu follet by his friend Pierre Drieu La Rochelle on which Louis Malle’s film masterpiece of the same name was based. Julien Torma’s Euphorisms is also a good find. According to an interview with Eugène Ionesco in the Paris Review Torma never existed, he was invented by Sainmont and Queneau, who even invented a biography for him, including his tragic death in the mountains.
Austin Osman Spare
Good site on the occult artist and writer.
The Quarterly Conversation
Huge literary web magazine, attractively designed, and bristling with intelligent essays on books and publishing.
Sorodesign Blog
Blog dedicated to book design, by the designers of the above site. Some very interesting posts on jacket design.
Book Covers Anonymous
Blog on book covers, some real gems.
The Book Design Review
Blog with some more good book covers.
Caustic Cover Critic
Self-titled: ‘One man’s endless ranting about book design…’ Digs out some fascinating very old covers as well as new. Interesting posts on duplicated cover images.
French Book Covers
Some really stylish antiquarian French covers.
Joseph Torra
Official site of the author of Gas Station and Tony Luongo, the latter being a great favourite of mine (written without any punctuation in one long stream, and it works wonderfully). Gas Station also has a fabulous voice. His 2008 autobiographical novel Call Me Waiter is strangely ordinary, but I strangely enjoyed it. I found an interview with him from 2001.
A Journey Round My Skull
‘Unhealthy book fetishism’ from an ‘amateur historian of forgotten literature’. This blog was upgraded in 2011 and the posts decanted over to the new site 50 watts, intended to be its replacement, but the first site has been kept going running alongside as a sort of scrapbook. Some great stuff in both places, wonderful illustrations, and fine article by Gilbert Alter-Gilbert: Taedium Vitae – Farewell Notes of Japanese Literary Suicides.
Eugene O’Neill recording
Excerpt of a 1941 recording of O’Neill speaking Edmund’s words from Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Act IV).
Tangerine Press
Outsider poetry in hand-bound limited editions.
Reading Robert Pinget
Good essay on Pinget, author of the fabulous Someone, on the Dalkey Archive site. Red Dust Books publish many of his books in English translation.
Interview with Red Dust founder Joanna Gunderson
Founded in 1961 with the purpose of ‘publishing work thought to be unpublishable because of length, form or content’, Red Dust must be one of the greatest small presses in America. This is an interview on their site with its founder, Joanna Gunderson. Asked what gave her the idea to create her own press, she answers: ‘I felt convinced that the work of my friends and my own work would not receive much attention. And I thought, Why spend your entire life trying to get a publisher.’ Well yes, indeed, much my own way of looking at it too. I now have quite a few Red Dust books, Pinget mostly, and it’s a real joy when they come airmail to my door.
Ten Awful Truths About Book Publishing [PDF]
Interesting report by Steve Piersanti, president of Berrett-Koehler. This is good news for small publishers though. If the average US book now sells fewer than 250 copies a year that means a small publisher could do as well. People want to read good writing, and if the big publishers don’t produce it but small publishers do, then buyers will simply shift their affections. It hardly matters any more that ‘a book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore’ since most people buy over the internet anyway and browsing in real shops is generally more interesting in second-hand and charity shops than big bookshops where you already know they’ll only be stocking Katie Price and books you may want but are cheaper on the web. Roll on the day the big publishers collapse like banks and every publisher is a small publisher. Then it will be about quality again, not clout.
A Piece of Monologue
Excellent site by Rhys Tranter covering literature, modernism, continental philosophy, and critical theory. Some tremendously interesting stuff turns up here. Very attractively designed too. Has an entensive range of posts on Samuel Beckett.
Bizarro Central
‘Bizarro’ is a recent outsider genre of fiction named and whipped-up-interest-in by certain small presses who publish it, such as Eraserhead Press. There is a Wikipedia page on Bizarro fiction probably written by the same self-publicists. Most Bizarro books that I’ve seen are marked by excellent over-the-top covers and funny titles, but the writing inside is talentless drivel. Dazed & Confused [PDF] called the Bizarros ‘the bastard sons of William Burroughs and Dr Seuss’, but to me it is more like Tao Lin and Noah Cicero with zombies and scifi. A fertile area of publishing, certainly, but then mediocrity has a talent for making anyone think they could do it. B movies are often worth watching, but B books are never worth reading. Still, that’s not to say Bizarro authors aren’t trying to do something, as demonstrated by Carlton Mellick III’s article Experimental fiction vs Bizarro. I can see his point that it’s about weirdness of style vs weirdness of plot, after all his own The Baby Jesus Butt Plug certainly has a weird plot, but why would I want to read on after I’ve got the gist of that when the writing itself is excruciating and basically just arbitrary dicking around?
You should self-publish
Interesting post by Joe Konrath on his success with Kindle ebook self-publishing. I like the way he turns around the old cliché and points out that these days traditional book publishing is more like vanity publishing than self-publishing, the latter of which is just straightforward business sense for a writer not willing to be screwed by a big publisher over digital rights. Ah yes, that sense of approval in being accepted by an established press, setting one apart from the ragamuffin bunch of wannabe writers, is indeed in great part an appeal to vanity. And the plain fact is that most traditionally published genre fiction is just as banal as most self-published genre fiction, so it’s not as if the big publishers have the cream of the crop when even and especially their bestsellers are rancid. (Konrath also has a good post on How to make money on ebooks.)
A two pipe problem blog
Some nice letterpress typography with large wooden type at this small Walthamstow printing studio. The name of the studio alludes to Sherlock Holmes. Quite apt for thinking of the best way to do a bit of letterpress.
PANK
Online literary magazine that always has something worth reading.
wig·leaf
Publishes very short fiction, stories under 1000 words. I often find some good stuff here.
jmww
A very busy quarterly literary journal.
Ivan Coyote
One of my favourite short-story writers.
This Recording
Arts magazine that has some great stuff on books and writers.
Extremely Difficult & Occasionally Unpleasant
Detailed essay on Samuel Beckett’s poetry.
Matt Bell
Literary blog and some excellent well-crafted book reviews. Particularly interesting review of an Edouard Levé piece [subsequently disappeared so replaced by Internet Archive capture]. Levé’s book Suicide, published in translation by Dalkey Archive Press, was finished just days before his own suicide, in 2007 at the age of forty-two. The actual piece Matt Bell is reviewing is on the Paris Review site: When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue. This is an extract from Levé’s wonderful book Autoportrait, published by Dalkey Archive in 2012.
The Lone Oak Press
Beautifully printed books by Abigail Rorer.
Kat Ran Press
Tasteful typography. Some particularly nice title pages. A couple of excellent downloadables: Some Fifteen Books Carefully Designed and A Further Showing of Carefully Designed Books. Michael Russem, the proprietor, had an interesting article in the February 2007 Caxtonian, The Failure of Fine Printing [PDF], about the irony that beautifully-produced books are rarely actually read, rather they become objects for collectors. Such works transcend being books to become art, but in the process lose their original function.
The Old Stile Press
Lovely hand-printed fine books by Frances and Nicolas McDowall.
White Pine Press
Small literary press that has some very interesting translated works. I came across an interview with the man behind the press, Dennis Maloney. They have published a great collection of (mostly) prose poems by Gary Young entitled Even So.
Dean Wesley Smith on agents
Smith puts agents in their place and also explains the apparent origin of the term ‘slush pile’.
Annie Ernaux
Annie Ernaux is another writer I picked up by chance in a second-hand bookshop purely on the thinness of the spine compared with the other books. I like short books. That was The Possession, her shortest work. Ended up as a result of that reading all of her books available in English translation back-to-back. Her plain style says so much with a few words. A great writer. My favourite is the one she wrote about her father, La Place, published in English as A Man’s Place (this is the title of the American edition, but for the UK edition the title was translated as Positions, which, annoyingly, resulted in me buying it twice from Amazon not realising).
Skoob Books
Best second-hand bookshop in London. I always try to make time to have a browse when I’m in town. I’ve often come across a writer new to me here, such as Ernaux above.
Horror Sleaze Trash
Poetry, flash fiction, interviews. Trash art, lowbrow, offbeat.
Full Stop
Excellent reviews, interviews, and features. A lot of quality material on this site.
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
I love EVB’s paintings, but the despairing tape recordings he made lamenting the lack of recognition of his art are so poignant. All he wanted was to see people looking at his paintings.
Lee Rourke
Rourke takes boredom for his inspiration, so he appealed to me even before I’d read him. I liked his novel The Canal. Rourke’s been around on the ‘literary outsider’ scene for quite some years now, and has a lot of interesting things to say. There’s a recording of him reading from The Canal at InDigest, and an old interview at Dogmatika. He also wrote a list of his top ten books about boredom.
Bukowski’s Best Spoken Word Poetry
Good article in Sabotage Times by Joe Hakim. Surprised though that he doesn’t include the wonderful 70 Minutes in Hell recording.
W G Sebald | 92Y Readings
Footage of Sebald reading from Austerlitz on October 15, 2001, a couple of months before he died. There is an excellent question-and-answer session at the end.
Poetry Foundation
Good place to browse poems for hours and still not find one you like. One returns, ever hopeful.
A Stone for Unica Zürn
Unica Zürn’s short novel Dark Spring is a brilliant evocation of perverse childhood fantasy, based on her own childhood. I love her madness, her sadness, her automatic drawings. Like more than a few of those I like to read, she committed suicide. Apparently her descent into the dark began after she took mescaline with Henri Michaux, another whose writings and art I enjoy. Her suicide is regarded as being foretold in Dark Spring. Her book The Man of Jasmine is out of print and hard to come by. Another good article on Zürn at Siglio, which has a photo of her with Hans Bellmer in their small apartment. In The House of Illnesses she wrote: ‘Since yesterday I know why I am making this book: in order to remain ill for longer than is correct. I can slip in a fresh page every day.’
Osamu Dazai Short Stories
A very useful finding list of Osamu Dazai short stories translated into English. Dazai is one of my favourite writers. He committed suicide in 1948 at the age of 38. The best book of his short stories is Self Portraits, and his novels No Longer Human and The Setting Sun are quite brilliant. I’ve collected a few PDFs of his work: A Snowy Night’s Tale; After the Silence & Down with Decadence; Fallen Flowers; Fulfilment of a Vow; I Can Speak; Morning; Mother; The Father; The Lady of Banquets; Waiting.
Dazai’s Angst Journal
Published 1936. Some fascinating little fragments. The bits in the text marked _______  ___th are 月 日。in the original, ‘Month, Day’. But there are no actual dates.
The Immutable Despair of Dazai Osamu [PDF]
Article by David Brudnoy from Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 23, No. 3/4 (1968), pp 457–474.
Intersection, by Liu Yichang [PDF]
Wong Kar-wai’s wonderful movie In the Mood for Love is supposed to have been partially inspired by this short story.
Interview with Peter Owen
Interview with pioneer British publisher of avant-garde writing.
Writers No One Reads
Writers hardly anyone has heard of let alone read. A good place to come across dark, offbeat, eccentric works that may happen to be beautifully written.
Gary Young
I’m very fond of prose poetry as a form, but find many prose poems are too long and really just flash fiction, or dull anecdotes pretending to be ‘poetic’. Gary Young’s work is the exception, having the kind of contemplativeness of haiku in carefully observed moments of feeling.
Letterology
Great typography blog with some lovely printed ephemera from the letterpress era.
20th century Korean writers
Translations of stories by modern Korean writers, including works by Yi Sang, who wrote The Wings [PDF].
It’s the Dream: The poetry of Olav H Hauge
Article by P G R Nair on the Norwegian poet Hauge, with translations of his poetry.