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Author: Mike Young

“Haloed by this next sorrow, sorry.”

Popping in under monsoon season to give a shout to the new online literary magazine Dream Pop Journal, co-edited by Isobel O’Hare and Carleen Tibbetts. Dream Pop is inspired by the Cocteau Twins and describes itself as “interested in lyric memoirists, cross-genre experimenters, fearless inventors, and poets who dream in made-up languages.” I used to do a lot of online magazine round-ups, and when I read the debut issue of a magazine as good as Dream Pop, I feel sad that I don’t do those anymore. You can romanticize anything, and I romanticize the experience of reading a good literary magazine by aspiring to...

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People from Real Life People #2: Leena Joshi & Eszter Takacs

If you travel and do stuff—play shows, read poems—you tend to meet a lot of people who do a good job. If we are here, we’re here with. It’s good to remember that. It’s good to remember them. Even on the internet. Here are two: Leena Joshi I read with Leena in Seattle. We were in an adorable tabletop game lounge/store, but Leena’s poems weren’t a game. They were every crumb falling off your morning Pop-Tart in a dark river tunnel gondola, and maybe you think you’re tunneling amusement park style, but you’re actually tunneling a whole life. Caught in mid-yawn with...

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Bon voyage Alice Blue Review

With today’s twenty-seventh and final issue, Alice Blue Review goes into that good dust of cultural shutdown. I could tell you everyone who’s in this last issue, but the whole fun of these things has always been making your way over and meeting all sorts of new names. Alice Blue has long been one of my favorite online literary magazines, and I’m happy that their gone-ness doesn’t mean you can’t still ruffle through the archives and read everything they’ve ever shined a home on. Many cheers to Amber Nelson, Sarah Gallien, and Will Gallien for the sweet work they’ve done. Here’s...

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Lit Mag Roundup — “dreamt god raked his fingers through the earth, again”

Finally you’re away from the register. Face up in the water, a bay on the big side, eyes up, sun aplenty, maybe a little too much, thank the great muffle pie in the sky for SPF, materials of ultraviolet blockage. No burners of which to check the wipedown. No eyes-on-phone-fingers motherfuckers with their “yeah, a regular bowl.” No uncles in town on your one day off who don’t understand why the pleasant experience they get from “the Uber” shouldn’t be a goshdarn nonpareil for the “service industry.” No, sir. No sirs or m’ams. Nah to all that. A little nadie for...

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People From Real Life People #1: Meg Freitag & Daniel Woody

If you travel and do stuff—play shows, read poems—you tend to meet a lot of people who do a good job. If we are here, we’re here with. It’s good to remember that. It’s good to remember them. Even on the internet. Here are two: Meg Freitag I read with Meg in Austin. The bar was dark, but Meg’s poems had eaten enough carrots to see through it. You could see how smart and funny the poems were by how calmly Meg listened to people laugh at a line like “Mercury must be in Gatorade.” You could hear all the...

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Lit Mag Roundup — “Maybe he was sleepwalking or maybe it was the universe”

When I went to catch the bus, there was a house across the street that didn’t have a party in it. The night before, there had been a party. A movie, some experimental drone music, I think. Now there was just a house again. Across the street from the bus stop, there was a church window with the view changing because of ugly condos going up and up. At the end of August there were all these fallen plums.  J says “That’s how the days turn into weeks, months, decades.” There’s a pause. J lifts her leg and says, “Look, my bruise is...

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Lit Mag Roundup Scavenger Hunt: “Along with his goat, he took a large jug of drinking water, a bottle of lavender oil, a pine branch with a bird’s nest on one end and a spindle-shaped seashell on the other…”

The world surrounds the fastest way to chop an onion. Eventually that’s what I thought after I watched this video. Keep in mind this is like the day after someone told me a joke about getting blood in his sangria and nobody showing up to the party anyway. But you have to listen (what do you mean have to? you can’t avoid it) to the honks and shouts and revs and brakes and haggling in the background, and then think about how they’re not in the background of their own lives, laying on the horn like that. But then you...

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Lit Mag Roundup Scavenger Hunt: “77 cents will not do the bald eagle any good”

If we decided that the accent of a high dose of Vitamin D sounds like a frantic and fascinated British person, today’s rain would be the opposite of a tennis announcer. But it’s OK because I’ve got some out-of-town friends in town. Last night we got pizza from Hot Lips and watched The Wire. This was on an iMac we surrounded with candles. Baltimore infrastructure drama meets seance circle. Mosquitoes in February. Mug from the Mattress Factory. Cowboy boot with a bird doo stain. If the rain and the snow has you inside and napping after breakfast and you’ve already seen The Wire, I recommend...

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On Readings: You Can Pick a Whole Way Your Body Scoops the Poem Out

Burritos for one day are often best left unexplored the next. One day I was hiking in the woods near Big Sur, and the person I was with wanted to lie down in some flowers, which was great. Except that morning I’d eaten a burrito from the day before, and it felt like all my flowers wanted to lie somewhere outside of me. Later that night I threw up into a motel toilet in San Luis Obispo. Before that, I shit myself a little in the driver’s seat of our rental car. All the adobe on the motel roof...

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“The miles that I can see but keep me divided; / The miles that I can touch but cannot have.” : LIT MAG ROUNDUP GAME

Shoutout to all my old Northeastern compadres who snuggled up for the big white dumpage. Either for naught or for wrought, as no one says. Monday in Portland, it was a pleasant 50 degrees. The weather literally felt like a cheerful 50 year old person who decided they were really going to get into gardening this year. Tuesday, it was drizzly, but not terrible, like that same person was remembering someone they knew a long time ago who was really into gardening but is now gone. In other news, If You Need a Black Globe would be a great name for a metal band. Nearness isn’t knowledge,...

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“And how do they live in the mind? Variously and strangely, much as human beings live, ranging hither and thither, falling in love, and mating together.”

“[Words] are highly democratic, too; they believe that one word is as good as another; uneducated words are as good as educated words, uncultivated words as good as cultivated words, there are no ranks or titles in their society. Nor do they like being lifted out on the point of a pen and examined separately. They hang together, in sentences, paragraphs, sometimes for whole pages at a time. They hate being useful; they hate making money; they hate being lectured about in public. In short, they hate anything that stamps them with one meaning or confines them to one attitude, for it is their nature to change.” Happy birthday, Virginia Woolf! Listen to her brilliant piece “Craftsmanship” from...

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Sorrow Songs and Long Kennings: On Readings

When one red building is much taller than the others, it almost demands a joke. Or a myth. If you’ve ever been to UMass Amherst, you’ve seen the very tall W.E.B. DuBois Library because it insists on being seen. One rumor goes that when they built the library, they didn’t account for the weight of the books, so bricks popped free of the top few floors. But then one librarian angrily popped the balloon of that rumor when I brought it up. From what I remember, the documentation in the library’s elevator recommends the 21st floor as the ideal perch for seeing the whole valley. But you have to stop looking out from your heights to find a book called The Souls of Black Folk by the library’s namesake, W.E.B. DuBois. The fourteenth chapter of this book is called “Of the Sorrow Songs,” and inside of it, DuBois writes about how his grandfather’s grandmother brought a song with her—memorized, as tangible as any stone you can bite or tattoo you can feel—across the Middle Passage, a horizontal movement, and through the familial generations, a vertical movement. You can tell from reading the chapter that DuBois believes something is lacking in writing them down. He quotes a black woman, unnamed, talking about one such song: “It can’t be sung without a heart and a troubled sperrit.” Looking at the larger...

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“I have been looking. I have been digging. I have been carrying stones.” : Rounding Up the Online Magazines

“I have been looking. I have been digging. I have been carrying stones.” — Callista Buchen In Seattle, a dog rides the bus by herself. Back in Northampton, Jono says hawks are getting chased by smaller birds, but they don’t care. John the Baptist survived on locust and honey. Some people remember how a few years ago the stores were full of owls, foxes, and mustaches. Tasmania produces 50% of the world’s medicinal opiates for stuff like codeine and morphine. When Ulysses Bassell was 17, he twisted off some of his arm hair and gave it to a girl he had...

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Swallowing Lightbulbs and Redoing Church: A Beat on Readings file | Play in new window A few of my favorite readings were ones I never saw. Like Ted Berrigan in 1982 at Naropa in Boulder, CO, where I’ve never seen any readings, but I did eat a green chile omelet in a hailstorm. In 1982, Berrigan read “Red Shift,” and you can listen to him read it at PennSound. “Spirit who lives only to nag,” he says. He is only pronouns, but he is all of them. In his voice, none of the confidence of someone accustomed to licking a stage. Instead, Berrigan sounds like a nervous bank robber. Only the one set of eyes to make sure nobody’s pressing any red buttons. The trembling, the deliberate haggling with the breath’s center, the fearless/terrified recounting of every terrified/fearless choice in the text, the teeth involvement. My beat for Real Pants is to dig out what makes for a good reading. The potentials and pitfalls. Here’s my first tip: involve your teeth. Other great readers I have been lucky enough to see: Kate Greenstreet—squinting and willing to sit with any small mystery until it turns huge. Mark Leidner—everyone shitting themselves with laughter, and meanwhile Leidner’s pan so dead that NASA is studying it and coming up with weirdly high readings of sorrow. Abe Smith—that boot heel, that warble. One night in Northampton we sat around trying to figure...

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