Inside “We Are The Clash”

As you might expect from its title, Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki’s new book We Are the Clash delves into the history of a certain beloved punk band–but it’s the period that they focus on that might surprise some readers. Specifically, Andersen and Heibutzki explore the complex dynamics of the band’s final lineup, the music that they made, and how this uneasily juxtaposed with the rise of reactionary politics. Between this and the upcoming release of a new Joe Strummer […]

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Where Sounds Meet Spaces, Haunted by Memory: On Cynan Jones’s “Cove”

Cynan Jones’s books tend to rest on the intersection of the interior struggles of his characters and the exterior challenges the elements present. It is only through navigating the difficulties in the natural world that the characters are able to excavate the emotional dilemmas they’re unable to process—certainly, the elements, the land, and the creatures dying at the hands of the characters are symbolic of his characters’ moods, but there is always something else happening beyond Jones’s use of setting […]

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A History of Vengeance: David Joy’s “The Line That Held Us” Reviewed

With his first two novels, Where All Light Tends to Go and The Weight of this World, David Joy established himself as one of the preeminent voices in Appalachian noir. However, he was clearly not content with that position. The Line That Held Us, his latest release, offers everything he already gave readers while commandingly treading new ground. While the narrative contains the sine qua non elements of noir and once again takes place within the context of rural Appalachian […]

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Brian Alan Ellis

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance. So, then, without any further disturbance, my first guest/victim is writer […]

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On the Convergence of Songs, Images, and “The Orchid Thief”

When Kevin Larimer, the editor of Poets and Writers Magazine, emailed and asked if I’d be up to take part in another “inspiration experiment” I instantly knew just who I wanted to invite. The first time we had tried this, two years prior, we worked with author Joyce Carol Oates. Oates kindly agreed to read her poem Too Young to Marry, But Not Too Young to Die, and then listen as a number of artists read and performed pieces written […]

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“The Present Also Contains These Crystals of Possibility”: An Interview With Jordy Rosenberg

Describing Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg‘s debut novel, is something that’s likely to vary wildly depending on who’s handling the description. Rosenberg’s novel is a thrilling historical saga of outlaws fighting a repressive society; it’s a deftly handled work of metafiction; it’s a smart exploration of questions of gender; it’s a barbed satire of academia circa now. It’s all of these things, and it also possesses a relentless energy, making it a thought-provoking and cerebral page-turner. I asked Rosenberg […]

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Cat Shotguns and Painted Lizards: On Sam Pink’s “The Garbage Times/White Ibis”

When you are reading an obviously autobiographical book and the author hits you with a passage about becoming a giant and using his cat as a shotgun to destroy a city, you have two options: you can stop reading immediately or take a deep breath and allow the writer to take you places you’ve never been before while fully aware that the person at the wheel may or may not be in full control of the chaos ahead…or their sanity. […]

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