Art, Ritual, and Life: An Interview With C. Bain

"Sex Augury"

Augury once referred only to the form of divination that read birds, futures read from the types and flight and behavior of birds. It was a kind of literacy. Now augury means future-telling in general. Of course, the thing about the future is that we know, broadly, what is happening. The circulation of the Atlantic ocean nears a tipping point where the currents will stop, wildfires in California, in Turkey, heatwaves in south Asia. It’s pretty clear what’s happening. So telling the future is an obsolescing industry, and as such, poetry can get in there. SEX AUGURY (Red Hen Press, 2023) is the second book of poetry by writer and performance artist C. Bain, applying a mystical literacy to the saturation of image, violence, and erotic alienation we are surrounded with, and infiltrated by. Just before the launch of SEX AUGURY, C. began a Fulbright fellowship in Leipzig, rendering the book launch a bit muted. On the belated occasion of the book, Rosemary Carroll, a colleague of C.’s through the brotherhood of negative prophesy, interviewed C. about the book and creative process.

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The Challenges of Art and Life: An Interview With Nicole Haroutunian

Nicole Haroutunian

Nicole Haroutunian’s new novel, Choose This Now, wrestles with a lot of big themes in the subtlest of ways. This is a book about creative struggles, intimacy, and families both found and biological. Over the course of this book’s timeframe, its characters make decisions that are rewarding and emiently frustrating; they go to bizarre parties and embark on ill-concieved relationships. It’s an immersive work with the ebb and flow of life, and I chatted with its author about the project’s origins and her own experiences while writing it.

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Haunted Histories and Mysterious Islands: Kirsten Bakis on the Origin of “King Nyx”

Kirsten Bakis

I’ve long been on record as an admirer of Kirsten Bakis’s first novel, the haunting Lives of the Monster Dogs. I’ve also long wondered what Bakis would do for an encore, and this year brings an answer with the release of her second novel King Nyx. In this tale, set a century ago, Bakis draws on the lives of Anna and Charles Fort, as Anna recounts a time when the couple was summoned to a mysterious estate in upstate New York. What does this have to do with the bespoke deity of Anna’s youth? Well, you’ll have to read that to find out — but rest assured that the resulting novel is a fascinating story abounding with mysteries, class conflict, and more than a little literary history. I caught up with Bakis to learn more about the book’s genesis

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The Poet As A Child Of War: An Interview With Pantea Amin Tofangchi

Pantea Amin Tofangchi

Pantea Amin Tofangchi is an award-winning Iranian-American poet. She is also a pacifist–a hopeful one. Her hope and pacifism, even now–especially now–is born of a childhood to which most U.S.-born Americans can’t relate: amid war. 

Tofangchi, who grew up during the Iran-Iraq War (from September 1980 to August 1988), certainly isn’t mad that Americans have no concept of what her childhood was like–fighting out the front door of her home, looking on nervously as her mother, mid-bomb raid, wraps a blanket around a flashlight to suppress its beam before guiding her children to safety–but she won’t suffer our sustained obliviousness either. 

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The Right Amount Of Comedic Grit: An Interview With Luke Burns

Luke Burns

Masters of the Nefarious: Mollusk Rampage, the graphic novel by the French artist Pierre La Police, is a colorful, bizarre, hysterically funny book that will delight fans of Brad Neely and Michael Kupperman. The insane plot, which unfurls at a methodical pace of one panel per page, concerns a wave of violent antediluvian mollusks and the trio of furrowed-brow mutants—the twins Chris and Montgomery Themistecles, and their buddy Fongor—who set out to stop them (or not). The Masters of the Nefarious comic originally ran in the French magazine Les Inrockuptibles from 1994 to 1996, before being collected into three French-language volumes over the past several years.

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What You Can’t Outrun: Colleen Burner on “Sister Golden Calf” and the Joys and Challenges of Writing a Female Road Narrative

Colleen Burner

Colleen Burner’s Sister Golden Calf is a strange, gorgeous debut novel about two sisters, Gloria and Kit, who travel through the desert with their jars full of “invisible things for feeling and knowing.” It’s about grieving the death of a parent, about isolation and longing, and it features an eight-legged taxidermied calf, a ghost town, and a nude ranch. Reading Sister Golden Calf, I was moved by the propulsive, sometimes breathless sentences, and the quiet, meditative moments where Gloria and Kit find space to grieve—a space that is a car, a body, a sister willing to travel to the ends of the earth. 

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Punk Hooks and Rare Books: An Interview With SAVAK

SAVAK

Since their formation in 2015, Brooklyn’s SAVAK have been on a tremendous run, releasing album after album of blistering garage-punk at an admirable pace. Their latest album, Flowers of Paradise, is a fantastic addition to their discography, blending a postpunk urgency with the sense of warmth that longtime musical compatriots can summon. I spoke with Sohrab Habibion and Michael Jaworski about the genesis of their new album, the rare book trade, and my inability to identify an EBow.

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Checking In With Lauren Denitzio of Worriers

Worriers

It’s been a busy year and change for Worriers‘ Lauren Denitzio. Their band has released two albums since the beginning of 2023: Warm Blanket and Trust Your Gut. Worriers is now on the road sharing bills with Alkaline Trio and Drug Church, and Denitzio’s excellent newsletter Get It Together is a go-to source for musings on the creative life and terrific musical recommendations. As Worriers makes their way across the country, I checked in with Denitzio about their latest albums, life in California, and tour reading.

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