Saturday, December 27, 2008



NOÖ [9]NOÖ [9]NOÖ [9]
NOÖ [9]NOÖ [9]NOÖ [9]
NOÖ [9]NOÖ [9]NOÖ [9]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NOÖ Loves Everyone #4: Blake Butler

Blake Butler's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Caketrain, DIAGRAM, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, LIT, Action Yes, Unsaid, New York Tyrant, and other places. He is the author of Ever, a novella forthcoming from Calamari Press (Winter 2008). He is the author of Scorch Atlas, a novel in stories forthcoming from Featherproof Books (Fall 2009). He coedits No Colony, edits Lamination Colony, edits the internet literature magazine blog of the future: HTMLGIANT, and blogs at He lives in Atlanta, GA.

I emailed him the questions and he emailed me back his answers.


1) Can you talk about your history with writing? How did you get started?

I have hands and a brain so writing I think just happened, it might be as arbitrary as getting really into eating pretzels, is there anyone who is so into eating pretzels and spends so many years at it in intense daily practice that they've become demonstrably better at pretzel eating than anyone else in the world, or at least of a class above the average citizen deserving of a benchmark equal to publication as a writer? I have no idea. I remember once I got to hear Allen Ginsberg say 'fuck' in my high school english class, I thought that was really awesome, I think I started trying to write poems after that, I think I wrote shitty poetry for 5 years before I read INFINITE JEST and started writing shitty fiction, I think it took another 5 years before I started feeling anything I wrote could be classified outside 'shitty' in a way that meant I wouldn't feel embarassed to show it to someone else or something, but still shitty in a good way, in that I see it as covered in shit, which is one thing I like to see in fiction. Words covered in or made of shit, though not necessarily about shit. There should be more figurative 'shit' in writing. That's not trying to be funny. Cool.

2) You write a lot of lists, it seems, when you're not working on novels and stories. "List Prayer," which we published in issue seven, follows that standard format of 50 items and is part of the project you call 2500. You told DIAGRAM that you write these lists in your Gmail browser. Why do you like the 'list' format? Do you write these lists quickly or does it take a lot of time for you to move from one number to the next?

I started writing lists in the mornings at work when I worked at a law firm and always had to be on the phone, I was supposed to be calling out or answering calls x # of times an hour or something, and I hate feeling like I've spent an entire day in the service of someone else, so in the minutes between calls I started making lists one or two lines at a time, and it actually served me well I think to have my brain pulled out between each item like that, as it caused a kind of jumping in the early lists that I am having trouble finding the same cause for in the later ones now that I no longer work there. I think the first one happened because my boss at that job said good morning to me for the x #th day in a row and I hate being told good morning, especially when I am coming in to work for some fuck, so the first list started like that and I think I did 13 of them before they laid off half the office. I usually write them in bursts, when I get into the mood of making a list, though I've been stuck on 46 for like 6 months now, I don't know if I'll ever finish the set of 50, or if I even want to now.

More so, though, I think all writing, in essence, is based on lists: if you can make a really good list you can effectively create the chain of momentum or logic or language that makes up stories or novels or poems or whatever, however deeply or not deeply veiled it appears to the reader. Even the fully language-based writing in which there seems no linearity or sense of order, those thoughts 9 times out of 10 were culled out of the author's head in some ordered form or linear cause: there is some embedded structure that moves in ways counted. The further I've found myself delving into this idea of learning to understand list formats, the more 'successful' I've felt in figuring out what was coming out of me, which is not necessarily the same thing as 'what I was trying to say.'

3) Recommend for us some recent favorites: stories, books, literary magazines, authors, etc.

Rachel B. Glaser's PEE ON WATER in New York Tyrant 4, an unpublished, untitled story about muffins and Simon Cowell by some 11 year old kid from Alpharetta GA, Sean Kilpatrick's HUBBY, both published novels by Eugene Marten, Nina Shope's IN URBEM (excerpts) in Salt Hill 21, Derek White's MARSUPIAL, Sam Pink's YUM YUM I CAN'T WAIT TO DIE, Stanley Crawford's LOG OF THE S.S. THE MRS. UNGUENTINE, Johannes Goransson.

4) Give us some news on current projects and publications. What's going on with you?

I am finishing up final edits my novella EVER which will be out from Calamari Press by Jan 09. I have another book lined up for release in fall 09 that I have not announced yet [Blake Butler has since announced this book: Scorch Atlas, forthcoming Fall 2009 from Featherproof Books]. I have two more surrealist novels I am sending around. I am writing what I think will be a very long very ridiculous novel called RICKY'S ANUS about a guy named Ricky and his body and his mother, which I daily variate between planning to delete when I am done and sending around to be laughed at by publishers who are in no way interested in getting past the scene on page 2 or something where Ricky is jacking off his grandmother in the slurred backyard in front of a pack of dogs. I don't know what's going on with me.

5) Where do you see your writing in 5 years?

As far as process, I will either be doing the exact same thing I am doing right now every day I think or I will have given it up entirely. I don't know which I hope for.

As far as content, maybe that scene in the Shining with that sentence, but a different sentence, one that means even less.

6) Mike Young taught twelve year olds last summer. He says that together they read a few flash fiction pieces. Mike Young wanted to know how you would teach flash fiction to someone half that age, a six year old?

I would give them a crayon and a candy and lay down in the floor.

7) What are your interests beyond writing?

I don't have any. I don't even like writing that much. Yeah I do. Writing kicks total ass. Other things kick ass too. I like to eat. I think I played tennis once, I couldn't get it back across the net. I like to take a shower. I like when there is someone knocking but then they go away. I like candy a lot. I like going to movies by myself or with other people. I like kicking Ryan Call in the head. I like entering. I like, um, going for a run if there is going to be an old woman walking her very small dog in my way. I like to put cheese on pretzels and then leave it sitting. I like to leave. I like to come back. I like to look at a piece of paint under my head.

8) Word association game with words from the first book I blindly pulled from my bookshelf, The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor. Okay, now I randomly picked words from the titles of the stories. Type whatever word or some text that comes to mind:

Pilgrims = James Brown cooch pants
Drugstore = Dogs are going to look
1939 = 20 20 is a tv show
Heads = A brandy and a spinach teeter totter
Spinster = I hate this
Fancy = Nancy + I feel bad that I said I hate this, but that's what I really thought

9) Don't feel bad.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

number 9 number 9

NOÖ [nine] is almost here! Check out this tentative list of contributors:

Nick Antosca
Deborah Blakely
Vittorio F. Cavalli
John Casey
Jimmy Chen
Christopher Cheney
Tanya Chernov
Jack Christian
Brooklyn Copeland
Michael DeForge
Rachel B. Glaser
Evelyn Hampton
Kyle Hemmings
Michael Hsiung
Grace Jamison
Michael Jauchen
Gregory Lytle
Erika Mikkalo
Patricia Parkinson
Adam Peterson
Ashley Reaks
Peter Jay Shippy
Jimmy Sober
Randy Thurman

plus reviews by Bradley Sands, Gabe Durham, and Bryan Coffelt of the following authors: Sam Pink, Chelsea Martin & Ellen Kennedy & Caroline Lacey, Aaron Lowinger, and Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NOÖ Loves Everyone #3: Antonios Maltezos

Read more about the NOÖ Loves Everyone project
Antonios's daughter in a museum

Antonios Maltezos's fiction has appeared in elimae, Hobart, Night Train, Pindeldyboz, SmokeLong Quarterly, Ghoti, Pequin, Per Contra and many more. Find out more by visiting his blog.

1) Can you talk about your history with story writing? How did you get started?

I started really late. My first publication was Slingshot Magazine, in 2003, I think. Before that, I was writing in a vacuum, pure gibberish even my mother couldn't understand, a couple stories a year, submitting to magazines like Fiddlehead and Prism, and then waiting months for my envelopes to find their way back to me. But I think our writing lives work like dog years once we get that first pub. Slingshot feels like ages ago though it was only in 2003. But if I keep working backwards, I probably started the process of seriously trying to become a writer in 1993, when I switched from Psychology to English. Was that the beginning of the rest of my life? Did I see the light? Bah, bullshit. I'd given up on Psychology and switched to English because I didn't think I could succeed in any other program. But there was more prestige and honor among my relatives as a Psych student. I had a devil of a time explaining to people why I'd switched. What was I going to do for money with an English Literature degree - was on everyone's mind, mine included. So those first years were kinda hard. I felt aimless, alone, misunderstood, except maybe by my dear mother who'd written poetry in Greek as a young woman. To her, there was much dignity and honor in my choice to pursue my writing. She did keep me going. But Like I said, I was writing gibberish. I've never been too smart at organizing, collecting, rearranging. Most of what I write, even today, is fueled by simple emotions, which makes the writing both easy and difficult. I'm sure there are others like me. I get biggish ideas, but they come to me in that huge, oversized print like for blind people. So I got tunnel visionitus, which is probably why I write so much flash. I also envy people who say they've always written, from as far back as they can remember, people whose parents were educated, well-read. My father was a cab driver and I had to explain words from the newspaper to him. Loved both my parents, but seriously, I don't think I can say writing came easy for me. I only put away my Stephen King books in 93, when I went into the English Literature program. You can imagine what that was like. But still, I managed to graduate with honors, my favorite teacher, Professor Mendelssohn, elling me I'd made him nervous in class because I was always so focused on what he was saying. I didn't want to miss a thing. I was playing catch up. Still am, still feel I got no business doing this.

2) Your story "Garbage" in NOÖ Journal [five] made me feel uncomfortable and kind of electric. A lot of this deals with the undercurrent of violence, I think, between the brothers, between the family and the gulls, between everything. What do you see as the role of violence in literary fiction?

Between everything. That's good. There's a new show on the Discovery channel called Verminators. It's about an extermination company and their travails. If I'm snacking when they're showing a close up, I'll squint my eyes, allowing just enough light to hit my retinas so I know the scene has changed. But I love the show and I'll keep watching, wolfing down my snacks during the commercial breaks. Violence has the same kind of effect on people as a close-up of a cockroach has on me when I'm eating. I want to see what's behind your fridge, but not while I'm eating. People drool at violence in their blockbuster movies, but they fear it in their lives. For me, it's a scab I can't leave alone.

3) Recommend for us some recent faves: stories, books, literary magazines,
authors, etc.

Iron Man!

4) Give us some news on current projects or publications.

I have a couple publications I'm proud of: My Dead Partner in Per Contra. Beautiful in Smokelong. My Wandering Angel in Pequin. I'm also a first reader for Vestal Review -- a gig I'm enjoying.

5) Where do you see your writing in five years?

Better than it is now? If the next five come and go like those dog years since 2003, then I'm not worried. I'll try and enjoy them, try and keep the fire burning, the hope alive.

6) I taught twelve year olds last summer. We read a few flash fiction pieces. How would you explain flash to someone half that age, a six year old?

Oh, crap. You don't need to explain flash fiction to kids. They get it already. It's how they live their lives, in increments of one startling moment to another. In between, it's just scribbling on the walls.

7) What are your interests beyond writing?

I run a brasserie kitchen, so I guess I'm into that hustle and bustle.

8) Word association game with words from your story. Say whatever comes to

Found = Herpes
Father = Jowls
Hungry = Budapest
Fresh = tomatoes
Hair = grey and thinning
White = sheets

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NOÖ Loves Everyone #2: Arlene Ang

Read more about the NOÖ Loves Everyone project

Arlene Ang is the author of The Desecration of Doves (2005), Secret Love Poems (Rubicon Press, 2007) and Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008), co-written with Valerie Fox. She lives in Spinea, Italy where she serves as a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. More of her writing may be viewed at

1) Can you talk about your history with poetry? How did you get started?

I started writing poetry in high school, mostly to do with homework. I also enjoyed passing cheeky notes in class pretending to be this Mad Magazine character who speaks in verse, tells everyone he'd stop but then get worse. That, or I was pretending to be one of the witches in Macbeth. Talk about lowly beginnings.

2) Your poem "Swirling" in NOÖ [five] calls attention to the way we fill our lives with marginal players, the idea that we're all our own heroes walking around in a world full of stories we don't know. What's funny to me is that it's such a serious theme, such a serious poem, really, and yet on your blog you're always very funny and full of smiley faces. How do you reconcile those moods in your poetry? Are they like two strangers, like the speaker and the cleaning lady in "Swirling," or is it all pretty easy?

Funny that you should mention! People said the same thing about my dad, who was an artist. I remember the vet sidling up to me to whisper the moment his back was turned, "I saw your dad's work in the Sunday newspaper! Those scary, rabid dogs! No one believed me when I said he's my client, that he actually... loves... dogs!" How to explain this? In all forms of art, we tend to express how we feel but this feeling doesn't necessarily reflect how we are in real life. "Swirling" is indeed a sad poem, not something I've experienced myself, but observed in the lives of old people in Italy.

I do like the analogy you made between me/writing and the speaker/cleaning lady. The concept of writing poetry as a way for the self to clean up after itself in some psychological way is fascinating, something to explore under a microscope.

3) Recommend for us some recent faves: poems, books, literary magazines, poets, etc.

I finally received my copies of Forklift, Ohio (#12, #18) and loving them -- it's probably the only print journal I can't live without. I'm also rereading Andrea Barrett's gorgeous collection of short stories, Ship Fever. And then there's Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy -- a fantasy novel that hits closer to reality than a history book: first I hated it, then I worshiped it... but only after brooding over its depressing implications for a whole week. Recent poets I've gone bonkers for would be Barbara DeCesare, Dobby Gibson, Sean Lovelace, Andrew Mossin and Ronald Palmer.

4) Give us some news on current projects or publications.

Bundles of Letter Including A, V and Epsilon, a poetry collection I wrote with Valerie Fox was recently published by Texture Press. We have some readings this October scheduled in Philadelphia to help market the book. I'll post our schedule on my blog before I leave on the 16th in case anyone would like attend.

5) Where do you see your writing in five years? It's okay if you don't think like this. Be as fantastical as you'd like.

In five years, I plan to get my most worthwhile writing on the internet or in print. Burglars have been going through the flats in our condo like a sieve, stealing fur coats and computers. Last week they ransacked the flat next door. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Once they steal this computer, everything will be gone, gone, gone!!!

I like doomsday scenarios, don't you?

6) I taught twelve-year-olds last summer. How would you explain poetry to someone half that age, a six year old?

The nearest age group I've encountered personally is my three-year-old niece... and explanations have little effect on her. I did notice that she tends to imitate what she sees or hears -- if it tickles her fancy enough. Maybe it would be a better idea to read poetry aloud with kids, make them live the experience. Something fun to help generate their interest, like Ogden Nash's poems or a Dr Seuss book.

7) What are your interests beyond poetry?

The first thing that comes to mind is food, eating more than cooking. In a half-hearted manner, I take pictures creatively. I'm also something of a video game addict. Taken with moderation, I like liquor -- color and taste not particularly important. Oh, and yes, eavesdropping on the conversations of strangers.

8) Word association game with words from your poem. Say whatever comes to mind:

Clean = House
Storm = Water
War = Horse
Here = Burglar
First = Now
Keys = Stroke

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NOÖ Loves Everyone #1: Alex Burford

Read more about the NOÖ Loves Everyone project

Alex Burford is the co-editor of Pinch Pinch Press. His work has appeared in Cannot Exist, Listenlight, NOÖ Journal, Pindeldyboz, and is forthcoming in Lamination Colony and Robot Melon. He lives in Ashland, OR.

1) Can you talk about your history with poetry? How did you get started?

Four years ago actually, when I met you and Bryan Coffelt. You joked about Billy Collins, so I went out and bought a copy as soon as I could. I was surprised by how much it sucked. And like everybody else I started by writing really trite, cutesy poems that left me feeling like a lifeless hack. Luckily I had good friends who kept pushing me forward. I think the collaboration between our friends really helped get my feet soggy in that old poetic stew. Having Kasey Mohammad as my poetry professor / friend didn't hurt either.

2) Your poem "The Ghost of Wells" in NOÖ Journal [eight] is, ostensibly, a poem about language degradation, but in a fun and actually degraded way. Can you talk some about its inceptions, its furniture, or funny things that happened before/after you wrote it?

This poem went against how I like write poetry actually. I've always been a big proponent of Jack Spicer, the idea of making yourself a kind of radio receiver for "green martians" that rearrange the language furniture in my brain, and this poem began like that, but I found myself injecting little bits of my own opinion against, what felt like, my own will. I was forcing my own hand in a way. I was really surprised when I read it a few days later because what I meant to say didn't really come across in a recognizable way, which was wonderful.

3) Recommend for us a recent book of poetry, blog, or web site, and why.

I just read the Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan and I can't recommend that book enough. His use of collage and false translations are wicked cool, and there's a real beauty in the disjointed language and associations he pulls together in some of his prose poems. We kind of have the same beard too. Other than that... I'm really in love with Gawker. I feel weird about it but I check the site, like, 10 times a day. And the online journal Spooky Boyfriend. Really great writers and really great name.

4) Give us some news on current projects or publications.

I was recently published in Cannot Exist #3, online at Pindeldyboz, and self-published an e-chapbook called Elocutioneering which can be found on my blog. I'm working on a few chapbooks, I just need people to publish them (I suck big time at design). Also I co-edit Pinch Pinch Press and are SO CLOSE to printing our lit mag Barnaby Jones issues 1&2.

5) Where do you see your writing in five years?

I've always wanted to move to Chicago.

6) I taught twelve year olds last summer. How would you explain poetry to someone half that age, a six year old?

Write something pretty, then make it ugly, and then make it pretty again. Try not to talk about yourself in a way anyone would ever understand it is you. And please try not to cry.

7) What are your interests beyond writing?

I enjoy flannel, Spanish, beards, music, Westerns, publishing, collaborating, reading.

8) Word association game with words from your poem. Say whatever comes to mind:

Breathing = felt-lips
Knee = functions
Bee = vessel
Sex = Youngstown
Only = oregano
Dumb = blow dryer

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NOÖ Loves Everyone

Announcing the NOÖ Loves Everyone: The Interview Project. This project will launch October 1st, which is only a few hours away.

Here's what it is: we plan to interview every single one of the contributors in that list to your right. This will give you a chance to meet the cool people whose work you've read, see how they tick, read what they're up to now.

We'll go in first name alphabetical order, just like the list.

If you're a past contributor and you've got some hot news and want to be interviewed right away, that's cool: hit us up. We'll make it happen. That's my new phrase. "Make it happen." I think people in the 90s used that phrase a lot, but I have just recently embraced its chunky obnoxiousness as "can-do heft."

This project will start in October and continue--well, forever, but certainly into November, which will see the release of NOÖ [nine]. Start your engines! That's not my new phrase. But I like it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

good time for bad poetry

If you like what we do, we'd like it ever so much if you'd scoot on over to the BAD POETRY page, kind people. We're going to launch a more subtle and meaty fundraiser soon, but in the meantime: any help you can give is much appreciated. We publish the print edition of NOÖ out of our own pockets and with help from donations (i.e. no ads, no school funding), and then we give it away for free. All donors are thanked in our Acknowledgments section and receive a free bundle of NOÖs.

If you don't really need BAD POETRY (though who doesn't?), we've created a Donate button over to your right.

Really, every little bit helps. Thanks!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

officer i swear

Welcome to the official NOÖ Journal blog! This is different than Editor Mike Young's personal blog. It's also different than the front page of NOÖ Journal, which is where we post NOÖ related news.

Why all the confusion?

My friends, these are confusing times. As the governor of Alaska, I've stood waste-deep--wait, waist deep, yeah, I have a very pretty waist--in a vat of trouble that was also a vat of fine Northwest suckerfish.

Seriously enough: this blog is intended to keep NOÖ an open node in the world of small press and online literature. What we'll do here is post about the accomplishments of our contributors: new books, new gallery shows, etc. We'll also post about new issues of magazines we like, new chapbooks from presses we like, all that sort of stuff.

If you're a contributor or a literary venture, and you have anything you'd like us to post about, send an email to with FOR BLOG in the subject line, and we'll get right on it.

Support indie lit! Keep the lights on.