I don’t know about you, but like a lot of writers, I read those “Notes on Contributors” that appear in anthologies and literary magazines. They give you real insight into the writing processes and pathologies of the people you call your colleagues or competition.
There are those we see as prolific:
LORRAINE LIFTSHOES has had poetry in more than 17,000 literary magazines in the past month. Recovering from a recent lung, kidney, and liver transplant, she has had to slow down considerably. “I feel a tremendous urge to write poems,” she says. “I can only wonder how much greater my output would be if I actually had anything to say.”
Of course, there are the experimental writers, those who maintain that the rules of expression worked out over the past eight to ten thousand years no longer do the job and must be broken or utterly abandoned in order to address the issues and peoples of a World Gone Ipod.
DON R. N. BLITZEN says, “I want to make my stories as incomprehensible as Life itself. Though I am of course constrained by the constraints of constraining language I have elucidated that former the sparrow Ulysses my electric morning mad foot dog toe whistles. Poot ape patootie.” He has won the National Book Award, the International Book Award, the Book Center for the Book Award, and was a first runner-up in the annual Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes lottery last year. As BLITZEN says of his latest non-novel, HOUSE OF MY FLICK FRIENDA: “Activate your flutie.”
Well before Swift suggested cooking Irish children (no fava beans but heavy on the parsley) and eating them right up (what, you’d eat ‘em without cooking ‘em?), literature has been seen as a means to advance causes:
KENYATTA MBULU LOBOTOMI (AKA Lincoln Smith): “I am black and an angry black and a proud angry black. I live in a racist, oppressive society dedicated to the physical and spiritual destruction of the black man, and it pisses me off.” In his senior year at Harvard, KENYATTA plans to enter the field of corporate law.
There are those who, unable to locate a different drummer to provide the beats take up arrhythmic banging on their own:
NICK PACHYDERMIS has published more than sixty short stories in My Mag, the little magazine he publishes, prints, and distributes from the trunk of his 1987 Chevrolet Nova. His novel, a dramatic fictionalizing of his traumatic experience helping his mother wrap Christmas gifts, is entitled Gifts Are Forgiving But I Am Not, and will be published as a special book length edition of My Mag. Of his work, he writes, “My stuff is too raw and real for the New York lit mob, and too true and tight for most of the small press elitists, so I publish it myself. It would be even better if I could just put things up on a website but I can’t, because they control the new media, too. You know they do.”
And when you have publication, you have … academia!
McBUNDY LAETRILE is an assistant professor of English at Some State University in East Jesus, Missouri. This is his first published poem, but he plans to write many more in that he likes his job and wants to keep it. “I get medical and there’s a dental plan.”
MARYLOU SWEETSWEAT won the prestigious TRELLIS PRIZE for
her work in translating the poems of e.e. cummings into English.
Though there are respectable folk a’plenty publishing these days, now that we have about 400 colleges offering Creative Writing majors, the field of literature still has a place for its true outlaws:
ANDREAS “MOONGLOW” HELDT is serving a 500 to 1,500 year term in Super-Max Solitary at a Prison that Cannot be Named Unless You’re Looking for A Number of Operatives to Do a Patriot Act on You. Convicted in 1983 of killing 46 children in the production of a kiddy porn snuff film, HELDT has come to regard imprisonment of anyone, but especially himself, as morally unjust. Later this year, BULLSHOT PRESS will bring out his first book, the fictional memoir, I Didn’t Do It 46 Times, But If I Did …
We encounter the editor/publisher wearing a different hat.
D.O.A. WISENESS continues to compile material for his planned anthology, Poems Of Famous Dead Poets. If you are a published dead poet, or plan to be in the near future, he urges you to contact him as soon as possible. Don’t bother to enclose SASE.
And sometimes we meet …
MORT CASTLE, who used to do standup but decided to sit down and write and who hopes, on occasion, and when intended, that he can still provide a laugh or two.
PS: Hey, it’s that season for giving–and you’ll have something to give if you first do some buying, buying, buying! No, don’t get DNW a paisley tie; he’s already got a handsome one. And forget those instructional audiotapes for Steve Saville: HOW TO TALK LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE. Everyone on your holiday list will want a copy of ON WRITING HORROR, from the Horror Writers Association, edited by yours truly and just released by Writer’s Digest Books.