Tagged: publications

Fall 2019 News & Updates

This happened:

photo by Karen Tongson

In September I got the opportunity to interview Tegan and Sara at Lambda Litfest, on the occasion of the release of their new memoir HIGH SCHOOL. They are wonderful, as is the book! I will write more about this in the next installment of Name Dropping, my occasional TinyLetter.

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My short story “Take Us to Your LDR,” a weird LDR alien sex simulation queer/trans breakup story, forthcoming in Epiphany Journal, has nominated for a Pushcart Prize — thank you, editors!

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photo by Temim Fruchter

In late October I visited Brown University for their new Authors in the Archives series and read with Lauren Russell, whose forthcoming work of documentary poetry DESCENT is going to be major. I shared work from The Feels (which draws on fan fiction from An Archive of Our Own), Proxies (which draws on court documents and media reports related to the Slender Man Stabbing), and a new, in-progress long essay called The Hooded Figure, which is about finding love while digging through the archives of Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian and simultaneously studying Philip Guston’s hood paintings.

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Speaking of Dodie, my 10,000 word profile of her is forthcoming in Dodie Bellamy Is On Our Mind,  to be published by Semiotext(e) in January 2020. (Save the date: NYC book launch will be February 27.) More on this book:

Dodie Bellamy (b. 1951, in North Hammond, Indiana) has lived and worked in San Francisco since 1978. A vital contributor to the Bay Area’s avant-garde literary scene, Bellamy is a novelist and poet whose work has focused on sexuality, politics, feminism, narrative experimentation, and all things queer. In her words, she champions “the vulnerable, the fractured, the disenfranchised, the fucked-up.”

Dodie Bellamy Is on Our Mind is the first major publication to address Bellamy’s prolific career as a genre-bending writer. Megan Milks made several trips to San Francisco in order to spend time with Bellamy and craft a provocative and fascinating profile of the writer. Originally delivered as a lecture at the Wattis Institute, Andrew Durbin’s text takes the form of a personal essay, expertly weaving anecdotes of his own encounters with Bellamy’s writing with insights into broader themes in her work. Academic Kaye Mitchell takes a close look at the role of shame and its relationship to femininity in particular texts by Bellamy. And Bellamy and her late husband Kevin Killian offer deeply personal, emotionally wrenching ruminations on topics from the mundane (drawing) to the profound (mortality). These texts, alongside archival photos and a complete bibliography make, this book an important compendium on Bellamy.

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I’ll be giving a talk about Kathy Acker, desire, and im/maturity at the upcoming Trans/Acker symposium, organized by McKenzie Wark, at The New School, on 11/22. Also appearing: Marquis Bey, Kay Gabriel, Juliana Huxtable, Grace Lavery, Torrey Peters, K. K. Trieu, and McKenzie Wark. (Our talks will be published on Public Seminar.)

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My review of Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House is now out on 4Columns.

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And I have some gossip. More soon in the next Name Dropping….subscribe here.

Fall 2017 Notes & News

Below find, in order, one dispatch from Communal Presence, some news, and a pile of enthusiasms.

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COMMUNAL PRESENCE

Last weekend I was in Berkeley for Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today, featuring the legends of New Narrative past and present: Bob Glück, Bruce Boone, Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian, Camille Roy, Renee Gladman, Dennis Cooper, Eileen Myles, Gabrielle Daniels, Matias Viegener, Roberto Bedoya, Rob Halpern, Gail Scott, yes yes and so on. Seeing all of these writers together in the same room was exhilarating and historical.

In the first plenary, devoted to Kevin and Dodie’s recent anthology Writers Who Love Too Much, Gabrielle, Matias, Roberto, Dennis, and Eileen each briefly shared their own histories and entanglements with New Narrative – how they found it, how it found them. Gabrielle, chronicling what she described as her “apprenticeship” with Bruce and Steve Abbott: “It was a time for my mind to be blown.” Roberto, on “being inside and outside of aesthetic ordering,” particularly as a writer of color: “in and out is a porous terrain of imagination.” Dennis: “Sometimes I was part of [New Narrative], like Kathy Acker, and sometimes we weren’t….now I’ve become lifelong friends with these writers.” Matias [I’m paraphrasing]: “all of us were thrown into these [given] families and then you get a choice, but so much randomness is involved…so many of the people here have become fixtures in my life, and it’s kind of miraculous.” Eileen: “I feel like I’m just hanging out with my teachers…in New York I had learned that you hung out with people who had what you wanted. Each of these guys had what I wanted and I happily took it.” Eileen on meeting Dennis: “We didn’t meet, our magazines met” (Eileen’s Dodgems meeting Dennis’s Little Caesar).

Later, Renee Gladman, in a panel called “New Enactments”: “To be in narrative now is to be in an already fractured state.” At the final marathon reading, she read a stunning piece that got cut out of Calamities; in it, she engaged with Gail Scott’s notion of “a community of sentences” to describe this whole moving architecture of interacting, communal language.

maxe

My panel was also a highlight! Sam Cohen and I organized “Bad Boundaries II: Ethics in New Narrative Writing” as a continuation of a panel we put on for the most recent &NOW Festival (2015 in Los Angeles). Maxe Crandall started it off with with a presentation on Poets Theater. “Why is Poets Theater ‘over,’” he asked, “when New Narrative is ongoing, ever-relevant?” He suggested that it may relate to a new cultural investment in the star system–“Poets Theater dies when the star system becomes real.” Three performances on Saturday revived Poets Theater works by Carla Harryman, Kevin Killian & Brian Kim Stefans, and Camille Roy; I trust Maxe (et al.) will keep the medium alive in new forms.

Our panel continued with Nikki Darling, whose paper made connections between New Narrative, magical realism, and experimental fiction as a whole, working to situate both Gloria Anzaldua and Lidia Yuknavitch within the tradition.

Then Sam and I read part of our chapbook in the works, which collects the two stories we each wrote about the other after our difficult breakup in 2015, and a conversation we’re calling “Processing: On Revision and Repair.” For the panel we read modified excerpts from that conversation, doing a kind of mutual overshare via public processing. The chapbook is an exercise in accountability and repair, and it’s a polarizing project: are we only poking at each other’s emotional leftovers, or are we working toward a new queer intimacy? We think the latter. Here we are with Stephen and Nikki post-panel.

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Stephen van Dyck, me, Sam Cohen, Nikki Darling (photo by Jess Horn)

Our panel competed with other good-looking panels, and there was much I missed overall. At the Saturday plenary, Rob Halpern and Camille Roy each read deeply affecting back-to-back pieces documenting care and grief for a lover’s gone body. And the opportunity to finally see OG New Narrativists Bob and Bruce read was a gift I don’t take for granted.

Kevin and Dodie’s Writers Who Love Too Much launches at Artists Space in NYC tomorrow. I reviewed it for 4Columns in April.

NEW OLD NAME NEWS

Presently going by both M. and Megan. For now I am liking holding onto my history in my name as I shift into a new embodiment. 

BURIED LEAD

I’ve got two books in the works and recently signed with Rachel Crawford at Wolf Literary Services, joining some of my favorite peer contemporaries: Tom Cho, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Sarah Gerard.

BOOK NOTES

I’d been working on a Best-of-2016 (yes, 2016!) type post that got sidetracked repeatedly by national and world events. Now I’ve turned it into an early Best of 2017(+), and I have beaten you all. Here are some (mostly) recently published books that have delighted and devastated me the past, oh, year or so.

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Myriam Gurba, Mean   Gurba’s first memoir is officially out in a week or two; I’ve got a review forthcoming in 4Columns, so more TK. But for now: the links Gurba makes here  between her own experiences of sexual assault and a much broader rape culture that pervades everything have new timeliness in connection with the Weinstein fallout and the #metoo movement. If you know Gurba’s work at all, you’ll be expecting clever, crass humor and Mean has it in spades: the book is both devastating and devastatingly funny.

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