News at the Toads

I reviewed British poet Scott Manley Hadley’s debut poetry collection, “Bad Boy Poet,” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse. The book, just out this week, is available from the publisher (Open Pen) and at Amazon (paperback and Kindle editions). Read my review here. My novel “Alma Lolloon” is now available in Kindle electronic edition format. You can…

Fall Calendar

The           Falling           A         l L       l   L is into W t e all   i h a u   n a falls g   t t fa h   e fall la     r   la…

Penina’s Paginations

For some, grammar might be understood as an attempt to control language, or to control a speaker. But the only way to establish complete control over a language is to kill it, which is probably or nearly impossible, because language possesses, like the planarian, the ability to reform or regenerate from a tiny piece of…

Blest Be the Tie that Binds

One year, on a trip north from Los Angeles, we stopped off at the University of California at Santa Cruz campus to visit a married couple, both in graduate school studying computer programing. When I asked about their projects, one of the students said she was working on a component that would become part of…

Conversation with My Google Assistant

Good morning! What? Is there something you’d like to say? No, not really. Well, what time is it? It’s morning. That’s why I said, “Good morning.” Would you like me to look something up for you? No. I could give you a weather report. No. Would you like to know what’s trending – No. Care…

Notes on Julian Gallo’s “The Penguin and The Bird”

Julian Gallo’s “The Penguin and The Bird” (2018, New Horizons Editions) is an impressionistic work. It functions as a graphic novel, but one without the drawings. There are 72 short chapters spread across 122 pages of text. The chapters are organized into four parts: “Her Mother’s Violin Early Autumn, 1979,” which concludes with Chapter 13,…

Notes on Jessica Sequeira’s “A Furious Oyster”

I was reading Jessica Sequeira’s debut novel, “A Furious Oyster” (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018), when the 30 August London Review of Books arrived in the day’s mail. A book review should reveal something unexpected, but to do that the book under consideration must be heard in a whisper. I turned to the review of Zadie Smith’s…

The Bananafish

A popular fish in some schools the deep sea swallower called the bananafish: Sansjawdsalumpigus. Though it lives on the floor of the aphotic zone, it is not bioluminescent; in fact, it’s invisible. Rising to the surface with changes of tide, mind, and mood, it’s worse by tens than the burbling Jabberwock. A bananafish is never…