Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer”

Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” contains everything Hemingway left out of “The Sun Also Rises,” which had left Ernest with the tincture of  a refined sentiment. That is one difference between the Jazz Age and the Great Depression. Turned out, we didn’t always have Paris; most of us never had it. From page 1 of…

The Amateur Spirit in Writing – Revisited

As The Coming of the Toads nears its 10th anniversary (our first post was Dec 27, 2007), we reflect on why and wonder what now. The new book, “Alma Lolloon,” is out (“look inside” here). “Out” may seem hyperbolic – it’s now available. Others trying to write and publish will get the difference. Most writers,…

Notes on Jessica Sequeira’s “Rhombus and Oval”

Notes on Jessica Sequeira’s “Rhombus and Oval” (117 pages), 2017, What Books Press, The Glass Table Collective, Los Angeles: “Rhombus and oval” is the title of the lead piece in this collection of stories by Jessica Sequeira, a translator of Spanish and French and a writer. The text of twenty-one stories runs 112 pages, each…

Alma Lolloon – Work in Progress

Continuing from last Saturday’s installment, from chapter one of my work in progress titled “Alma Lolloon,” the first chapter titled “Casting On.” The book is finished, but I’m still proofing and editing. I hope to have it out in December. Meantime, I plan to continue putting up excerpts here on Saturdays: from chapter one of…

Penina’s Letters, a Novel by Joe Linker

Ocean Surfing Love Letters War Epistolary Bildungsroman Santa Monica Bay Beach Cities School Work Family Friendship Self-deception Literary Fiction Folk Song Narrative… “Penina’s Letters” takes place in the beach cities along Santa Monica Bay, with a fictionalized beach town named Refugio squeezed in between El Porto and Grand Avenue. The town of Refugio takes the…

Kirill Medvedev: “It’s No Good”

Kirill Medvedev’s poems are easy to get into. He explains situations, tells stories about people. You don’t mind listening and want to hear more. He’s contemplative and calm and reasonable, even when he’s making a wakeup call, dissing and dressing down, asking why things can’t be rearranged. The vocabulary isn’t hard. The figurative language is…

Verlyn Klinkenborg: “Several short sentences about writing”

In the beginning was the word, and the word was a sentence. And the sentence was an assignment. And the assignment broiled in the brain, that alchemical brewpub of doubt. A devil came near, cooing, “Plagiarize, my dear; allow me to serve the sentence for you.” A good angel appeared: “Depart, ye fiends of papers…

A Pith Zany

And what he did last just before his personal power rose and surged then tweeted out was check his e-mail. “Heaven will be full of spam,” he decried, “because everyone wants to be there, while hell will be whiteout, an empty inbox.” “Or the other way around,” I replied. “Oh, that’s pithy,” he said. “And…

Watermarks from a Night Spring

Embers of a partially burned ocean In a box in a dank basement molting notes A weathered surfer slowly descends the creaking Worn stairs, dark swells yawning Fish eyed and barnacle knuckled he climbs Finds and opens the box, peers in, smells the pages Runs salted fingers over the raised words Rusting paper clips, chiseled…