Alright what the hell I’m writing stuff again

A poem of mine was just published in Paintbucket, who’ve swiftly became my favorite aggressive lefty poetry zine after I stumbled upon them a couple months back. The title is a reference to one of my favorite places in New Orleans. Ms Mae’s is a 24-hour dive bar across the street from both a church and a library, and has a reputation for being the cheapest bar in the city. It actually sold $1 well drinks until 2014 or so.

Trying to write about New Orleans has been a minor fear of mine for a while. There’s a blog called Fleur de Leaving which collects the overwrought goodbye letters entitled transplants write after the city didn’t roll out a red carpet for their derivative business ideas. They get printed every now and then in papers or local culture rags, always framing their personal failings as the city’s fault.

The city has its faults, but most of them are things that people in positions of power (landlords, technocrat grifters, lapdog politicians) inflict on the average resident. Not surprising to anybody with an ounce of class analysis under their belt, but eh, we aren’t going to get a lot of training in that with a completely privatized school system! Hopefully the piece reads like the frustration and despondency of living under exploitative systems, rather than the petulant carpetbagger who couldn’t manage to weasel their way into them.

Also hopefully I’ll be using this blog again now that I have a few things in the pipeline.

Next Left Press

As an author whose book was released through a small publisher, at the start, I was worried about what kind of quality my eventual book would have. I don’t mean the words that I put into it, I mean the aesthetics of it. You can’t read small press authors without picking up on the fact that there are some pretty good books out saddled with lazily-designed covers and the same pupil-numbing sans serif font used for everything inside. Adage be damned, a book’s appearance can entice or repulse potential readers, and sometimes a well-designed book can be an art object all its own. Mine isn’t necessarily, but I know somebody who has made several.

Geoff Munsterman, who designed Northern Dandy, made a beautiful book out of what otherwise would have just been “zachb_collection.rtf” sitting on my desktop. He got a gorgeous, thematic image for the cover, designed and arranged the title around it, and even kept its color scheme in line with the other collections Sapiosexual has released.

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His artful design touches are all over the thing — inside as well. It’s faint in the picture, but there’s a cursive shadow beneath every title. Classy! I didn’t give him any guidelines for the interior, it didn’t even occur to me, but he put a wonderful amount of thought into it. When I’m at a reading I need to dress up to look as good as this book. Geoff’s book designs are swanky enough to meet the dress code at Commander’s Palace.

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Geoff Munsterman, and his chapbook operation Next Left Press, have been severely hit by the recent flooding in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. He’s lost the vast majority of his bookmaking supplies, thread and paper, to say nothing of the numerous books in his personal collection. If any of you are in the market for poetry manuscript critiques, design work, or considering putting out a hand-bound chapbook, I’d urge you to get in touch with him. He has done amazing work for my friends and I, and I would not be nearly as excited about being an author if the book I’m pushing didn’t look as good as he made it.

You can see more examples of his work at http://www.nextleftpress.com/ and get in contact with him at nextleftpress@gmail.com.

Words & Music Reading!

Attention New Orleans literary scene!

I’ve been chosen to read at the Faulkner Society’s 25th annual Words & Music festival next week! If any of you will happen to be in the area, you can see me during the “Presentation of New Works” panel at the Hotel Monteleone on next Thursday, the 29th, at 4:45pm.

I’m wicked honored to have been included in the lineup, and I’m all too happy to let you know in advance that I’m reading a piece that debuted with the lewd & loquacious literati at Esoterotica. Those of you who can’t attend will be able to find an expanded version in print somewhere soon — the Faulkner folks are getting just the tip, baby, I promise.

Rhode Island is top tier!

A recent study published on PLOS ONE has determined the most racist areas of the United States based on the frequency with which locals have searched for the N-bomb on Google. Just look at Little Rhody burning bright in the upper-right corner of Figure 1!

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Ten bucks says the researchers accidentally included the contents of H.P. Lovecraft’s collected letters in there with the search statistics.