The Bastard Who Last Cut My Hair

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Monday, August 24th, 2015 | 2,636 views

It’s always been six or eight weeks since my last cut, and I always want the same thing, which is to get my hair back to the way it was when I last had it cut by DeWayne. DeWayne mans the chair next to the bastard in this three-chair barbershop in Oak Grove, Oregon, an unincorporated suburb of Portland that doesn’t boast a multitude of options, so I have to take what I can get. Of course, my solution should be to get my hair cut by DeWayne every time, but this is one of those antiquated places that doesn’t take appointments, which means my options are to come through the front door, declare “I’ll wait for DeWayne,” have a seat, and wait for DeWayne to finish his last charge. Or I can just get my hair cut by the always-available John.

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Helen Phillips Discusses The Beautiful Bureaucrat with Jenny Offill

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Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 | 2,649 views

Helen Phillips and Jenny Offill discuss THE BEAUITFUL BUREAUCRAT at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan

Helen Phillips was at McNally Jackson books discussing her debut adult novel The Beautiful Bureaucrat with Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation. Phillips previously published the short story collection And Yet They Were Happy, as well as a children’s adventure book Where the Sunbeams are Green.

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These Two Lanes Will Take Us Anywhere: Alice Munro and Bruce Springsteen

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Monday, August 17th, 2015 | 2,360 views

Having just published my first book, I am often asked about my influences. I have a great list to rattle off: Lorrie Moore, Jo Ann Beard, Laurie Colwin, Justin Torres, Amy Hempel, Junot Diaz. I could go on. But, if I had only two pedestals to erect, I know who they’d be for: Alice Munro and Bruce Springsteen.

Although I am from New Jersey, my love of the Ontario writer Alice Munro long predates my discovery of Freehold’s own Bruce Springsteen. Given my feelings toward my home state during the period I was first learning about music—like many people, my middle and high school years—it follows that I would have dismissed Springsteen as resoundingly not for me. Munro, on the other hand, I came to early. She was the first author I ever learned about who eschewed novels, publishing only story collections. Some consider Lives of Girls and Women or The Beggar Maid to be novels, but in those books, each story works separately, while still coming together to comprise a whole. Munro’s protagonists are primarily, if not always, girls or women. They are not always, or even often, beautiful. She not only allows tragedy to befall her characters, but she allows them to commit horrible acts. In other words, she lets them be real. I aspire to her bravery in this regard; I still find it hard to reveal the ugliness in my characters. Even more aspirational than her plot or her characters, though, are her sentences.

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5 Questions for Angel Nafis

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Friday, August 14th, 2015 | 1,814 views

Free Water tonight, Angel Nafis

Angel Nafis will be reading at Free Water 8 on Friday, August 14th, at KGB, at 7 p.m. along with Tommy Pico, Lynn Melnick, and Morgan Parker.

What is the best poetry advice you’ve received?

Angel Nafis: Reading is writing too.

What are you currently working on?

Nafis: Bars! Writing hella Bars. My second book full of Bars. Bars-City, USA, population me.

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5 Questions for Morgan Parker

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Thursday, August 13th, 2015 | 1,871 views

Free Water and Morgan Parker's Other People's Comforts Keeps Me Up At Night

Morgan Parker will be reading at Free Water 8 on Friday, August 14th, at KGB, at 7 p.m. along with Tommy Pico, Lynn Melnick, and Angel Nafis.

What is the best poetry advice you’ve received?

Morgan Parker: Write drunk, edit sober.

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5 Questions for Tommy Pico

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 | 2,151 views

Free Water 8 with Tommy Pico

Tommy Pico will be reading at Free Water #8 on Friday, August 14th, at KGB, at 7 p.m. along with Morgan Parker, Lynn Melnick, and Angel Nafis.

What is the best poetry advice you’ve received?

Tommy Pico: Milk, milk, lemonade: around the corner, verse is made! Juuuust kidding. I think it was probably something like, “don’t be so vain” both with regard to my nerves while reading in front of people, and being too precious with the “I” of the poem. Like the speaker or whoever shouldn’t be the hero, the smartest, the best, the most witty or the most complex.

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5 Questions for Lynn Melnick

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Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 | 2,216 views

Free Water 8!

Lynn Melnick will be reading at Free Water #8 on Friday, August 14th, at KGB, at 7 p.m. along with Morgan Parker, Tommy Pico, and Angel Nafis.

What is the best poetry advice you’ve received?

Lynn Melnick: Alice Walker said “If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?” That’s the best poetry advice I’ve received. But do you mean advice that I’ve personally received? One time a man told me he couldn’t take me seriously as a writer because I wear a lot of dresses so I’ve continued to wear a lot of dresses.

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An Interview with Lexi Beach, Owner of Astoria Bookshop

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Monday, August 10th, 2015 | 6,570 views

Astoria Bookshop in Queens

With wife Connie Rourke, Lexi Beach established The Astoria Bookshop in August 2013. The 1,200 square foot storefront under the elevated N/Q train line has become a community hotspot, patronized by several Queens-based writing collectives and reading series, including Boundless Tales, the LIC Reading Series and Oh! Bernice. The store hosts a book club, a storytime for children’s books, the occasional celebrity author, and maintains an active calendar.

Elizabeth Frank: You recently (7/14/15) tweeted: “Anyone worried about the future of independent bookstores should take a look in my front windows today. Mobbed.” Can you describe what was going on that day?

Lexi Beach: That was the day that Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman came out. The store was packed from open to close. We offered some happy hour drinks and snacks to customers, to celebrate the publication, and then our regular monthly open mic storytelling show was that evening, as well, so there was quite a crowd by 6pm.

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