Dolan Morgan Launches That’s When the Knives Come Down with B.C. Edwards and Chelsea Hodson

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Thursday, September 4th, 2014 | 3,067 views

Dolan Morgan launched his debut collection of short stories That’s When the Knives Come Down at WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Joining him were B.C. Edwards and Chelsea Hodson. He gave out plastic knives to the crowd–a nod to the title of the collection–and brought with him vodka infused with the pages of his novel.

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A Poet on Bombing Or Pretending to be a Comic

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Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 | 2,668 views

People aren’t often taught how to deal with failure. Even watching interviews with famous people chat about missteps doesn’t seem to hit home because we never saw that part. Their disappointments seem cute as opposed to career questioning. For writers, failure is most evident on stage. Unlike piles of rejection slips one can stuff in a draw, light on fire, or scrapbook, in front of a crowd, a person has to respond. They must get comfortable with silence or deal with too much noise. This too is true of comedians and is why I sometimes pretend I’m a standup comic rather than a poet. Although maybe it’s because comics are the more socially acceptable of the low-paid artists. If you tell someone you’re a poet, they look confused; say you’re a comic, they fervently discuss Louis CK. Of course, a poet bombing looks rather different than a comic, but that image is fun to examine, and it still explores ideas of failure and heckling that are necessary for any artist.

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Justin Taylor and Jess Row Talk About Place

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Thursday, August 28th, 2014 | 3,721 views

Justin Taylor and Jess Row talk about place in writing at Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan, New York

Justin Taylor’s new collection of stories, Flings, traverses the globe with disconnected characters. Jess Row’s new novel, Your Face in Mine follows the story of Kelly Thorndike’s return to his hometown of Baltimore where he meets a former childhood friend who has undergone racial reassignment surgery, becoming a black man. The two met up at Housing Works to talk about the construction of place and setting in fiction.

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Vanessa Manko reads The Invention of Exile with Salman Rushdie

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 | 2,652 views

Vanessa Manko and Salman Rushdie discuss her debut novel, the invention of Exile at Powerhouse books in Brooklyn

Vanessa Manko’s debut novel, The Invention of Exile, explores the life of a man in exile. Russian national Austin Voronkov is deported from the United States during the first red scare and spends a lifetime trying to return. Manko launched the book, with help from H.I.P. Lit, at Powerhouse Arena, discussing the novel and what it means to be American with Salman Rushdie.

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Matthew Thomas Reads We Are Not Ourselves

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Thursday, August 21st, 2014 | 2,061 views

Matthew Thomas reads We Are Not Ourselves

Matthew Thomas read from his debut novel We Are Not Ourselves, an family novel based around Irish immigrants in New York City, at BookCourt in Brooklyn. Thomas was born in the Bronx and raised in Queens, but he says his grandmother lived in an apartment in Brooklyn not far from BookCourt until the 1990s. Then she paid, he estimated, a mere $170 a month. In college at the time, he had begged his family to hold onto the apartment. Now he figures the apartment is probably closer to $4,000. “Brooklyn is so different in general,” he muses.

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Solitude and the Proximity to Infinite Things

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014 | 2,482 views

One of the worst things in the world is when I decide that it is now— this instant— a perfect time to sing. The song is “Cuckoo.” The song is warm, short and sweet. Heated honey roasted peanut butter in a warm bowl. It is solitary. As it plays, nostalgia boils inside my body, caves […]

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In Defense of Rejection

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Monday, August 11th, 2014 | 4,382 views

Rejection has always been a part of being a writer, of being an artist. There is something heroic in the idea of the writer who persists in the face of crushing rejection, and it’s perhaps why famous writers seem to love talking about the rejection they suffered before finally breaking through.

In his book On Writing, Stephen King describes using a railroad spike to pin his numerous rejection letters to the wall. Sylvia Plath’s surprisingly optimistic take on rejection letters was that they “show me I try,” while Isaac Asimov said that they “are lacerations of the soul…but there is no way around them.” Writers bond over rejection like soldiers in trenches. In “The Eleventh Draft,” an essay published in a collection of the same name, novelist and short story writer Chris Offutt describes his goal as an MFA student at the University of Iowa of accumulating a hundred rejection letters in a year. Rejection, because it was inevitable, became a badge of honor.

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Mark Chiusano Reads Marine Park with Dave Daley

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Thursday, August 7th, 2014 | 2,913 views

Mark Chiusano and Dave Daley discuss the story collection Marine Park

Mark Chiusano’s debut collection of stories, Marine Park, chronicles the lives of the often overlooked Brooklyn neighborhood by the same name. The characters populating Chiusano’s world sometimes leave, but in the end, all are tied to the place. Salon editor Dave Daley joined Chiusano at McNally Jackson Books for a discussion of the collection, the neighborhood, and Brooklyn.

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