Five Fiction Reviews: Dimock, Saer, Murong, Lispector, Mellis

I reviewed five fiction titles for the latest (and sadly, the last) issue of Harp & Altar: NONE OF THIS IS REAL by Miranda Mellis; A BREATH OF LIFE by Clarice Lispector; LEAVE ME ALONE by Murong Xuecun; SCARS by Juan José Saer; and GEORGE ANDERSON by Peter Dimock.

“None of This Is Real… manages to speak precisely to that helplessness and guilt permeating the simultaneity of the climate-changed, apocalypse-always zeitgeist and the rapturous technowonderful singularity as advertised on your hand-holding device.”

Read the reviews here.

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This great issue of Harp & Altar also has: poetry and fiction by Tom Andes, Jessica Baran, Leopoldine Core, Ian Dreiblatt, Matthew Klane, Linnea Ogden, Jennifer Pilch, Michael Rerick, Jason Snyder, Donna Stonecipher, Sally Van Doren, and Tom Whalen; Jesse Lichtenstein on The Arcadia Project; Bianca Stone on Farrah Field; Michael Newton’s gallery reviews; and art by Adam Stolorow.

Harp & Altar #6 now available!

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Harp & Altar announces the release of its sixth issue

It was a nice two-syllable name. Hart Crane. Even one. He was the son of a candy-maker, the one who invented life-savers. Hart Crane drowned, so that was pretty strange. I read everything he wrote which was only White Buildings and The Bridge which I found a little impossible. And then the fat biography and his letters. I had never read anyone’s letters before. I was 27. It was good being a journalist or whatever I was now because I could do all the reading that was too much in college because now I was getting paid to know. I could see in my reading that Hart was trying to write the great long American poem and I think it was beyond him. Not because he wasn’t great, but the long poem idea seems a little stretched thin and who needs it, really. But Hart kept finding patrons and getting grants. He was like a comic ingenue. He winds up completely isolated on an tropical island in a hurricane or else getting thrown out of Mexico on his Guggenheim he was such a drunk. Meanwhile, writing writing the bridge. Why has no one ever made this film. He was a very familiar man. I felt I knew him. A prematurely white-haired fag, shy-faced and handsome. Wearing one of those Russian sailor shirts he was always leaning against a tree or posing in a group, distractedly touching his own face. He seemed to be gazing into another world. My father looked that way in our family pictures. I figured it meant you were gay. There’s one of me when I was thirteen sitting with all of my friends and I was doing it. Looking right through the camera, back at myself but pleased. Usually the other people in the picture seem to be actually in the world. They’re stopping the balloon from floating off.
-Eileen Myles, from “hart!”

Also: poetry by Kate Greenstreet, Jennifer Hayashida, Karla Kelsey, Justin Marks, Patrick Morrissey, Rob Schlegel, and Andrei Sen-Senkov, translated by Zachary Schomburg; prose by Roberta Allen, Stephen-Paul Martin, Joanna Ruocco, and David Wirthlin; Jared White on Brandon Shimoda and Michael Zeiss on Kafka; an excerpt from Lisa Jarnot’s biography of Robert Duncan; and Michael Newton’s gallery reviews.

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harp & altar #5 now up!

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harp & altar #5 has new poetry, fiction, and essays for your recurrent, sweet, sad days… including new fiction from joshua cohen, evelyn hampton, lily hoang, peter markus, bryson newhart and some re(-dis)covered robert walser translations. also: poetry by stephanie anderson, jessica baron, julia cohen, claire donato, elizabeth sanger, peter jay shippy, and g.c. waldrep; patrick morrissey on john taggart and matthew henriksen on anywhere; michael newton’s gallery reviews; and artwork by a.l. steiner + robbinschilds…

Robert Walser
From “Oskar”
He began this strange behavior at a very early age by going his own way and finding such evident pleasure in being alone. In later years he recalled very clearly that nobody had made him aware of such things. All by itself the strange need to be alone and apart had appeared, and was there… Even though it was winter, he would have no heating. He did not want any comforts. Everything around him had to be rough, inhospitable, and miserable. He wanted to bear and endure some thing, and ordered himself to do so. And that, nobody had told him either. All alone he had the idea that it would be good for him to order himself to bear hardship and malice in a friendly and good-hearted manner. He considered himself to be at a kind of upper-level school. He went to university there, as a weird and wild student…

Bryson Newhart
from “Paterfamilias”
After compulsory relocation to Hornville, Misery’s family lived in a skyscraper made of living flesh. The building’s eyes served as windows that were barely transparent, and although it was said that the heavens were out there, no one could see them. The people who lived in the building wore internal helmets injected into their ears by the doorman, who was also a skilled surgeon. On any given day, one was either deaf to the world, or everything was painfully amplified, but it was worth it. The human head was indestructible. When people died, the government shot their heads into the sun…

Evelyn Hampton
From “Discomfort”
While I am talking with him I am also walking, and I’ve lost track of where I am by the time our conversation pauses. Curtains get in the way, obstructing light as clutter obstructs movement. He is not someone I have ever been comfortable with—I can’t recall his name—so I am more aware of my body while I’m walking and intonation while I’m talking than I am when with a familiar person, whose ways of judging me won’t surprise me. It doesn’t help that he’s a back-patter and an arm-grabber, likes to touch while conversing…

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