Sunday, August 3, 2008


The Pineapple Express was great. Sean informed me after we got out of the theater that, "They give more tickets away than they have seats for," since he's been to advance screenings before. I'm glad that happened after we saw the movie, even though there were still a decent amount of seats left. And funnily enough we couldn't take our cell phones in. Mine's so old I can't even take video. Is it really going to help the movie to not leak? And a clip that's a minute and a half on YouTube? People will still see it.

There were nods to Knocked Up, Ding-A-Ling-Less (and a quick Robert Longstreet cameo at the beginning), George Washington ("You gotta be the dumbest motherfucker in captivity," though in the aforementioned it's sans curse), and probably a few others. Admittedly, it was much weirder than I thought it was going to be. Yes, much of it seemed improvised. It's Seth Rogan, so he kind of plays the same deadbeat type of character too. James Franco's pretty hilarious, and Craig Robinson has a pretty hilarious supporting role. Danny McBride, a la the All the Real Girls deleted scenes, really gets to have his moments, and I imagine people may get a bit tired of it, but so much was ridiculous and hilarious. But you have to live in the world. The story pretty much couldn't happen in real life, so you're either along for the ride or you're not. I found myself laughing out loud at some stuff and being pretty much the only person in the theater laughing, which I oddly find welcoming when such a thing happens.

I'll see it again probably when my brothers are down here next weekend, depending on how we feel I suppose, but I'm sure it'll happen at some point.

Speaking of David Gordon Green, Snow Angels finally has a DVD release date of September 16th. The bad news is it seems ludicrously bare-bones. Three commentaries for his previous films, and now they have nothing? No featurette? Not even one deleted scene? I don't care too much since it'll be my first time actually seeing the movie. But I expected more. It's still pre-order city for me though.


Over 20 poets with first books (and some with more) have volunteered to participate in the continuation of the first book interviews. Many have been nice enough to send their books also, for those poets whose books I don't already own. Unfortunately I don't have the extra few hundred bones to purchase as many first books as I'd like to compensate for all the poets deciding to do this. And I don't think everyone wants to see the exact same questions answered, though many will be repeated in each interview of course.

Hopefully the first one will be posted by the end of August, but I might wait until September. It works both ways, meaning I can send all I want, but if folks are busy and need some time to get the interviews back, I want to already have a good amount before I post so I can post them semi-regularly and have some kind of schedule. I'll keep interested parties updated.


I didn't start this blog to bitch or enter into arguments or anything, but there are a few things that have not been leaving my head lately, and I want to enter into this conversation. A few weeks ago Eduardo posted about having some pet peeves about poet bios: one being Pushcart nominations, and the other with "prize-winning poet" attached. Then Steve Schroeder chimed in with poets talking about where their books have placed as either a finalist or semi-finalist in contests.

I agree with the fact that "prize-winning poet" is a bit lame, since the prize could be something you won only within your MFA program, with you and four others. However, I'm fine with the other two points of interest in a bio. Here's why.

As far as the Pushcart nominations go, for a beginning poet like myself (I've been writing seriously for only about two years, if that), I think it's something that can make editors take a second look at your work. Am I asking that they spend hours upon hours pouring over my work? No. But as long as you're semi-humbling on your cover letter, that could something that they may be interested to know. Again, you're probably not shouting it from the rooftops, but on a blog or cover letter? Sure, why not?

And yes, with so many online journals, it's easiER to get nominated, but it still isn't necessarily easy (unless you have an "in" with the editor that actually helps get you nominated). You have to get published for one. Secondly they're probably going to pick some fiction in there too, out of, I think six total? But to be among the crop of work they liked the most and, ideally, have the most faith in it as far as it being picked in a pool of thousands of pieces of writing (meaning the actual Pushcart judging), I think that's a nice thing to be a part of. Both of my nominations were from online journals. I knew I didn't have a chance in hell, and they probably thought I didn't either, but for someone who had really just started taking writing and publishing seriously, and to have them be some of the first poems I published, again, I was pretty honored to be among their choices.

I've since taken the nominations off my bio and cover letter, but I don't see the problem with it on there if you choose to go that route. Some writers have been nominated over twenty times, some probably over fifty. And some will die with multiple books out without a Pushcart. I've never read or have even seen a physical Pushcart anthology anyway. So why gripe about such a harmless inclusion on someone's bio in the first place?

As far as the book length manuscript contest placings go, I also think that's good information to know, whether you're an editor or a general reader. That may be something editors want to know. If they don't: fine. If they want to shred my submission on general principle because they think I'm trying to sound like a badass (which, laughably, I'm not, and I don't think anyone else is assuming such by placing that within their bio or cover letter either): fine. If they could give two shits but still end up liking the work: fine. But for me, if I like the said poet's work and read where they've placed in a manuscript contest in their contributor notes, and / or if I think I have something in common with them as far as their writing goes, I'd be more apt to send to that contest if I had a first book I'm sending out, and I currently do. The same screeners may like my work also. Plus, there are some contests I've initially found out about through seeing those bios.

Now Steve's been an editor at a few places, and he's seeing many submissions I imagine, so I'm sure he's not the only one with those gripes. Also, I imagine there are some folks with needlessly and hysterically ostentatious 25-line bios, and that may be where all the pet peeves stem from.

But again, I just don't get all the hostility, and I see this bitching from people on different blogs, at different times, continually -- enough to have me sit down and write about it, as long as I've taken to do it -- whether it's all in good fun or not.

I guess I could go into a rant on how annoying it is to see how many residencies people have gotten. Why do I care about that? Many people get them, tons of those fellows and scholars still never publish books, and tons of people who don't deserve to go end up going. It's all about the folks reading the applications. And for the record, I've never applied for one and don't plan on applying soon. But if I had a recent residency at Yaddo would I mention it on my bio? Sure. Do we need to know, however, that after fifteen residences you still don't have a book out? Nope.

Again, I'm not trying to start some big altercation, or any semblance of an altercation, and I don't think anyone reads this in the first place, but I wanted to say my peace since it's been in my head for a long time. I think if more people concentrated on the work, though, both with reading others' and writing their own, there would be less attention toward bios in the first place, since we all know they are -- or should be -- of little importance on a cover letter or blog or website.

I'm not an "editor," (though that's becoming more of a stock footage term these days anyway) and I've never been, but I always hope if I get something published -- whether it's from an online journal hosted by Geocities or the New Yorker -- that it's from the opinion of that editor that they like it and want to publish it. And if somehow a Pushcart nomination comes from it, then thank you very much.