Archive for February, 2010

New South

Posted in Lit Mags that don't suck, Stuff I assume other people care about, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 2010/02/27 by jamiejthomas

New South–another Lit Mag that does not suck.

Run out of the graduate program at Georgia State University. Editor-in-chief is James May. James May went to University of Houston with a certain Novice/Apprentice. James knows good bourbon when he comes across it. James knows that Gardettos make a helluva poker snack, much better than mini-carrots. He knows good Literature too.

The magazine hasn’t been around that long as New South, but it gets widely good work. It is New (ish) and resides in the South; however this isn’t a niche Mag. There is no shtick, no specialty work going on here–just good writing by good writers.


It is what it isn’t

Posted in poetry, Stuff I assume other people care about with tags , , , on 2010/02/17 by jamiejthomas

A lot of people overuse the phrase “It is what it is,” drawing the ire of many an aspiring comedic rant-a-leer. In fact someone I know just went off about it tonight. He said that the obviousness, the vapidity (my words) of the statement should deter use, that of course, duh, no shit, pfft everything “is what it is”–or else it isn’t. True.

In a weird bit of synchronicity or co-ink-ee-dink or some dumb luck I was reading Kenneth Burke and thinking about how we define through context, that in order to talk about what a thing “is” we have to give some service to what the thing “isn’t.”

So, in a way the opposite statement is what is truly true — “It is what it isn’t.” But that just doesn’t have the same ring to it, another obvious cliché.

In other wierdnesses, Traveling through the dark (on the way to my weekly Big Rapids stay) listening on CD to Traveling Through the Dark, was in fact weird, though Stafford’s voice fits that stretch of road perfectly, soothing? I don’t know, but he always puts me deep inside my own head–nearly-hitting the deer that decided to stop and stare down my headlights before finishing crossing onto the median was levels of weird weirder. Maybe there’s a poem in there, if I can figure out what it is.

NANO Fiction

Posted in Lit Mags that don't suck, Stuff I assume other people care about with tags , , , on 2010/02/10 by jamiejthomas

Yet another Lit Mag that doesn’t suck, NANO Fiction is a biannual–based out of that art mecca Houston TX (w/ or w/out  a shake of irony, you decide)–that publishes “flash fiction, prose poems, micro essays, and comics of 300 words or less.” Basically a place for all that underrepresented & genre bending stuff.

They’re not the only ones doing it but they are doing it well for a Mag that is still a young whipper-snapper (founded 2006). They run a contest, they run a reading series, and they are co-hosting this year’s Houston Indie Book Festival with The Menil Collection and Gulf Coast (University of Houston Creative Writing Program’s fine journal).

Well done and worth checking out. Fo Sho.

Lit Mags that Don’t Suck

Posted in Lit Mags that don't suck, Stuff I assume other people care about with tags , , , on 2010/02/09 by jamiejthomas

Don’t get me wrong, I like Lit Mags, especially the ones that take my work. And there are a lot of Lit Mags that don’t suck. Some, however, are much better at not sucking than others. Those are the ones I am interested in talking about. I’ll do just that right here, in completely irregular installments. This is the first.


An unabashed online journal, The Offending Adam boasts a uniqueness among Lit Mags. Now most Lit Mags boast that; it’s the standard calling card. Now I won’t pretend to pin a “uniqueness” quotient on them, but their claims seem to hold water. The Eds. state via editorial statement, “What makes The Offending Adam unique, beyond our embrace of the online medium, is an emphasis on the relationship between contributor, journal, and reader . . . a dynamic process between contributor and editor resulting in a publication accompanied by an editorial statement.”

The concept of editorial statement, that at once brings together the work itself, a championing by the editors (I really like how they seem to be standing behind what they are publishing), and a critical component is a nice touch, as is the weekly format–between the weekly and the web, you can envision quite a lot of “foot” traffic after awhile.

It’s brand new–they hit the ground last week w/daily updates for their launch week–which means growing pains, but the content is excellent as is the concept–which can be dangerously hit or miss when dealing with online journals.

These fellas didn’t miss.

The Philosophy of a Boy and His Tiger

Posted in Academia, Stuff I assume other people care about with tags , , , on 2010/02/05 by jamiejthomas

The last Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, run in the Washington Post December 31st 1995. To me it was more than just a cartoon, it was the best damn cartoon. Nothing came close. And Bill Watterson walked away from it when it was at peak popularity, talking to no one.

And now he’s done an interview in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

his first since something like 1989. Crazy. It got me thinking again about that comic strip named for two opposing philosophers. When it was running it had a large and profound effect on me when I was 18 I had Calvin tattoed on my shoulder–long before Calvin was bumper-stickered to the backs of pickups pissing on a Ford logo–to remind me that we remain in many ways like big 6-yr-olds.

Hobbes seems aptly Hobbesian, with a dim or cynical view of humankind and its capabilities. I wonder how Calvinian Calvin is. I know he’s smarter than your average 2nd-grader, with a bigger vocabulary than most of the college students I teach. Maybe a paper is there to be written about how each stacks up to his namesake.