Archive | January, 2011

Alien Translation Exercise

Alien Exercise Matt BriggsThis is an exercise that poet David Romtvedt gave to my class at the Centrum high school writing workshop in 1989. The result of that exercise became my first published story, “Does I Owning?” in a zine in 1992. The story appears in my collection Misplaced Alice. I’ve used this exercise from time to time over the years. I used it this last friday at the Puget Sound Community School. I’ll include the my result from the exercise below, and then the exercise I’ll call “Alien Translation Exercise.”

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Ben Marcus, Not an Experimental Writer!?!

Right. Ben Marcus is not serious about not being an experimental writer. Come on, HTML Giant… keep up with the changes.

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The Stranger Reviews The Strong Man

The Strong Man by Matt Briggs reviewed in The StrangerThe Stranger‘s book critic, Paul Constant, has written a review of The Strong Man.

Like Catch-22The Strong Man looks at the army and sees a laughable sort of institutional insanity, a stew of jargon and bureaucracy and young men wrestling with order, chaos, and mortality. Unlike Joseph Heller’s language, which sings and leaps forward and explores weird avenues at a moment’s notice like the world’s longest Yiddish joke, Briggs’s is full of the terseness and the staccato sentences of Raymond Carver. The difference between Heller and Briggs is in the language, and that difference bespeaks a larger rift between the two.

You can read the entire review here.

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The Seattle Times on The Strong Man and Publication Studio

The Strong Man / Seattle TimesMatthew Stadler and I will talk about the Publication Studio this Friday at Third Place Books in Ravenna. Last week, Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times books editor, talked to us for her book column Lit Life. While talking to her I began to realize how odd my actual publication experience is … and yet everyone writer I know has similar stories of long weights, sudden exposure, just as sudden plummets into obscurity, and encounters with both visionary publishers (or at least publishers willing to squander real money on publishing books), calculating business people, and lunatics. Mary Ann Gwinn wrote after asking how I had published my books:

Briggs still writes books. But this time around he’s trying something different — for his new novel, The Strong Man,” set during the first Gulf War, he’s being published by a Portland-based publisher called Publication Studio with a very stripped-down business model.

You can read the entire profile here.

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Upcoming Reading at Ravenna Third Place Books (1/14)


The Strong Man at Third Place Books Ravenna

Ravenna Third Place on 1/14 7 p.m.

January 14, 2010, 7:00 pm
@ Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave. NE, Seattle, Washington 98115


Matt Briggs reading and launch of Espresso Book Machine (EBM) edition of The Strong Man.

Matt Briggs reads from The Strong Man, the story of Ben Wallace, a hospital lab tech who joins the Army reserve as a way to slight his father, a Vietnam-era draft dodger. When Ben is called up for Operation Desert Shield, the first Gulf War, he realizes he wants to experience what his grandfather has called “the enlightenment of war.”

You can find recent reviews at:

You can find a free social media edition of the book at the Publication Studio Web site (or purchase a made to order copy).

A special feature of tonight’s reading is the launch of an Espresso Book Machine (EBM) edition of The Strong Man, using Third Place Press’s onsite print-on-demand machinery. The EBM edition will be available at bookstores throughout EBM’s international network. Publication Studio and Third Place Press are excited to partner on this real-time publication project that models the use of non-exclusive rights and multi-publisher collaborations. Matthew Stadler of Publication Studio will be on hand to discuss the new project. Free and open to the public.

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