Smallpressapalooza in Portland / Interview at Writers Dojo

Reading in Portland, OR on Monday 03/16 at 6:30

I’m reading from my new book The End is the Beginning at Powell’s City of Books at Burnside (1005 W Burnside 800.878.7323). on Monday at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Powell’s second celebration of Small Press Month: Smallpressapalooza

There will be food, books, readings, and other things… including: Starlite Motel, Zachary Schombur, Tim Sproul, Ronault LS Catalani AKA Polo, Emiko Badillo, Moe Bowstern, Karen Giezyng, Lia Cunningham, Molly McNett, Benjamin Parzybok, Samuel Ligon, Jeff Stewart, and Riley Michael Parker.

Interview at Center for Portland Writers

Kevin Sampsell, the publisher of Future Tense Books, the author Creamy Bullets (Chiasmus), the great and tiny memoir A Common Pornography (FutureTense) (soon to a full length book called The Suitcase (Harper Perennial), interviewed me for the Writer’ Dojo part of the Center of Portland Writers. You can find it here:
http://www.writersdojo.org/Interview+Briggs

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3 Responses to Smallpressapalooza in Portland / Interview at Writers Dojo

  1. Tim Elhajj March 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    I am always looking for an excuse to go to Powells, but I would have a hard time getting down there tomorrow night.

    Good luck, Have fun!

  2. mattbriggs March 21, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    Thanks Tim.

  3. mattbriggs March 21, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    My Report:

    I worked in the morning and left the house before noon. There had been hailstorms at hour house. You can see such video evidence here.

    And on the drive down to Portland, just past Centralia a burst of hail coated the road in ice pellets. It had happened right before I arrived there and there were trucks and cars strewn all over the median. There was a Volkswagen Jetta pointed north. A business man was laughing and talking on his phone. Maybe the accident had prevented him from going to a horrible meeting. I’ve felt like that before.

    In Portland I met with Matthew Stadler who is working on a publication project and social experiment for the University of Oregon in a building near the Burnside Bridge. I had a little trouble finding the place because it was in a region of flop houses and bars for people who don’t like to drink but are compelled to drink. I asked someone on the street where I might find it and he seemed really puzzled. I think you are in the wrong place, he said. And then I knocked on a door and entered a new academic space, with recessed lighting, brick, and concrete that was celebrating it’s concreteness. The people there kept asking me really nicely if they would help me? They looked frightened, perhaps thinking I had stumbled in from a bender and sleeping it off under the Burnside Bridge. When I said I was here to Matthew Stadler , they shrugged and looked as if it say, “Oh that explains you.”

    Matthew explained the nature of his job — in practically it was similar to the work he’s been doing for some time such as editing Nest, Clear Cut Press, and the Back Room Series, and yet it was in the context of a University. He seemed generally puzzled by the moirés of academic office life. He noted that he had somehow managed not to get involved this until now. It was odd and kind of nice that someone has managed to avoid this. The deadening structure of most organizations, designed I suppose so that people can fire other people and make them do work they will only do if paid to do the work is something that most people have learned to endure the way our ancestors learned to live with parasites, predators, and famine.
    I was nearly late talking to Matthew for my reading. I arrived five minutes into the frist reader during the set at the Small Press faire at Powell’s. There were a ton of readers. Kevin Sampsell introduced me. And later I talked to Kevin about his new book, The Suitcase, which is a kind of expansion on his great and terse book, A Common Pornography. I have used section of Sampsell’s book in classes on writing the short short because in this book omission, just leaving out stuff because maybe Kevin didn’t know them or maybe they don’t make sense, is a huge part of how the book works. I was teaching a class this last week and many of the high school writers I was working with felt compelled to explain things. They would include a vivid, concrete piece of information and then chase it with three our four sentences of explanation. Of course their reaction to Kevin’s short short was, “What is going on?” And then when the realized the full, creepy implications of the subtext in his story “Laynee,” one student said, “Why would someone write this down? Why would they tell anyone something like this?” For some reason this one of the reactions I covet. There seems a fine line between the outright creepy confessional piece and something that reveals something that maybe should be said. Anyway, Kevin Sampsell talked about some of the things he’d learned about his Dad and said he actually wrote a bit, too, about Kennewick, Washington, which is where he grew up.

    Before I read, there was Emiko Badillo who read a piece about her organ problems and her life as a vegetarian. After I read I watched Molly McNett who read a funny and poignant story about a toothless woman and a fat man who have an email romance. The story proceeded from a kind of easy, comedy at the expense of the woman’s poverty and gradually she gained depth and a kind of emotional density that was kind of nice. Benjamin Prazybok read from his novel Couch. He handed out ancient Gumball Poetry capsules and warned us not to eat them. Even Schneider reminded me of Toby McGuire. He read a bunch of stuff from a bicycle zine called Boneshaker.

    The entire event took place in Powell’s big reading space upstairs and had plenty of space. I was aware being there how much was not included and couldn’t be included. Even so, I wish there had been more of a chance for people to mix within the space, but at the same time it was a massive, huge, event focused on small presses. Although it was huge and scary, it was also nice that there so much going on with small presses that even the tip of the iceberg can be huge and scary.

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