UPCOMING: Workshop Your Prose and Poetry Over Joe's Pizza!


Poetry Workshop:

Come workshop your poems in an informal gathering with fellow writers and West 10th's poetry editors! West 10th, now accepting submissions, is NYU's undergraduate, student-edited literary journal sponsored by the Creative Writing Department. The poetry workshop will be held on Monday, November 27 at 8 PM in Palladium Hall, Seminar Room A. This is a great opportunity to polish pieces you are considering submitting. Bring up to three poems, not exceeding three pages in total. Check out the Facebook event here, and RSVP here.

Prose Workshop:

Come workshop your prose in an informal gathering with fellow writers and West 10th's prose editors! West 10th, now accepting submissions, is NYU's undergraduate, student-edited literary journal sponsored by the Creative Writing Program. The prose workshop will be held on Tuesday, November 28 at 8pm in Palladium Hall, Seminar Room A. This is a great opportunity to polish pieces you are considering submitting. Bring up to 1500 words of prose (an excerpt or an entire piece). Check out the Facebook event here, and RSVP here.

Open Mic, Open Borders: A Reading Night With Brio X West 10th

Writers, poets, romantics! Join us for our annual reading night in tandem with Brio, the Comparative Literature Journal, and decompress during midterm season.All genres and forms welcome, up to 4 pages per reader.No language restrictions.Food and refreshments will be provided.Open to all NYU undergraduates.CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE to be redirected to our Facebook event.SIGN UP HERE TO READ: https://goo.gl/forms/uEEYTn9cxz2HgPUs1

You're Invited to West 10th's Poetry Workshop!

Attention all NYU undergrads: Our first workshop of the year is coming up! On Wednesday, October 19th at 7:30pm, join West 10th for a poetry workshop in Seminar Room A at Palladium Hall.Make sure to RSVP and check out the Facebook event, too!Bring up to two works of poetry (two pages maximum) to receive some feedback from your West 10th Editors. See you there!Just a reminder that we are still accepting submissions until December 15th!

Prose Workshop Open to All NYU Undergrads

Our prose workshop, our second of the year, is coming up! It will be on Thursday, November 19 at 7pm, at Seminar Room B in Palladium Hall. Here is the Facebook event page, you could also RSVP here.12170691_10206922203350348_1892283009_nThis workshop is open to all undergrad students! So bring up to 1500 words of fiction/non-fiction prose to receive some feedback and comments from your West 10th Editors.Just a reminder that we are still accepting submissions until December 8th!

“A Voice… Apart from Me:” A Commentary on the ‘Poem Voices’ of Dorothea Lasky and Eileen Myles

Last Friday, sixty or so noir-clad poetry bugs gathered in the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House to hear two poets read.  The first was Dorothea Lasky, a bundle of whimsy with an MFA in Poetry from UMass Amherst and a head of distinctly Dr. Seussean curls. The other was Eileen Myles, an ageless wordsmith from Boston, author of countless poetry collections and possibly one of the coolest people this side of the Mason Dixon.  Both poets presented an assortment of new poems and also read from their most recent books, Thunderbird by Lasky and Snowflake/different streets by Myles.I attended this reading with the intention of writing a more standard review of each collection, but upon Ms. Lasky first opening her mauve-stained lips, I knew that the reading called for a different kind of commentary.Reading a book of poems alone, silently, is how we most often receive poetry.  We take note of the visual clues on the page that help to guide our rhythm and perception of the work; but ultimately, the poems enter our brains via this strange portal where how the words look truly affects how they sound, and finally what they mean, more than any other type of writing.  It doesn't always happen that the way you imagine a poem to sound will be how the poet actually presents it; and this surely didn't happen last night.  I was impressed that both Lasky's and Myles's poems became brand new, and I think better, thanks to each of their extremely different, equally evocative "poem voices."Dorothea Lasky has a speaking voice that is so high-pitched and clear, it seems as if she never smoked or cursed a day in her life (though, as of Friday night, I can attest to the fact that at least 50% of that is highly false... see pg. 4 of Thunderbird).  She is giggly and self-deprecating, making quips between poems to get the audience as comfortable as she seems to be.  The voice she assumes once she starts reading possesses the same high-pitched, almost child-like quality, but suddenly increases in volume by 10 fold.  Then most notably, her inflection takes on an alarming pattern where it sort of sounds like a 4th grader reading a paragraph about the solar system out loud to the class.  Hearing this voice read lines like "I care for monsters/But only because I am one" and similarly simple and hard-hitting lines that riddle Thunderbird, changes the work.  Lines that initially may appear dramatic or angry on the page, take on humility and occasional irony.  At first listen, Lasky's "poem voice" was so different from what I expected that I found it a bit jarring.  A few poems in, however, I wanted to immediately re-read her book, this time with an ear for how endearing and unique Thunderbird can sound.Below is a link to Lasky reading a poem from her book called Who To Tell.  I recommend reading the poem silently and then having a listen.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F4_42iMQ-kJuxtapose Lasky's high-pitched, performative "poem voice" with Myles's gravelly, colloquial one for a mesmerizing study on how different poets choose to present their work.  I attended a reading of Eileen Myles's over the summer where she revealed that she often writes poems in her head while driving; so, her process of putting the poem on the page is sort of a backwards translation from aural to visual.  I can't speak for Lasky, but for Myles, how the poem sounds is a huge part of the equation.  This becomes very clear when she reads.Myles's husky and understated speaking voice establishes upon first listen that this ain't her first West Village rodeo.  She reads her poems breezily and conversationally; you can tell she's used to interacting with her poems off the page.  She also reads quite quickly, but with such a cool self-assuredness, that even if her words flew by too fast for you to catch them, you find yourself nodding in comprehension.  Most distinctly, as Myles reads poem after poem, a strong Boston accent surfaces, which is uncharacteristic of her every day speaking voice.  This is not intentional, she admits.  The accent slips in and grows thicker as she gets deeper into the experience of reading.  This unique addition to her already colloquial voice gives simple lines like "For the most compelling birthday party I'd been to in a while I bought three cards," a jolt of charm, due to how those "ar" sounds so patently feature the Boston accent.Here is a video of Eileen Myles reading from Snowflake/different streets.  See if you can detect all the awesome qualities of her "poem voice," and how they add to your experience of the work.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV5bnSCcewMThis wasn't the case on Friday, but I have certainly heard and been disappointed by writers that read work, which I loved on the page, aloud to an audience (an example would be Augusten Burroughs... sad).  Not all experiences with "poem voices" at a reading will end well.  But the role of the "poem voice" does add a fascinating element to the medium, putting poetry at a crossroads between a visual art, a literary art, and a performing art.Below is a link to the schedule of events at the Writers House this year.  Free readings, free wine, free food for thought.http://cwp.fas.nyu.edu/page/readingseriesBy: Amanda Montell, Assistant Poetry Editor

Writer's Bloq

Have you ever felt that, even in this brave new world of online sharing, you are lacking in options for online creative writing communities? Where is the Flickr of poetry? Writer's Bloq seems poised to fill this niche. The Bloq is an online community for MFA and Undergraduate Writing, English, and Comparative Literature students, professors, and alumni to share work, connect with peers, discover new writing, and uncover the literary events. Students, alumni, and professors from top programs such as Austin, Brooklyn, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, New School, Stanford, and Syracuse have already joined in creating a modern platform for writers.Writer’s Bloq is hosting its first event, “Unsolicited: MFA Mingle”, at the Strand on May 3rd. “Unsolicited” will feature the top writers from the site. To learn more about the event, check www.unsolicited.eventbrite.com. Interested in reading at the event, discovering the work of fellow writers, or showcasing your own skills? Join the Bloq today at writersbloq.com. Because writer's block isn't always a bad thing.

Thanks and Joan Didion

Thank you to everyone who submitted their work to the 2011-2012 print edition of West 10th! We will be reviewing the submissions over winter break. Expect to hear from us regarding your submissions in February!On a side note, we noticed that Joan Didion is discussing her new book Blue Nights at Symphony Space tonight at 7:30. From their website: "Didion discusses her deeply moving new memoir about her daughter, and her own fears and thoughts about growing old, in her first book since the National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking. As with that memoir, in her new one, Didion confides and confronts her fears, frailties, and sorrows about her life as she looks back and forward.  In conversation with her nephew Griffin Dunne (After Hours).""Time passes. Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember."—Blue NightsTickets and information here

Consciously Speaking: On Writing and Neuroscience

Lauren Kuhn on Neuropsychology, writing process, and the Walls and Bridges lecture series.As Joan Didion wrote years ago, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” It’s not often that I go into an essay or a short story knowing exactly what it is I want to accomplish. More often, my writing, at least initially, stems from confusion, a feeling that I have something to say but I’m not quite sure what it is. Writing begins with a sentence I don’t yet understand, and my last sentence is a thought I didn’t know I had. But where did it come from? How did I know it was there? How did the process of writing lead me to it?These were just a few of the questions that writer Siri Hustvedt and neuroscientist Lionel Naccache explored in their discussion of “Conscious and Unconscious Narrative — Literature, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience” last week as part of the Walls and Bridges series of lectures and performances designed to bring together French and American figures from social science, the arts, and philosophy.  As someone who “heard voices” as a child and still does occasionally in the minutes before she drifts off to sleep, Hustvedt—who has written a book of poetry, five novels, a memoir, and essays on topics from art and literature to neuroscience—has always been interested in our unconscious lives.She describes herself as “a medical object" to herself, and believes that writing and storytelling can be used as a tool to develop our understanding of the nature of subjectivity. “We are all confabulators,” she said, and what interests her is that “confabulation is not arbitrary.”An avid reader of studies in neuroscience and psychiatry, she is particularly interested in the narratives told by patients with mental disorders and brain damage in order to use “pathologies as clues to nonpathological states.” “Our stories make sense because we’re not brain-damaged,” said Hustvedt, but because we don’t have brain disorders, we are, in a sense, constrained by plausibility. On the other hand, the unconstrained state of those who have brain damage allows their stories to be much less bound by reality, perhaps allowing us to better understand why their confabulations are not arbitrary.To Hustvedt, writing fiction is like “remembering something that never happened”; she can feel when she has finished writing a piece because she has the feeling that she has reached emotional (rather than literal) truth, much as those with brain disorders and brain damage explain events as they believe them to be true, even when all literal evidence points to the contrary. She cited a condition whereby patients might recognize a significant other but think that that person is not actually their significant other; they become convinced that the person is a double that looks, sounds, and behaves exactly like their significant other, but is not. Naccache offered an explanation for this experience, describing the way in which certain neurons fire to recognize a person (physically) whereas other neurons fire to recognize our emotional attachment. Thus, in such a condition, neurons might fire to recognize the figure, but the neurons that register emotional attachment might not. Similarly, Naccache explained déjà vu as a misfiring of our neurons that register an emotional sense of familiarity, even when it is not tied to the situation or physical stimuli.In a sense, the relationship that Hustvedt and Naccache posited between the nature of the narratives of mental disorder and the nature of writing suggests a symbiotic relationship between neuroscience and creative writing. Naccache suggested that we cannot separate the unconscious from conscious, subjective experience, and writing allows us to better understand our subjectivity by making us aware of it. Hustvedt felt that studies of neuroscience could be used to better understand the mysterious, unconscious side of writing. While studies have shown the impact of our subconscious experience on our conscious knowledge and behavior (implicit association tests have shown that words flashed too quickly to be consciously recognized show up in our conscious behavior), there are still myriad questions to be answered about exactly what in this unconscious experience renders the “emotional truth”—the sense of having “gotten it right”—that Hustvedt describes.It may be interesting from a perspective of scientific inquiry to study what goes on in writing and how, perhaps, the unconscious is rendered conscious, but I think there is something to be said for the mystery of the writing process. The sense that there is something that exists to be uncovered, an unrealized emotional truth that exists other from us and is as yet unable to be completely explained by scientific processes, may merely be evidence that more scientific research is needed to understand where exactly what we write comes from. But is it not that sense of mystery, that feeling that there is an emotional truth which we do not yet understand, which moves us to write and to create? If knowledge is power, perhaps the strongest, most alluring knowledge is the knowledge that we do not know.Lauren Kuhn, Prose Editor

It's Been Such A Long Time

Hello there West Tenthers!  Forgive my inexcusable absence these past weeks.  In my defense, I am deep in preparations for finals and my summer abroad in Madrid.  Yes, you read that right...I know, I know, I'm excited to.  In the vein of so many great American writers I hope to find some inspiration among all those classy Europeans and...their very old buildings.I'd love to hear about your summer plans--what's crackin with you kids?  Summer reading lists anyone?And before the semester draws to a close I want to clue you guys into yet another exciting event (if you can forgive the shameless self-promotion).  Tomorrow night at 7:00, the NYU Bookstore will feature poetry readings from Deborah Landau, Kevin Prufner, Joni Wallace, and Tom Healy.  Deborah is not only the director of the Creative Writing Program, but also a not-too-shabby poet.  I highly recommend it!  And if you see a pretty fly looking dude in his purple apron scurrying to and fro in the bookstore tomorrow night, stop to say "hey."  Y'all know I love some recognition.

The Revolution Was Not Televised

Hello all, hope you are keeping calm, and carrying on, and suchYesterday, an adventurous group of us headed uptown to the Community Church of New York for a special reading/fundraiser by Junot Diaz.  Since, I went with a group I was unaware of the details until we arrived.  I discovered that the event was part of an ongoing effort to save Revolution Books from closing.  It took me a while to recover from the shock that a store with decidedly leftist views was holding a fundraiser in a church.  But it certainly provided more space than a bookstore would have and Diaz really did inspire us from the pulpit like a priest would his congregation.Diaz is a great writer, but I've discovered the real fun in going to see him read is in the long Q+A's where he mixes hilarious anecdotes with highbrow descriptions of his process.  One minute he can be cracking jokes about a rich, but stingy friend who wanted to be comped a ticket...to a fundraiser, and the next he can drop pure wisdom: "isn't it the goal of all writing to make the language new again?  We want the reader to suddenly realize the strangeness of something they experience everyday."    The actual reading was brief--an older short story and then a new piece that he described as "absolutely terrible."  (Even though it was great writing by most standards, it was fascinating when Diaz articulated how he needed to fix it.) It was a true move of solidarity with the writers in the crowd who, as he aptly put it, "suffer through the pain of early drafts."Diaz also stressed the importance of Revolution Books as an independent bookstore, rather than as a political entity, and I agree.  I feel it would be a great loss if it were to close.  No matter your political views, the truth is independent bookstores are a precious resource.  While the call for money was a little heavy-handed throughout the night, it was easy to look past it and recognize the reading for what it was: an illuminating "Evening with Junot Diaz"Now peeps, one final thing.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept, is to write a love poem/story! Or better yet, an anti-love poem/story!

A Jagged, Gorgeous, Winter Day

...Nights filled with longer hours, HEY Happy Snow Day Y'all!Hope you are all having a great first week back.  While break was very relaxing, I'm definitely excited to be back in the bustle of the city.  Plus, now that I'm forced to walk everywhere, I can burn off all those holiday calories.  Question for the universe: can someone build a treadmill with a built in Kindle?  Or better yet, bookholder with automatic page-turner? Get back to me whenever.  My reading list over break was small, but considering their scope, I think, West Tenthers, you will forgive my lack of ambition.  I finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and White Teeth by Zadie Smith.  Though they were written a decade apart, with very different settings, I was struck by how similar these books were at the core.  They both observe the effects of modern society across generations by focusing closely on very dysfunctional (read: realistic) families.  What is the dark side of our cherished Western freedoms?  Can love survive despite sex/infidelity, difference of culture, and good ol' fate?  These are the types of heavy questions I contended with, but, after all, the heavy novels are the most satisfying kind, in a way.  And the two authors wrap their piercing observation in such humorous situations that you don't even recognize their full implications until you're forced (reluctantly in my case) to put them down.      One unfortunate consequence of this otherwise glorious snow day is that tonight's reading at the Writer's House with Michael Cunningham was canceled.  Although I had prior commitments, I would have highly recommended it.  In lieu of the real deal, we can use our free time today to get started on his celebrated works The Hours, A Home at the End of the World, or his newest By Nightfall.  And, if you're already worn out by your school reading, the movie versions aren't too shabby either.  The Reading Series this spring doesn't have as many, for lack of better term, star authors as in the fall, but I'm grateful that more time and  opportunity will be given to lesser-knowns.  Some readings at NYU that I will definitely be looking forward to this semester are ones by Matthew Rohrer, Nick Flynn, and Colson Whitehead.Stay warm chicos! Hot Cocoa and a good book are the doctor's orders... 

Gilded Ink Writing Contest

To all you fiction writers: want to enter a short-story contest judged by acclaimed author David Rakoff? Here's your chance!The College Group at the Met and Selected Shorts, a short story performance series at Symphony Space and on public radio around the country, co- present another student writing contest.  Students are asked to write 500 words or less about a “private paradise,” in celebration of the upcoming exhibition, The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City, opening on February 1, 2011.  Four winning entries, selected by the CGM committee, Symphony Space, and special guest judge David Rakoff (author of  Half Empty and  Don’t Get Too Comfortable and frequent contributor to NPR’s This American Life), will be read aloud at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Friday, February 4, 2011, recorded, and possibly aired later on Public Radio International.  The special event will be hosted by David Rakoff.Download the submission form here and start writing! GildedInk

Uptown Girl

Hello West Tenthers, I hope you all had a fantastic break and have returned, well-rested and ready to take on finals...and the cold...and holiday-related stress...well, its looking pretty bleak but keep in mind that winter break is on its way.Having missed Zadie Smith's NYU reading, a friend and I trekked to an uptown Barnes & Noble to see her read from her new collection, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays.  By this point, it's probably obvious that I'm obsessed with venue, and I was acutely aware of the difference between this store at 86th and Lexington with downtown readings.  A very quiet, much older crowd populated the room which (shocker) had seats to spare.  But lest one think I've forgotten to keep it real, I assure y'all that I still very much need my village zest.  While it was nice to actually get a seat, the proceedings lent themselves to a stuffy air.  As Smith herself commented at hearing applause after her first reading, "you're all so quiet...it terrifies me."The reading itself was nothing spectacular, but was quite pleasant, and even inspirational for burgeoning writers in the room.  Zadie Smith was a force behind the podium; her charm came through in the wit and humor she displayed in her writing and in the Q&A session. (When one Australian fan asked how she liked living in the city, she responded that her favorite part was eavesdropping on the conversations of rarely-fazed New Yorkers).  I would go see her speak again, but definitely at a fiction reading.  Smith wanted to avoid "boring" us with literary critique and instead read part of a lecture she gave at Columbia and the prescient, considering the time of year, "Scenes from the Smith Family Christmas."  SFTSFC was a great essay but was first published all the way back in 2003.  I feel it would be more fascinating to hear Smith at a current stage in her writing.  Besides, if Smith's literary critiques are on par with the rest of her work, I can safely assume it would not have bored us at all.One a side note, we were informed before the reading that Smith's appearance was being filmed for Barnes and Noble's website.  (It's not up yet, but this is the site where it will eventually be posted).  Please watch it, judge for yourselves!  Until next time cool kids...

A Sidewalk Slam

Being the procrastinator that I am, this post probably wont make it online until friday. Do forgive me devoted readers, but I have a good excuse, the best excuse possible in fact.  I have spent the last few hours engrossed in slam poetry at The Sidewalk Cafe, for The Intangible Collective's first Semi-Final of the year.  Joanna Hoffman carried the night and won a spot on the Intangible's Grand Slam finalists.  I even got to participate as one of the judges (in slam, it's simply audience volunteers who give scores to the poets.)  Though picked because I didn't know any of the poets personally, I'd like to think it was because I exuded an aura of "informed poetry critic," so I'm just going to run with that version of events.The Intangibles have just started using The Sidewalk Cafe as a semi-permanent home and the contrast from the nearby Nuyorican couldn't be greater.  Although that's bound to change if the spot catches on, it's quite different to experience a slam in a quieter, darker, overall (and i cringe to use it but) chill environment where the candle-lit tables paint us in mysterious, pensive tones and the PBR flows as strong as the Hudson River.  Plus, many of the poets remained after the slam available to chat.  While this might seem minor to most, I can't stress enough how starstruck I was.  I had died and gone to Poetry-Nerd Heaven (turns out heaven is a small venue in Alphabet City.  Who knew?)The only drawback I've run into after two visits is the cafe's insistence on a two-drink minimum (both alcoholic and non) which provoked a few members of the waitstaff to commit Fauxpas Numero Uno and loudly inquire about drinks during the poet's performances.  But apart from this complaint (which I just made in three languages...top that Starbucks) I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would highly recommend the experience.The Intangible Collective returns to the Sidewalk Cafe Thursday, December 2nd.  Go feast on some well crafted poetry.

A Brief Yet Wondrous Reading

96,ooo...Junot Díaz fans? holla...while the reading earlier tonight didn't pack that many fans into Cantor, the line was certainly impressive enough.  By 7:00, the line wrapped around and down University Place, past where I stood outside of Weinstein, and down to at least the Silver Center.  Know that I almost gave up and headed home West Tenthers,  but in a move worthy of those comic book heroes that inspire his work, Diaz agreed to have a second reading in an adjacent theater.  Though I nearly had a heart attack when I was stopped by public safety in the doorway of Cantor while they checked capacity, the forces of good prevailed, and I was able to swoop in for one of the last seats.  This happenstance was probably best for all parties involved...since hell really hath no fury like a New Yorker waiting in line for over an hour.  While I was one of the lucky ones, the plight of the fans left outside highlights a recurring space problem with such events (there was similar insanity when Jonathan Safran Foer read earlier this semester).  I sincerely hope the Reading Series can provide bigger spaces in future readings for well-known authors.  NYU boasts one of the biggest theaters in downtown Manhattan.  As Darrell, pronounced Da-rrell would say, "can we have it?"But, know what?  I'm willing to let it go because on this "comic-book thursday" Junot Díaz delivered. His charisma and wit won over an impatient crowd but the actual reading, from his short story "Nilda," only lasted about ten minutes.  And, while I believe everyone would have liked to have heard more, I'm cautioned by that oh-so-familiar maxim involving beggars and choosing.  I will say that the reading itself was completely overshadowed by the almost 30 min. Q&A session that followed.  Díaz used questions such as "what was your inspiration for Oscar Wao?" and "how do you handle criticism that suggests your book is sexist?" to delve into his motivations for writing characters such as Oscar, Yunior and Lola* that "map" the identities of the Dominican Diaspora, notions of masculinity, and lasting cultural trauma and legacy of dictatorships.  If it sounds deep, well that's because...it was.Perhaps Díaz's best advice came when answering a question from a writer in the room about the merits of gaining "outside approval" from others.  He responded along the lines of, "If you only want approval [for your work], you don't give people what will engage them, you give people what you'll think they like--that's entertainment, not art."

*Read The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, no but seriously, do it.

David Sedaris Seeking Ethnic Jokes and Other Things I Learned on Monday

Monday night the Barnes and Noble in Union Square played host to David Sedaris, who read from his new book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, short fictions about animals. Sedaris also read from his diary, told some jokes, listened to some jokes, and took questions from an ecstatic audience.I am positively certain that Mr. Sedaris would provide a much more engaging and comic resumé of the night's events, so I'm going to give it to you in the most boring manner possible, a list.1. David Sedaris has been working on Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk for seven years. Seven years ago a friend gave him an audio recording of some South African folk tales. Mr. Sedaris was certain he could write better ones.2. David Sedaris enjoys gruesome animal violence. In one of his newest stories a unicorn's horn is gnawed off by a bunny.3. David Sedaris is trying out the sweater vest as a look. It's not going so well. Mr. Sedaris was recently stopped at airport security and forced to remove his sweater vest.4. David Sedaris has a friend in Amsterdam named Pauline. A bird once pooped in her mouth while she was riding on the back of motorbike. She later broke up with the man driving.5. David Sedaris nearly purchased a home in Sussex called Faggot-Stacks, which sat between two estates incorporating the words "cocks" and "titties." Mr. Sedaris chose not to purchase the property because "it was on a busy street."6. David Sedaris really likes to hear Elaine Stritch read. Ms. Stritch reads on the audio recording of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk which Mr. Sedaris attempted to play by placing his earbuds on the microphone. It only kind of worked.6. Here's a joke David Sedaris heard: What's the worst thing you can hear when your giving Willie Nelson a blowjob? I'm not Willie Nelson.8. David Sedaris told lots of other jokes not about blowjobs, but I only remember that one.9. David Sedaris likes when people tell him jokes while he signs their books. This probably helps him stay cheery, since he promises to sign the book of everyone who shows up, usually keeping the Barnes and Noble open until 2am. He's currently seeking ethnic jokes from all cultures, Asian and Mexican in particular, since Mr. Sedaris feels you can only tell ethnic jokes if you have one for every ethnicity.10. David Sedaris recommends the book Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower because he finds it extremely good. One of his favorite parts is where the author describes a sea creature as "the turd of someone who had been eating rubies."BONUS: For more David Sedaris, check out his interview on The Daily Show from Thursday November 4th, also featuring Ira Glass in a special cameo appearance.

Thursday Night's (Also) Alright for Fighting (And Events)

Hello there Blog-osphere! My name is Seamus and I'm delighted to contribute to this little venture.  Please check back often and do spread the word.  Love it or hate it, its going to be an obsession.  (Yes that was a Lady Soverign reference) so before I embarrass myself further...Unfortunately, Anne Carson's appearance at the writer's house tonight was canceled.  Although Carson will most likely be back (she does teach a class here after all) it is truly unfortunate, especially since her performance piece last year worked so well.  Carson and her collaborators turned the Writer's House into a "haunted room."  The surreal piece was a highlight of the reading series that re-established the possibilities of the space.  Did I understand all of it? Definitely not.  Could I appreciate the creativity? Hell yes.But instead, tonight you will find me at The Sidewalk Cafe in Alphabet City rocking out (listening appreciatively?) to some slam poetry starting at  8:00.Speaking of slam, friday nights at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (also Alphabet City) are mandatory for anybody interested in the art.  Arrive early, fight for a seat, and mentally prepare yourself for the onslaught of good poetry about to come your way.  Another worthy poetry/music venue on the east side is the Bowery Poetry Club which features a pretty generous variety of performances (tonight is a burleque show, tomorrow is a Brooklyn punk band.)Some notable + free events in fiction tonight: NYU faculty member Chuck Wachtel reads from his novel 3/03 at the NYU Bookstore and Adam Levin reads from his debut The Instructions at BookCourt in Brooklyn.  Levin's novel has been receiving numerous comparisons to David Foster Wallace for similarities in both style and literal size.  I, for one, will be very interested to see if those comparisons hold (as soon as I can devote time to fully consuming a thousand pages.  Just some light reading, I know)Until next time, have a wonderful week West Tenthers.  I know I will--Junot Diaz comes to Cantor on the 11th!

Cave Canem & AAWW Reading

This Friday, October 1, at 7:00pm, Cave Canem and The Asian American Writers' Workshop will be hosting their fifth annual collaboration. Readers include Ken Chen, Eric Gamalinda, Tyehimba Jess and Patricia Smith. The event will be held at 112 West 27th Street, floor 6 (buzzer 600). Suggested donation $5. More information here.