Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nick Flynn’s Insult Poetry Defies Grammar, My Heart

Nick Flynn @ McNally Jackson Books

Nick Flynn The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands

Proof that Flynn should be America's next poet laureate: the Word Find insult!

I came to Nick Flynn not by his poetry, but by way of his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. This was during the height of my obsession with Raymond Carver, emulating (poorly) his stories and reenacting (with limited success) his life, one six-pack at a time. In these halcyon days, I believed heavy drinking was one step in the short march to a meaningful and respected writing career, that admitting to your friends that you might be an alcoholic was something you reported as if you’d just seen a spectacular car wreck: falsely aghast to cover the pride you know you shouldn’t feel.

I freely admit that it takes not a small bit of mental dexterity and college kid obliviousness to examine Carver’s history and come to the conclusion that alcoholism and promiscuity are badges of successful authors. It’s a meaty chunk of shame I’ve not yet swallowed, much less passed, in the eight or nine years since I first began channeling the spirit of a dead drunken frat boy masquerading as the ghost of Raymond Carver. I like to think that Flynn’s memoir helped purge those demons from both my pen and my self.

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Guest Post: Michael Ian Black Profanes a Synagogue

Michael Ian Black Reading From You’re Not Doing It Right @ The 6th & I Synagogue, Washington DC

Michael Ian Black You're Not Doing It Right

In MIB's defense, I often dreamed I was the Anti-Christ while sleeping through Mass

Ed. note: Michael Moats is a fellow book blogger and seeker of authors’ signatures. His tale is featured on today’s blog, and with good reason: Michael Ian Black unleashed amusing profanity within the sanctity of a synagogue, stirring the jealous wrath of a spiteful god. Mike Moats recounts the harrowing events of that evening, below.

The first thing Michael Ian Black does after the standard thank-yous and glad-to-be-heres is open up his laptop and start reading a review of his new book “You’re Not Doing it Right.” Black is not upset or particularly pleased with the review; he’s sharing it because “it is truly the most terribly-written piece of crap I’ve ever read.” (This and all quotes here will be paraphrased, FYI.) The review, and I’ll spare the author attribution here, was posted on a website no one’s ever heard of (MIB: “I think this is a college paper. If it is, it’s not a very good college.”), written by someone no one’s ever heard of. And he’s right: It’s garbage.

“Michael Ian Black is one of those comedians where guys wish to high five him while some girls want slap him across the face. In the end, he is only joking…or is he?” is how review begins. The reviewer stumbles through the trite (praise for “detailed descriptions” and “witty analogies”; MIB: “I mean, I know how to use a fucking adjective.”) to the incompetent (Black’s memoir is consistently referred to as a novel) to the impolite (“It’s an easy read that entertains and exposes the real life and funny mind of a D-list celebrity.” Emphasis mine, and Black’s when he reads it to us).

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