Complex Knowing

‘Everything outside our little tube of limitation is more than we can ever hope to know’

Review by Grady Harp

Occasionally a diamond so settled in the crust of the earth can go unnoticed, perhaps lacking the light it requires to send dazzling prisms to the eyes of the chaotic mass of shufflers preoccupied with the instant gratification of technologies competing with the air itself for push-button attention. Such is the case with this mesmerizing collection of poems COMPLEX KNOWING by the Indiana writer Chris Katsaropoulos, a book so eloquent and brilliant that it requires time – that precious entity few seem to have saved for exploration of the arts – to explore this obvious treasure. It is related to the great works of literature – James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Solzhenitsyn, Dante Alighieri, Roberto Bolaño, Seamus Heaney, Proust, Kazantzakis, Kafka, William Blake, and Percy Bysshe Shelley are a few that come to mind. We have been dazzled by his novels ANTIPHONY and FRAGILE and the manner in which he seduces/invites the reader to explore our sixth sense – that extension of our thinking that enters the realm of the unconscious or dream state or feelings not accessible immediately to the other five senses. Reading Katsaropoulos it is obvious he believes a reliable critical course can be plotted by following a poetic sixth sense. Continue reading

Tim on Broadway

‘O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.’ – Robert Burns

Review by Grady Harp

Rick Bettencourt steps into an enlarging spotlight of fellow LGBT writers – a circle stage front that includes such names as David Sedaris, Edmund White, Felice Picano, Robert Rodi, Michael Cunningham, David Leavitt, Alan Hollinghurst, Colm Tóibín, et al – and comes on very strong with this new book TIM ON BRADWAY: SEASON ONE. Though there is much talk about this master of the social media and though he has enjoyed success with his earlier works PAINTING WITH WINE and the collection of stories in NOT SURE BOYS, this novel – the culmination of a series f short episodes he published as teasers – places him solidly in the company of the specially gifted young writers of gay fiction.

Bettencourt understands character creation and in this book he has given us at least two characters in Timothy Benton and Javier Rodriquez who are so memorable that they will likely achieve ‘Holden Caulfield’ status. The book is both hilarious funny, gently touching, and very perceptive in the way the author examines personality development and evolvement. But enough of analysis. Continue reading

Under False Flags

‘How many times can a man toss a quarter, and have it just land on tails?’

Review by Grady Harp

Oregon author Steve Anderson is a noteworthy young author, a man with history in his veins and wars in his imagination. To date his novels have dealt with WW II in the Germany setting and he knows that period and that country well (he as lived in Germany as a Fulbright Fellow and his knowledge of the atmosphere and landscape of that country are evident): he has recently become a translator of German to English books whose focus is on crime and mystery. But Anderson has a richer and more entertaining background than simply a fine historical novelist: he has backpacked into Eastern Europe when the Berlin Wall fell, written narrative nonfiction, short stories and screenplays, worked in advertising, marketing, and journalism, and has been a waiter, a language instructor, a freelance copywriter. Full life? Enough to make his canvas for his books well prepared with personal gesso. Continue reading

Leaving Montana

Disambiguation

Review by Grady Harp

Long Island, New York author Thomas Whaley debuts with a novel that most assuredly will be considered among the best of the year. It is difficult to believe this is his first novel, though he has written many children’s books and poetry and short stories and scripts before pouncing into the literary public eye with LEAVING MONTANA. He obviously has an eye and an ear for the aspects of childhood that influence our adult selves, the true theme of this first novel. Long Island has always been his home and he apparently left work in the Big Apple to become an elementary school teacher in 1999. Of note, Whaley received the New York State Elementary Classroom Teachers Association Teacher of the year Award for 2014! He is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators), NAMW (National Association of Memoir Writers) and LIAWS (Long Island Authors and Writers Society). He also completes his life living in Shoreham, New York with his husband Carl, their two sons Andrew and Luke, and their loyal dog Jake. Continue reading

Smashed: The Life and Tweets of Drunk Hulk

The Brains behind the Bulk

Review by Joey Madia

I have to admit—although I knew of the Drunk Hulk Twitter account, and followed it—I am Luddite at heart who won’t use a Smart Phone and rarely uses Twitter, doesn’t see its purpose, and follows and is followed in the mid-100s.

Nevertheless, the Drunk Hulk phenomenon of the last 5 years (191,000 followers as of this writing) has been fascinating to me—and is now made even more so by the release of the collected Tweets and a rich variety of accompanying essays that both contextual and offer insight into both the writer and the writing. Continue reading