Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Agriculture Reader, my reading this Monday at KGB in NYC with Tomaz Salamun, etc.

I have to admit I almost don't want to tell anyone about this, because I want to keep it all to myself, but...

Recently I received in the mail a copy of issue #1 of The Agriculture Reader, and it really knocked my socks off. Edited by Jeremy Schmall, Erik Schmall, Tom Huffman, and Jessica Douglas in Brooklyn USA, the hand assembled journal is bound in a file folder with a metal clip. The front cover is a (useable!) stencil of a simplified barn and two silos with "The Agriculture Reader" stamped across it in staggered gold with shadow black. The file folder itself fastens along the front right edge with a piece of twine and a big thriftstore-looking sweater button. A red hand-painted echo of the front cover barn and silos appears in the lower right hand corner of the back cover of my copy--though I wonder if they're all the same?

Included on the inside of the front cover is a copy of the AGR #1 Mix CD featuring 13 tracks of fantastic original music by a bunch of mad geniuses, most of whom I'd never had the pleasure of hearing before (Edmund Berrigan's I Feel Tractor was the exception to this). In addition to the music, the CD also contains a humorous (found) "spoken-word" piece by President Bush and a fine poem by Joshua Marie Wilkinson. By my lights, the disc compliments the journal itself as both a soundtrack and an extension of its marvelous literary aesthetic.

And speaking of that, what really makes The AGR great is the work. Highlights include a stunning new poem/erasure of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Anthony McCann, as well as new work by Matthew Henriksen, Noelle Kocot, Edmund Berrigan, and relative newcomer Amy Lawless. The issue also includes some mind-bending drawings by artist Wes Berg and two very fine short stories, one by Justin Taylor and the other by Danielle Ben-Veniste (and by "very fine" I mean Donald Barthelme meets William S. Burroughs meets John Barth meets Siegfried & Roy...). But in any case, these "highlights" only scratch the surface of the contents, which really are fantastic through and through. The Agriculture Reader is a quality DIY journal of good humor and good will, not to mention also down home smarts and unbridled joy. Of course, it's also really cool.

The Ag. Reader costs $12 + $3 shipping and handling. You should buy one. Get it here:


I'll be reading in NYC this Monday, Feb. 12th in the KGB Monday Night Poetry Reading Series opening for Tomaz Salamun at KGB. If you live in the area, I hope you'll try and make it out. The reading starts at 7:30. KGB is located at 85 E. 4th St.




Lester Shue said...

Sorry was not ablt to make the kgb. How was the evening?

Matt said...

Lester and friends of Bewilderment Inc.,

The KGB reading was lovely. I was bewildered (which is a little sad-making in retrospect, because it made me forget everything I had hoped to say to everybody), but Tomaz was fantastic! and kindly.

Tuesday, drove home head-on into the snowstorm. The 10 hour drive took 18. But we made it. I had a ball in New York. Thanks for asking.

It's good to be back in Cinti.