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Last Word Blog

  • Kickstarting A is for Zebra, subversive alphabets by Crap Hound's Sean Tejaratchi

    Rest assured Crap Hound fanatics, we'll be carrying this as soon as it comes out.

    In the meantime, let's crowd-fund this fabulous project!

  • The Novel as Core Sample: Installation Art and the Novel

    from Pubisher's Weekly

    By Martha Baillie | 

    Aug 08, 2014

    Martha Baillie's The Search for Heinrich Schlögel tells the story of an archivist piecing together the life of a man who mysteriously went missing for two weeks in the Arctic, only to find that 30 years had passed when he returned. Baillie, a poet, librarian, and actress, writes about engaging with her work in a new way.
    In 2007, when my third novel came out, I decided to take the edited manuscript and drill out a core sample. I wanted to do so, in part, to tip my hat to writing as slow, layered growth, as accretion. I knew that the finished novel contained, trapped within it and silenced, an earlier version of itself, a vision that I'd abandoned, not without misgivings.
    I also longed to reconnect physically with my novel as a way of reclaiming it, not from readers but from the marketplace. My motivation was in part political. I'd just made the shift from a small, independent publishing house to a publisher owned by a large corporation, and the experience had been eye-opening and deeply jarring.
    Rather than stand on a street corner yelling: "Literature is not commodity!" I decided to inflict a series of physical experiments on my published work, to take several copies of the new book, go at them with my hands, and see what might result. I stripped the book of its cover, bought a pouch of tobacco, tore the pages, rolled the words...
    Do words go up in smoke? Is writing an addiction? Into whose mouth are you putting your sentences? And, as you can see, this was also an opportunity to improve narrative flow... applying needles to such words as suffering, psychotic, obsession, and outrage.
    As I continued making objects from my text, I came to two realizations. First, I wasn't doing this just for myself, but in order to engage in a dialogue with readers about: (1) novels as physical entities (2) writing as a process unfolding in time, and (3) the way time and events unfold in novels. It also occurred to me that thinking spatially can perhaps allow us to play with time more freely in our writing.
    I sat on my front porch with a bowl of paste and strips of my novel and turned my text into papier-mâché, sculpting a head (because my novel contained references to the 19th-century practice of phrenology, which equates shape of skull with moral traits). As I tentatively crossed over into visual art in a very hands-on fashion, my conviction grew that novels are, in their core, sculptural acts of tension, motion, and balance.
    I have always had a love-hate relationship with linear narrative. I'm tempted to say that my dislike of the linear relates to its authoritative character. I think of Walter Benjamin's distrust of the linear, which evoked for him the freight train, the unquestioned destination... a lulling of crucial faculties. The linear often feels to me like a reassuring lie, and a failure to reflect how we actually experience time.
    John Berger writes: "Time appears to pass at different rates because our experience of its passing involves... two dynamic processes which are apposed to each other: as accumulation and dissipation....The lived durée is not a question of length but of depth or density." What better way to explore temporal depth and density than by looking at sculpture and applying this spatial way of looking to our writing?

  • New Poster from Last Word Press

  • Hilarious and Highly Questionable Books

    One of the reasons I started this blog was to create a place for all the quirky things I find interesting. My beloved Pinterest has mostly taken over in that regard so I thought it was time to share one of those odd collections over here in bloggieland. 
    Intriguing subject. How do we discipline children who are already seeing
    spiders crawling out of your nose? There are hundreds of funny wifey-in-her-correct-place type books
    so I was quite excited to see a vintage book actually acknowledging intelligence in a female.
    Even if they want to use it to planet-ending ends.These days trainers to the stars don't give a two hoots about your personality, but getting in shape to ride naked on a wrecking ball and lick a sledgehammer, now that they can help you with.It is indeed a very dubious occasion if someone is announcing her
    recent deflowerment during general chit chat.Fifty thousand people bought this book. Be afraid.That lack of effort in getting the word RAISING onto one line makes me question
    Mr Pratt's work ethic, otherwise I would for sure consider this as a viable business idea.

  • Charles Bukowski’s letter to the man who inspired him to quit his soul-sucking day job to become a writer

    By  on August 13, 2014 in History

  • Put over 200 books online today, and coincidentally stopped when our total inventory equalled exactly 10,000 books!

  • Moomins!

    Found this article on The Daily Beast today by John Garth. Enjoy!

  • Naropa Poetics Audio Archives

    Found this cool link the other day from Naropa. We're just going to put it right here and let you play around with it. Your welcome.

    Here's the link: https://archive.org/details/naropa 

  • Upcoming Events at Last Word Books

    Tuesday, July 22nd, 7pm
    The Every Two Tuesdays Reading

    Join us for our Fortnightly reading of poetry, short fiction and whatever else we damn well feel like. Six featured poets followed by an open mic.

    Saturday, July 26th, 3:00 pm
    Poetica Scientifica by Leah Noble Davidson - A Poetry Reading

    Join us for an afternoon of poetry with a reading from Leah Noble Davidson's collection Poetica Scientifica, as well as poets Ross Robins and Brian Ellis and Brandon Speck. 


    Brian Stephen Ellis is a writer from Portland, Ore. He is the author of three collections of books; Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom, Yesterday Won't Goodbye and American Dust Revisited. He was born at Eliot Hospital in Manchester N.H. at an unrecorded time of day.

    Leah Noble Davidson has enthusiasm up the wahoo. Her debut book, Poetic Scientifica (published through University of Hell Press), was Powell's 3rd bestselling small press book of last year, and she currently produces Portland's Moth StorySLAM.

    Ross Robbins is the founder of Bone Tax Press and Bone Tax Reading Series. His work has appeared in many print and online publications, including Ampersand Review, Vinyl Poetry, and Small Portions. His most recent chapbook, ALL IN BLACK BLOOD MY LOVE WENT RIDING, was recently published by Two Plum Press, and his full-length debut, MENTAL HOSPITAL: A MEMOIR, will be released by YesYes Books in 2015. Visit Ross online at rossrobbinspoetry.tumblr.com.

    Brandon Speck grew up in Denver, CO then made his way to settle and write in Portland. He is the founder of Stray Arrow Press which features creative writing and visual art from people  within anarchist communities. Brandon is the author of This Early Purgatory, the first chapbook to be featured under his press. Brandon's writing has been featured in Words Dance, and Literary Sexts: a Collection of Short Love Poems. He has been hailed as both "cool" and "chill" by some people staying on his couch.


    More on Poetica Scientifica:

    Conventional wisdom holds that art and science are mutually exclusive.
    Leah Noble Davidson disagrees. Consider the laboratory of the human endeavor: The absolute magnitude of love. The combustion of passion. The gravity of pain.

    Davidson guides us through the physics of us and introduces a breakthrough theory: Poetry in motion.

    Poetic Scientifica is at once urgent and gorgeous and brutal. Davidson catalyzes cognitive and behavioral psychology, visual culture, and linguistics to remind us that science, like life, is a sequence of experiences that result in deeper understanding of our own stories. Call it a book; Davidson wrote an experiment.

    About the Author

    Leah Noble Davidson has a curious 6-year-old and the charismatic precision of a spy. She lives in Portland, OR. Poetic Scientifica is her first book of poetry.

    Saturday July 26th, 7:00 pm
    Live Music! - The Hinges

    Come catch some jams at the first live music show at Last Word's new location!

  • Happy Birthday Ernest Hemingway! #ernesthemingway #literarybirthdays

    Why did Ernest Hemingway's chicken cross the road?


    To Die...
    In the Rain...

    1899 -- Macho-man Ernest Hemingway lives. American novelist,
    short-story writer & essayist, whose deceptively simple prose
    style has influenced wide range of writers.

          Hemingway's obsession with war, big-game
                         hunting, & bullfighting is seen in his


         This Included the Spanish Revolution of 1936.
                  Other writers in the Spanish Revolution:
         Federico Garcia Lorca, George Orwell, André
            Malraux, Langston Hughes, William Herrick.

         Ava Gardner played in three Hemingway films:
                    The Killers, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 
                                              The Sun Also Rises.

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