A platform to get your cultural two cents out there.
Halloween is a beloved holiday with many long-standing traditions. However, many people find themselves repeating the same activities each year: trick-or-treating, visiting haunted houses, dressing up, and watching scary movies. One tradition that isn’t common this time of the year is reading. This October The Wild Detectives will give people a new, spooky spin on their favorite stories for them to read.
Melissa Ginsburg’s Doll Apollo (LSU Press, 2022) resists conventional narrative notions. Organized in three sections, “Doll,” “Apollo,” and “Toile,” the book explores identity, doubt, mythology, and violence, both bodily and environmental, in poems linked by the lush imagery of a common landscape. “Toile” refers to a canvas-like fabric that depicts pastoral vignettes and it is a popular decorative element, particularly in the U.S. South. The gorgeous cover art for the book includes a toile pattern that reflects the unique concerns of Ginsburg’s poems, mingling an unexpected astronaut with paper dolls in the traditional pastoral background.
James Davis’s Club Q is clever, often laugh-out-loud funny, and always meticulous: both within the poems formal considerations and the book’s arrangement as a whole. Davis is a master of linguistic foraging, arranging his sonic and syntactical finds for the reader to devour. Within his poems, comedy, intelligence, and despair are often synonymous, and wordplay is always on the menu.
The universe in Chris George’s The Occultation (Surveyor Books, 2021) is dark and nihilistic but also filled with morbid humor, and even redemption. A missing disabled mother leads her caretaker daughter on a barefoot late-night odyssey in “The Suicide,” an alcoholic finds solace and comfort in an abandoned flying-saucer house on a stormy night in “A Small Good Place;” these stories wind their way through human suffering and frailty.
Sherrie Zantea, known by her stage name, Candy, is a luminary in the Dallas poetry community. She is the brilliant leader behind the Dallas Poetry Slam organization and has been making literary history for more than 20 years. Her chapbook, Oak Cliff-Hangers: Stories in a Snow Globe (Deep Vellum Publishing, 2021) reflects on growing up in Oak Cliff with heartbreaking candor and soaring hope.
Alex Temblador’s latest novel, Half Outlaw (Blackstone Publishing, 2022), is a hell of a ride. The story follows Raqi (pronounced “Rocky”), a successful LA attorney in her 30s, as she grapples with grief, trauma, relationships, and her profoundly complicated family, who are members of the Lawless, a drug-running, gun-dealing motorcycle club. As your friendly neighborhood poet, I’ll be honest: I don’t read many novels, but this book’s heartrending characters, cross-country trek, and magical realism had me hooked.
Liberation of Dissonance (Schaffner Press, 2022) strikes a balance between forte and piano, legato and staccato – the Italian markers dictating musical dynamics.
This October, The Wild Detectives present a frightfully good campaign with a mission to help young readers avoid library and school bans on books.
The World’s biggest soccer tournament is gone and fans are experiencing withdrawal now that there’s not four games a day. Which is why we decided to surprise them with our very own tournament, with a very unique touch.
Banvertising – A campaign that takes real, negative quotes from the people who are trying to disqualify books and uses their hateful words to promote those same books they’re trying to ban. In a few words: we will turn these books’ worst critics into their best reviews.
Ayesha Asad’s Waveborne (Bottlecap Press, 2022) carries on its crest a blend of cultural identity, resettling, growth, striving. The poems present few breaks; they just keep moving, like determined waves destined for shore, full of radiance.
Matthew W. Baker’s debut chapbook Undoing the Hide’s Taut Musculature (Finishing Line Press, 2019) is a visceral and incisive exploration of what it means to have a body. Baker’s poems delve into mortality, illness, surgical interventions both elective and necessary, and radical changes both voluntary and beyond the speaker’s control. The speaker in these poems grapples with isolation and relationships, offering an unflinching portrayal of the mother/son dynamic.
In Better Ways to See, Alan Gann offers us a fresh pair of eyes to catch the details we are likely to miss in the natural world. Every poem seems to ask, “why not sing or bloom or fly?” (“spiral orb”). Part I of this collection, “Wanderings with birds,” literally gave me the sensation of having wings, of believing “We each sing our morning notes/ to remind the world/ I’m still here and no matter/ what happens before night descends/ all contribute/ to the golden-holy-resplendent song divergent” (“Chorus”)
An exploration of Iceland’s most idiosyncratic museums and collections, The Museum of Whales You Will Never See takes readers across a country shaped by geological forces as powerful as the stories told and collected there. The following is a conversation between author Kendra Greene and WD contributor Katy Dycus.
Loretta Diane Walker is treasure in the Texas poetry community. She is the author of many books, including a full-length collection, Day Begins When Darkness Is in Full Bloom (Blue Light Press, 2021) and the topic of this review, her most recent chapbook, From the Cow’s Eye & Other Poems, which won the 2021 William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Prize from The Fort Worth Poetry Society. The poems in the collection show off Walker’s poetic range; the speaker weaves stunning Texas landscapes and offers deft observations about love, grief, music, dreams, superheroes, and much more.
Published by Black Lawrence Press in November 2020, Lindsay Illich’s poetry collection, Fingerspell, begins by presenting the images for spelling out the letters of the alphabet. After the birth of Illich’s daughter, who has Down syndrome, she “felt every emotion as if through a vivid filter, supersaturated”.
I was excited when I found out Lauren Berry’s second poetry collection, The Rented Altar (2020), would be published by C&R Press. Her debut collection, National Poetry Series winner The Lifting Dress (Penguin, 2010), is a book I’ve returned to many times over the years since I first picked it up. I was fascinated by the lush, dark, terrifying world of Berry’s young speaker in the first book, and I expected her second book to be just as compelling.
Robin Myrick describes her debut poetry collection, I AM THIS STATE OF EMERGENCY (Surveyor Books, 2020), as “about us.” The result of an eight-year listening project, Myrick’s poems examine the ways political discourse permeates our lives, our relationships, and our imaginations.
Rebecca Balcárcel’s debut middle-grade novel, THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY (Chronicle Books, 2019) stars Quijana, a bicultural girl who grappling with the tumult of being 12 years old. Why is your friendly neighborhood poet reviewing a novel written for children ages 8 to 12?
Jazmina Barrera’s first book to be translated into English by Christina MacSweeney, On Lighthouses, is an exploration of many things—writing, collecting, travel, literary history—centered around various lighthouses and the stories they contain. The following is a conversation between author Jazmina Barrera, translator Christina MacSweeney, and WD contributor Katy Dycus.
The New York Times recently published an article: “Books Have Literally Saved My Sanity”: Readers Respond to Our Letter to the Literary Community.” This got me thinking. What use are the literary arts—and the people who think and talk about them—in a moment of crisis?
Travelling now is easier than ever!
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Our friend Eduardo Rabasa, author of A Zero-Sum Game (Deep Vellum, 2016), co-founder of Sexto Piso, one of the largest independent publisher companies in Latin America, and longtime collaborator with The Wild Detectives, interviewed Matt Berninger, The National’s charismatic front man, in Mexico City for the national newspaper La Razón. Here’s a transcription of that interview, in which Berninger opens up about his creative process.
We might be physically closed, but we’re still providing great reads through our ordering service.
Katy Dycus in conversation with poet, Kathryn Nuernberger. She’ll be performing on March 11th at Inner Moonlight, our poetry reading series.
“I wouldn’t have finished this novel without the Wild Detectives. I had two-thirds of the book written. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to complete it. The novel was in a precarious state, which is to say: I was in a precarious state. Nothing felt right. A story pretending to be a story, a writer pretending to be a writer—the characters were hitting their marks and saying their lines, but nothing felt true. In desperation, I relocated from the seclusion of my house. I went to my favorite bookstore and established a new routine. I’d order coffee, open up my MacBook, and start writing. Miraculously, the story found its way again. Wait until you read the farmhouse chapter. I was in a rare state while working on that chapter. It was written in a single afternoon at Wild Detectives. I deviated from the main plot. I broke from my narrator’s point of view. None of it was planned. And it just worked. The energy of that chapter propelled me to the end of my first novel. The chapter featured here is not that chapter, but I’ll stand by it all the same. In this section, I explore a trope of apocalyptic genre. The living are confined, while the infected roam free. How does our fearful narrator maintain his sanity? He discovers a few good books, of course.” – David Hopkins, author of Wear Chainmail to the Apocalypse and patron of the Wild Detectives (current favorite drink: Pecan Pie)
Our favorite pick for November 2019.
Our favourite pick for July 2019.
“Medicine is my lawful wife; literature is my mistress,” wrote Anton Chekhov, describing his life as both physician and writer.
There is no good place to begin speaking of a book cram-packed with proverbs, death, and trickery, because the end wraps around to the beginning like a snake eating its own tail, crushing you in its coils. Marlon James would tell you this himself; what you believe to be true is an illusion, and the illusion you see, well, it is a tale out for your blood.
In February (and the very last bit of January) we’re hosting a True Crime series programmed by Lauren Smart.
Get your presents at The Wild Detectives and your drink will be on us.
There’s no better novel to read in the middle of winter than one in which gloom transforms itself into an emotional Spring. Guadalupe Nettel’s After the Winter cuts through the fog by splitting her narrative into intimate, alternating perspectives which cross paths as the novel progresses.
It’s that time of year, everyone – time to compose your annual holiday newsletters. I love holiday newsletters, but some of these missives (including mine) are a bit pretentious and heavy on holiday cheer- nobody has that good a year or such extraordinary spouses, kids and pets! I frequently wonder what has been left out. Instead of elaborate messages, written in calligraphy, bursting with exciting vacations, glamorous weddings, graduations with highest honors, dream homes, stellar accomplishments of the children, and so on, what if the holiday letter writer got real? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to occasionally receive a holiday newsletter similar to the letter following:
Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė, a Lithuanian folksinger and songwriter, creates melodies that honor the traditions of her country. With the kanklės, a Baltic psaltery instrument, laid out horizontally across her lap, the musician paints fresh musical landscapes.
In assuming the guise of a different language, one can also assume a different persona. Svetlana Lavochkina, a Ukranian author residing in Leipzig, Germany, understands the voyage one makes in crossing from one language to another. From the age of 8, she dreamt of becoming a writer, but she knew she didn’t want to write in Russian, her native language; instead, she sought full creative expression in English.
El día en que Carlos Manuel Álvarez Rodríguez presentaba en The Wild Detectives su libro La Tribu. Retratos de Cuba, Miguel Díaz Canel se convertía en el sucesor de raúl castro. Javier García del Moral, uno de los jefes de la librería, no pasó el detalle por alto: “en 60 años el gobierno cubano ha cambiado de presidente sólo 3 veces. Hoy es una de ellas”. Buen contexto, diría yo.
En diciembre de 2017 la Editorial Árdora publicó en Madrid la primera traducción al español en un ejemplar independiente de la ópera futurista “Victoria sobre el Sol”. Al significado para su tiempo de esta pieza integral del futurismo ruso, que reunió las ocurrencias de genios como Maliévich, Matiushin y Kruchónij, así como a las dificultades de su traducción directa del ruso, milagrosamente a cargo de quien escribe, y al del exquisito y veterano traductor José Luis Arántegui para la consulta de las traducciones alemana y francesa y la conversión de mi traducción a elegante texto castellano, se dedican, en el librillo de Árdora, tanto el apéndice como nuestras notas a una traducción. Indeterminación –la de ese artículo en cursivas- que recuerda al lector que toda pretensión de traducir literariamente supone una mediante y casi siempre sangrante interpretación por lo que significa trasladar a otra lengua representaciones de un –otro- idioma que además se proclama a voz en cuello anti-pasadista, rupturista y trans-racional. La labor, ya de propio difícil en registros donde abundan las figuras, se torna bastante más enloquecida por lo que contiene a un tiempo de divertido pero también desesperado. Sobre el escenario “budetliani” y nuestra comprensión de la poética futurista tratan nuestras palabras iniciales en la reciente producción bilingüe de Árdora Ediciones.
Latin American literature is having its day in Dallas, Texas. This weekend on September 8th The Wild Detectives is bringing a portion of the infamous Hay Festival to Oak Cliff by hosting several panels of authors chosen from the festival’s literature anthology, Bogotá 39.
We were last year in Querétaro for the Mexican edition of Hay Festival. Coincidentally, Ben Fountain was invited there to present his work. Having experienced what this festival is about firsthand, we wanted to know his thoughts on Hay Festival choosing Dallas for its landing in North America.
Moon Woman and don’t get your hopes up is a double chapbook set to be released this year from Thoughtcrime Press. This innovative volume offers readers the opportunity to delight in each individual collection and invites them to consider the interplay between the two very different, very powerful voices of Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi and courtney marie. The poems in this dual collection share particular concerns: the body, desire, relationships, identity. Both voices take risks, make confessions, and raise big questions.
For Juan Rulfo’s centenary last year, Dallas-based Deep Vellum Publishing released Douglas Weatherford’s translation of The Golden Cockerel and Other Writings. Consisting of previously untranslated works, it includes Rulfo’s second novel The Golden Cockerel with shorter pieces that were not included in The Plain in Flames, Rulfo’s groundbreaking collection of short stories. For its Days of the Dead production, Teatro Dallas’ Cora Cardona directed “Anacleto Morones,” adapted for the stage from Rulfo’s short story by Dallas writer Anyika McMillan-Herod. During the show’s run, an ofrenda to Rulfo was exhibited in the theater lobby. Considering that most days Dallas feels like a literary backwater, what these organizations and artists put together to celebrate Juan Rulfo was nevertheless impressive.
I like to think of Desperate Literature as a transitional space between street and home. Co-owners Terry Craven and Charlotte Delattre see this space as completely fluid. “There’s little distinction between our private life and public life. It’s how we live and what we live for,” Charlotte says. “A very nice version of how we live.”
Lauren Brazeal’s first full-length collection, Gutter (YesYes Books, 2018), tells the story of a young woman, who identifies herself early in the collection as “Little Mohawked Squatter Punk,” living on the streets of Los Angeles. This collection challenges all my expectations about storytelling in poetry. The narrative emerges from a strange combination of forms, everything from sestina and villanelle to letters, instructions, erasure, checklists, and more.
Most of us know the feeling of coming undone, of drifting through a sea of loneliness unanchored, unmoored. After a few cities, relationships, peregrinations, we struggle to find someone who knows our name, let alone remembers it, who can speak to us in a way that feels vaguely familiar, who knows us in a way we all desire to be known.
“La versión moderna del cuento (…) trabaja la tensión entre las dos historias sin resolverla nunca. La historia secreta se cuenta de un modo cada vez más elusivo (…) lo más importante nunca se cuenta. La historia secreta se construye con lo no dicho, con el sobreentendido y la alusión.”
The Wild Detectives dedicates March to conversations about development in Dallas. Introducing “Gentrified Dallas: A Month-long Investigation into the changing city.”
Our collaborator, Katy Dycus, interviews the WD’s resident illustrator at her house and studio in Almería, Spain.
I was a mark. I was the meal ticket for a nest of borderlines. While surrounded by their darkness, I became privy to their secrets. Calculating the depth and breadth of their lies, or trying to reach the kernel of truth, seemed impossible. Unsolvable. It was too arcane and complex to fathom that which engendered the duping. Once you begin to look, it’s everywhere. This story reveals those secrets as well as what galvanized the darkness. It exposes the hierarchy and how this well-oiled machine is organized, societally. Through my experiences I learned discernment, which I proffer to you. It’s easy to see where the duping ends, but where it begins… ah, that’s the question. Who is duping whom? The unravelling is up to you.
The very best of 2017 according to The Wild Detectives’ family.
After being denied a writer’s residency at Shakespeare & Company in Paris I didn’t write much, but lived in the city. When I arrived home and out of my waking dream state I needed to escape again. The following comes from the moment of discovery that came from realizing my love of reading, while not reading in Paris.
John Ashbery passed away on September 3 at the age of 90. I can’t imagine him heeding Dylan Thomas’s call to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
The world is, as Thomas Friedman once penned increasingly flat. Have you noticed your favorite donut shop is owned by Koreans, the Local 7-11 where you pick up your newspaper is owned and operated by Ethiopians, that bowl of Pho was prepared lovingly by someone from Viet Nam and of course your favorite book store was founded by a few great guys from Spain? We all see that international influence in our country all the time. And the flow of international migration is increasing.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, every country sent at least one woman competitor. An unprecedented event. In Rio de Janeiro last year, 45% of the 11,000 competing athletes were women. But more than 120 years ago, before Serena and Venus Williams, Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles were household names, the Olympic Games prohibited women’s involvement. There just wasn’t any space for women in the collective “public sphere.”
“The current inheritors of complex colonial legacies must seek to transcend these legacies, while acknowledging the impossibility of erasing or pretending them into nonexistence.” (1) – Neelika Jayawardane
A book is a very welcome Christmas gift at our house. More even than a piece of clothing or jewelry, the selection itself carries with it the special intimacy of what one specific person thinks another ought to read. So, last Christmas, when my daughter, Austin, presented my wife and me with a large, wrapped bundle of volumes we were eager.
This week, Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, died after a period of failing health. Two years ago, my friend, Darryl, died in a motorcycle accident, leaving behind his wife and four kids. At the funeral, I couldn’t find a connection between his still body and the vibrant, wonderful person I knew. That wasn’t Darryl, lying there. Intellectually, I knew, but emotionally, I couldn’t understand. He’s buried in Austin, wearing his mechanic’s work shirt and baseball cap, laid to rest as he lived. I’d like to think Pirsig will be sent off in similar fashion.
The album of month is bestowed to Austin’s indie-rock royalty better know as Spoon. As they enter their second decade of musical output, Spoon refuse to rest on past glories. Hot Thoughts features cognizant elements fans have come to expect with an ambitious experimental sound. Hot Thoughts incorporates a wall of synths and electronic melodies to their “bar room rock n roll.” Hot Thoughts is criminally catchy pop record that is an early contender for albums of the year.
Last year we hoped our feminist literary arts festival would become less necessary. Instead, it feels like we need Women Galore now more than ever.
When Charles Dickens invited guests over for dinner, it was his tendency to take them on a little pre-dinner stroll. Some four hours later, the famished group returned back to his home for their later-than-planned meal. The ‘Sketches by Boz’ author was used to walking hours at a time. He sketched life by traversing it, gathering up material through close inspection of daily encounters.
I grew up in Dallas, and the joke my father always used to tell about the city was this: What’s the difference between yogurt and Dallas? Yogurt is the one with the live culture. He had lived in New York for a time after the war, hand picked by composer Richard Rodgers to sing in his Broadway musical South Pacific, so he knew a thing or two about a more expansively cultured life.
America is in the mouth of madness my friends. No sooner than pundits, experts, philosophers utter “this cannot get any worse,” President Trump keeps demonstrating it can. The album of the month belongs Brian Eno. ‘Reflection’ is an introspective ambient wordless mediation that provides space to catch your breath. Embrace the now. One day at a time. Sometimes that is all we can hope for.
Viet Thanh Nguyen sees the American Dream as an insidious, supremely effective tool of colonization. The point seems inarguable; it feels unutterably sad.
The xx return with an album that recaptures their light. ‘I See You’ combines familiar elements associated with their sound and aesthetic with festival friendly hooks without losing substance. A very “of the moment ” pop record with ambitious musical experimentation that The xx willingly imposed upon themselves. Moving out of their comfort zone has reinvigorated their sound. The have crafted a dance record for all the “wallflowers” to enjoy. The usher in our album of the month series for 2017.
The very best of 2016 according to The Wild Detectives’ family.
The last album of the month belongs to Leonard Cohen. You Want it Darker, explores the latter part of ones life. After the last dance, the party is over and it is just you and your thoughts. A man who had come to the end of the line but still had unfinished business. You want it Darker deals with death and afterlife. He knew the end was near. One would think an album of such ominous tones would entail a sad journey. Quite the opposite occurs, fans like yours truly will hang on to every note and be thankful our dark prince left us one more album in his wake. The great ones know when to leave the party.
George, Shaun and Rick finally get their hands on some unedited Walking Dead episodes and begin their Sunday night zombie watch-fest tradition.
Days away from one of the most important elections, nothing is certain. The whole campaign has left us empty, exhausted and angry. No matter who wins the only guarantee is uncertainty. Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) explores and embraces uncertainty. Completely deconstructing his sound.
Looking to understand a faith that has been shaped and transformed by tradition, cultural baggage, and power struggle, journalist Carla Power takes the challenge of reading the Quran with a muslim scholar living in England. In their journey, they debunk myths and find historical context for some of the most controversial verses found in the holy book.
Everyone knows writers are depressed. As a species we are invariably portrayed as near suicidal heavy drinkers and odd, chronic overthinkers who tug at our hair, howl at the moon, and cover ourselves in proverbial ashes. The world of literary respect seems to honor this heritage by giving critical consideration and praise only to authors who possess a flair for the tragic, and who keep humanity’s dying ember held on their tongues. Happy writing is relegated to the likes of the commercially packaged, pastel drenched Nicholas Sparks or, at best, the demure Jane Austen who insists on a neat and satisfying ending. We all want our light romances to end well, but the preponderance of respected literature is dealt a much heavier hand; serious literature must be serious.
Nostalgia flourishes when the present is cloaked with uncertainty. The album of the month soundtracks one of the year’s best new show: Stranger Things. A duo from Austin have crafted a score so enchanting that the finished product can stand on its own and be enjoyed if you have not yet discovered Netflix’s little gem. Both the show and music are fandom ecstasy. The soundtrack smartly sticks to three clear influences: John Carpenter scores, B–Horror movie ambience and glorious cheesy 80s synths. Fans of the show have something to hold them over until season two.
On Sept. 9th, The Wild Detectives will host the Wordspace sponsored Utopian Fantasies event, featuring rapper Fidel, filmmaker Michael A. Morris, and writers Lee Escobedo and Patrick Patterson-Carroll. Curated by Randall Garrett, it will be the second of nine multimedia art events for the Utopia/Paradise themed Freefall Festival beginning Sept. 8th and ending on Dec. 17th.
A recent study concluded that college students prefer paper to e-books at an alarming rate, almost nine to one. Does our preference for paper sound the death knell of e-books? Or have e-books simply failed to live up to their potential? In this writer’s opinion, we may interpret the successes, and shortcomings, of e-books by understanding simply that the way which we consume literature, its method of delivery, can be as important as the words themselves.
Some of us felt something close to an existential emptiness after we finished watching The Wire’s finale. It was so rich and stimulating that it seemed almost impossible to find something slightly close to that level of entertainment.
Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On is a spiritual heartbreaking haunting plea for change. America is on fire. Civil conversations have turned into shout fests, nonsense fueled with self-serving agendas. Some politicians seem to blame everyone but themselves. How much unnecessary bloodshed and loss do we need to go through for things to change? Bullet shells and tears are flooding the streets. What’s Going On is more relevant than ever. Sadly the issues being addressed within the record are clear and present in 2016.
Last April, UTA invited us to give a talk as part of their TEDx 2016 program. It was a great opportunity and a considerable challenge -we don’t usually talk to large crowds outside bars. After overcoming our stage fright, we managed to put this talk together and present the ideas behind this dream-project of ours: The Wild Detectives. Pardon our accent and hope you like it!
“How strange and unpredictable life is! How little there is between happiness and misery,” remarks Madame Loisel, the tragic heroine of Guy de Maupassant’s masterful short story “The Necklace.” In this—perhaps trite—line by Maupassant, the rich legacy left by French writers is subtlety revealed. If the British gave us valuable moral lessons, and the Russians instructed us to deconstruct the human soul, what did the French teach us? Simple: to live. Ardently, eloquently, poetically. Never passively. The French taught us to live, perhaps en rose, perhaps en blanc et bleue, but live colorfully nonetheless. In honor of Bastille Day, here are my favorite French stories about living with desire.
After an uncharacteristic misstep in their discography, Radiohead return with an elegant vengeance: A Moon Shaped Pool. Their new album is dark, haunting rock mixed with electronic beats, in other words: classic Radiohead. It is nothing short of thrilling to see masters of their craft producing art. Thom Yorke remains one of Rock’s greatest enigmas. Here is another piece of the puzzle for lifelong fans.
Is there an American novel that invites more haters than To Kill a Mockingbird? Admit it: you judge someone who names it as his or her favorite novel of all time. If something is wildly beloved by the masses, it must be middle-brow, sentimental crap at best, right? That was my official position on Harper Lee’s classic bestseller for many years—until recently, when a spunky group of students reminded me of its greatness.
As a follow-up to my piece on an orange-zest-faced demagogue of our time, I share some timely examples from Robert Penn Warren’s 1947 political classic All the King’s Men. In light of this most recent election and its theatrics, it seems the old adage “The pen is mightier than the sword” can be amended to “The rabble-rouse is mightier than the reasoned.”
Many of us define ourselves by our jobs and interests, our friends and family, and our tastes in music, movies, or books. What we don’t think about is what lies just outside our own world, or perhaps just as importantly, what lies within our world that we haven’t noticed. Returning to old ideas, either through rereading or reading translated books, helps us define our past and present selves.
In honor of the this month’s Wild Detectives’ Women Galore initiative, the album of the month belongs to a goddesses that has mastered her craft performing, writing, and creating uncompromising art.
Lauren Smart, probably one of the most committed journalist in town to equality, introduces Women Galore, the festival we asked her to program a few months ago. The result: a month of May packed with events about women, by women. Check our events section to see them all.
A couple of weeks ago, acclaimed author Carmen Boullosa, the voice behind Texas, the Grand Theft, or A Narco History (both published in English) among others, visited Dallas brought by Deep Vellum Publishing to make some presentations. Amongst her busy agenda, we had a chance to chat with her about her work, reading and inspiration.
Whether you love the smell of books, or prefer the comforting glow of an e-reader, you simply need the perfect reading room if you’re a book-o-holic. Luckily, we at Modernize also love to read, and we have a few tips for creating a comfortable, quiet, and inspiring space where you can get lost in your favorite stories.
Eclectic, that’s the best description for the Supersonic Lips sound. A mix of punk guitar, strong beats, melodic synth and powerful vocals, the Dallas based band fights against labels, seeks a broad and diverse public with great results so far.
Four young ladies from Spain deliver a three-cord guitar driven throw-back that features elements of garage rock, 60s Velvet Underground lo-fi production, with a punk aesthetic. Hinds’ debut album Leave Me Alone is a propitious, auspicious indie-rock gem. They pen their own tunes, are paying their dues on the road, and are not some manufactured gimmick.
People go to bars for different reasons: you have those who truly like bars. And you have those with other intentions in mind. The latter, by the way, are now better served by the online dating services that inundate the web these days. If you fall within the first category, there is no doubt this is your book. If you are kind of on the fence, this book may help dissipate your hesitations. But if you, sorry my friend, don’t feel particularly attached to bars, you’d probably be better off reading about the reproduction of mammals in the African savanna.
The world is hungry for magic. There is an enchantment in every recorded culture with the baffling and the unexplainable, an enduring search for whatever underlying hoodoo jives with and rearranges predictable existences. Well recorded responses to mysticism and the uncertain have ranged from stonings to developing cults to writing bestselling novels, but moderate responses to what we do not understand appear to be limited, or to not exist at all. In the realm of literature, what is confusing and, often, strange is bread and butter—the needed fodder for ideological exchange, for the development of assumption shattering introspection.
If we are what we read, shouldn’t we ponder about our reading diet, how do we choose our authors, how do stories become our own? Recently, I’ve been wondering about books, about how they get to our hands, how do we choose them… or do they choose us? In the long process that starts with a voice and a story to tell, the editor becomes a key to the door to an author’s world. That is precisely why Pepitas de Calabaza, a Spanish grassroots editorial, is so important and to have the opportunity to glance into their worlds is nothing short than a gift.
Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo is a harrowing, unfocused, at times thrilling opus. The Life of Pablo is Kanye’s first musical (I emphasize musical) misstep. Kanye recklessly shares it all. America’s biggest rock star is refusing to age gracefully and hell bent on fulfilling his anti-hero manifesto.
Bienvenidos a Cruzando el Border, la serie de meses dedicados a editoriales que publican literatura en español, a este y al otro lado del charco. Durante dos meses, dedicaremos la mayor parte de nuestra sección en español a una de nuestras editoriales preferidas, con eventos y actividades relacionados con la misma.
Catalonia, a region of northeast Spain with its own culture and language, has had its own music scene since the mid-80s. Beyond the boom of indie-pop music generated around the Catalan capital for the last 15 years, new groups from less populated areas but as culturally engaged as Barcelona are breaking through.
“I was raped when I was six years old. I got confined in a psychiatric hospital. I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. I tried to commit suicide five times. I lost my child custody. But I am not going to talk about that. I am going to talk about music. Because Bach saved my life. And I love to be alive.”
In an age when musical nostalgia is raking in money that would make Wall Street blush, it is endearing to see artists restrain from pillaging their past glories for a quick buck. David Jones invented genres and characters only to abandon them so his vision would not be tainted by the rewards that came calling.
Cosmic Horror. It’s a phrase I expect to find written in fat, drippy letters on the cover of an EC comic book from the 1950’s. Or one of the empty promises hurled at the audience in the previews for what will prove to be a predictably ordinary 1940’s horror film: Fiendish Tortures!…Ghastly Terrors!!…Cosmic Horror!!!
Louisa Hall’s novel Speak shocked us all with its thoughtful and rich exploration of the human need for connection; it left us with certain urge to find out more and ask her about the book. Here is that conversation.
Wong Kar-Wai creates art for one medium: film. His are not the kind of movies that could be adapted to any other format, be it book, television, or theater. He paints with the lens, flashes of color slashing across the celluloid. He extracts the best from his actors, beckoning feelings of incredible depth and meaning in a single look. Wong is, to put it simply, a filmic genius crafting masterworks of mood and light for an audience that’s just now coming to appreciate the extent of his oeuvre.
In July, Charles Dee Mitchell wrote an excellent article on this blog entitled “Enough with the Tomes: 4 Authors to Read in an Afternoon.” However, despite its excellent recommendations, the reverse position deserves an ardent defense.
Reading the recommendations of established authors lets you look into the mind of an artist in a unique way; you don’t just see how they love to create, but the creations of others that they admire.
Last June, The Wild Detectives gathered together some of the Texan authors who contributed to Dallas Noir, a short stories collection set in Dallas. Matt Bondurant, Catherine Cuellar, Ben Fountain, Suzanne Frank, Daniel J. Hale, David Hale Smith, Fran Hillyer, Harry Hunsicker, Kathleen Kent and Merritt Tierce opened the also called Dallas Noir, Oak Cliff’s First Literary Festival.
They did it again. I don’t know how, but The Wild Detectives bunch keep managing to surprise us and improve the experience you get when you cross their doors on 8th Street.
Work, family, movies and miles of running. Work, friends, shows and gallons of craft beer. Work, travels, parties and a tones of wasted time online. In half a year there is room for plenty of things and probably not enough for all those goals you had in mind for the New Year. Although, when you leave January behind, does this really matter?
On August 4, Haruki Murakami’s first two novels were released for the first time with a proper English translation. The novels, “Hear the Wind Sing” and “Pinball, 1973,” collected together under the title “Wind/Pinball”, were previously only available through roughly translated epub torrents. The books serve as a fantastic starting point for Murakami’s bibliography of weird, ephemeral fiction.
In this world of incessant breaking news, emails, texts and notifications of every kind it is hard to believe that the passing of E L Doctorow could draw much attention to his figure. Let alone to his books. We shouldn’t fool ourselves.
The website Vulture announced last May that we are coming up on a year of very long novels. In addition to their intimidating page counts, these novels mentioned in the Vulture article have something else in common. I will almost certainly not be reading them.
Good question. Here at the WD we like it when people ask us questions about drinking; it is an area where we have done some research –Mom might say that rather than research, we simply lived in bars. Well, since you asked, let us tell you a little bit about the amazing world of cañas.
The Velvet Underground’s avoid the sophomore slump, artistically speaking at least, by releasing a cathartic rock and roll masterpiece. 1968’s White Light/ White Heat caught lighting in a bottle that spawned another facet of American rock and roll. The riffs honor Chuck Berry and Lou Reed’s lyrics enhance each song by bravely exploring uncharted territories.
In Happiness for Beginners Katherine Center tackles the well-trod territory of a woman on the verge, but what matters is the telling and Center turns it into a fun, entertaining read that has a lot to say about our preconceived notions of others. And of ourselves.
Some of us in the WD family were in Madrid during the Feria del Libro (the World biggest Book Fair in Spanish) and lived, ate, drank and mainly talked literature for a couple of days. Paraphrasing the old ads of a popular beer, we say: books are good for you. And for everybody. Here is why.
A provocateur, the Oak Cliff Film Festival is exactly that. The OCFF stands out far from the conventional festival circuit, with a torch in its hand stirring, provoking. Just take a look at the program and you’ll understand what I mean.
D’Angelo returns from a self imposed exile to deliver a masterful album that questions the madness in the headlines. The music is inspirational and moving. Always one to shun the spotlight, the only aspect he cares to address is his music, a rare trait lacking in todays manufactured superstars.
Music has power, it’s a fact. It has the power to sooth, shake, and stir something inside of us, reaching deep into our souls, awakening, healing us. Music is Our Weapon knows it. That’s why armed with MP3 players and songs, they go around North Texas calling us to fight loneliness and abandonment.
Ingredients for a memorable night: beautiful spring like weather, soft breeze, perfect temperature, blue evening light, the sound of timbales rising, the melody of a son Cubano calling you to the dance floor. Oh… and the authority asking the band to stop.
A message from the Wild Detectives to Dallas about Independent Bookstore Day
April 23 is World Book Day, and at The Wild Detectives we want to make it special. Following a lovely Catalan tradition we’ll be giving a rose with any book purchase from today and over the weekend.
Wine, who doesn’t love wine. Wine is dinner with friends talking your hearts out, lunch at the family table solving the world, or the perfect companion at the end of a long, long day. I’m Argentine, so I know my basics, I like my Malbecs and Cavs, red is for meat, white is for fish. But to be honest, wine is also that mysterious and tempting stranger hard to figure out; so when I attended my first wine tasting, I was both excited and nervous.
If you are near or around the Bishop Art’s District this Saturday come by and pick up a record and support independent establishments. Here is a list of five records available at the Wild Detectives. The list is a sample that tries to cover many genres and styles but convey a unifying quality of distinguished artistic musical statements.
Sometimes, the smallest voices ring the loudest truths.
Like the day before Christmas, or like a kid in front of a candy store, that’s the feeling I get when I have in my hands the guide to the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). The DIFF ninth edition offers 11 days and nights of film; hundreds of movies, and the unique opportunity to watch handpicked worldwide features.
I’ve always liked the idea of reading and getting lost in my own imagination, though there are few books that I have enjoyed reading for the genius intricacies of structure and allure to the aesthetic use of language. There is a delightful feeling to the way that Jeet Thayil has grabbed my short attention span and slowed down time to use Narcopolis to portray a beautifully broken India.
Nobody with a minimum amount of common sense would ever consider neither one of these books Ablutions (Patrick DeWitt, 2009) and Love Me Back (Merritt Tierce, 2014) as inspirational. On the other hand, what anybody can easily see is that when it comes to writing fiction, these two know pretty damn well what they are doing. In fact, it is really hard to believe that we are talking about a couple of debut novels.
Shakespeare in The Bar will be back at The Wild Detectives on March 23 performing Much Ado About Nothing. We wanted to know what’s the thinking process behind all this (beautiful) mess, so we reached out to Katherine Bourne, 33% of the collective mind behind SITB.
Excessive, unsettling, cathartic, the Argentine film Wild Tales aims for nothing less. Damian Szifron’s Oscar nominated movie opens in Dallas theatres on March 13th., posing the puzzling question… what if we loose control, what if we forget our good boys and girls behavior, what if we forsake the rules, what if. Warning it’s not for the faint of heart.
The New York Times is pretty good at telling you how to take the most of 36 hours in a new city, those are nice articles. Well, let me give you my guidelines on how to waste more than 40 hours next time you visit a friend in a new city, with the invaluable soundtrack of Deer Tick’s John McCauley.
A quartet by the name of Mourn has released an album that dares the world to listen up. 2015 has a promising band trying to keep the “us against them” sentiment alive. Mourn’s self titled debut showcases a gang of four on the rise. Somewhere Pete Townshend is smiling. He is smiling because “the kids are alright”.
Our friend Cinthya Salinas, aka Eloquent Gal, has prepared a very thoughtful list of books about love. For all of you that love someone, or would like to love someone, or would like to be loved by someone, or would prefer to not to love someone, or… Well, you get the idea.
Once upon a time in Texas, there was a man perturbed, even aghast, by the rarity of contemporary translations of literature in this country. Thus was born Deep Vellum Publishing. Deep Vellum, based in Dallas, released its first title last December. Woo hoo! Congratulations all around. And what a debut it is: “Texas: the Great Theft” by Carmen Boullosa, translated from the Spanish by Texan Samantha Schnee of Words Without Borders fame. Her translation from the Spanish is inspired: chatty, cleverly colloquial and full of energy.
314 W Eighth St. Oak Cliff.
Dallas, TX 75208. T: 214-942-0108