Zachary Masons The Lost Books of the Odyssey, winner of Starcherones penultimate fiction prize, purports to be an ancient text, recently decoded by the author along with a moonlighting NSA cryptographer, which gives variants on Homers epic of the Trojan War. (You can pick it up for the preface alone, a devilishly clever history of the texts discovery and interpretation.)
I was being tortured so lost my mind a little. In the beginning they would fold me into a small box and leave me there. Then, after I wouldn’t give them what was impossible for me to give them, they left me alone in a dark cell
After I lost the dog on the highway, that is, after I lost Frank, I flew my drone around in widening ever-panicking gyres until my battery died and the drone went crashing onto the sidewalk. I didnt even bother to retrieve it but got in the van and, rather numb, drove home, parked, went into the kitchen for a glass of water, sat down on the couch, and then wept into my hands. So close and yet so far away, I kept repeating to myself.
Earlier, when we were younger, we were best friends and, for a night, lovers. It was difficult because he was straight and liked girl-next-door types and I was basically appalled but we werent boogie so we could do it but it was, frankly, bogus, just to wild out. But even before that I was his cinematographer.
I’d like to propose a definition that modifies Zukofsky’s metaphor to clarify and broaden the term of “experimental writing” and which thus hopefully rehabilitates it from the censure of the many — including a formally daring writer like Erickson — who view the province of experimental writing as a naval-gazing warren, an unpopular gymnasium occupied solely by the effete.
Its when the cop is punching my face that I make the decision. I decide to go look for my sister. My whole life Id indulged in a stupid thrill, a very risky habit. In the middle of the night Id sneak through the town and deface posters of the beloved president.
A writer of constant invention, Gilbert Sorrentino was a maverick artist who, in each of his seventeen fiction works, reinvented the idea of the novel. Entwined with this basic avant-garde helix were Sorrentino’s repeating concerns: the pretension, corruption, and fakery of New York’s art scene; the unyielding and common brutality of poverty, its propagation of sadism; mid-century, working-class Brooklyn; the ineffable artificiality of art.