Everything from this blog, plus all the other flotsam and jetsam about me, is at http://carokess.com/. See you there!
My first solo zine, Re[en]vision: A Guide to Radically Re-Imagining and Re-Writing Your Prose & Poetry, is going like hotcakes, which is super-surprising to me. I recently made this zine in less than 30 days, as part of a great program facilitated by Jessica Semaan of The Passion Co and Janet Frishberg.
The zine compiles some amazing revision exercises from various classes I’ve taken (huge hat tip to the exercises from Diana Park, via Arizona’s poet laureate Alberto Rios), and I walk one of my own poems through many of the exercises. I also have a bit about your inner critic and how to deal with him/her (mine’s the skinny hipster pictured), some extra tips for prose writers, and some wise words from poet John Mortara.
New for me in this zine: hand-lettering things, using a typewriter (thanks, Loren!), drawing a few things, and doing the layout old-school (copy and paste, not on a computer). From a print run of 50, I’ve got about 10 left. Shout if you want one, or keep your eyes peeled for a second print run and/or Re[envision] #2.
The Opposite Of, in all its glory! With 17 contributors both by and beyond the Bay, this zine is packed with the most art we’ve ever had, plus nearly all-new contributors. Tiny Splendor did a beautiful job printing it. Big high-fives to Patrick Gage Kelley who did the cover and Sumeet Banerji who did the interior layout.
Want a copy? It’s only 5 doll hairs, and you can even send that electronically! Just email me, subject line “I want a copy of the zine.”
Thanks to everyone who made it to the party at the gorgeous space and even started a dance party at the end! It was so much FUN to celebrate with you.
Hip hip! A recording of me reading a poem into a phone. I still cringe at my “transatlantic accent” (as a dear friend once described it) but maybe you’ll be into it. (Thanks to John for all his tireless work on Voicemail Poems.)
IN SOME VERSION OF YOUR LIFE
- Caroline Kessler
A woman / loose-hipped in a floor-length
dress sewn entirely from gold-
en poppies / sings an answer-less song / what good
is a heart with no one
to love. Her guitar gets lost
in her hands. You’re too small
to see properly / your lover
offers to hoist you up, hold you
on his shoulders like your father did
when you were tiny and even when you weren’t /
but you like being this close to the ground, anchored
in the sand-silt of the Sutro Caves. There is
a projector aimed at the furrowed cave walls,
a whirligig of all the colors / the ceiling starts to mirror
the people below, but you know that’s not right.
Your friend Simon says we will all turn into mushrooms in boxes,
and be buried in boxes made of mushrooms / and then
we will all finally be the same.
Behind you, your lover bobs to the music / to a beat
that doesn’t match up with the one you’re hearing.
You wonder which one of you is out of tune.
You wonder how to escape his hold on your hips.
You want to throw yourself into the tiny crowd, bouncing
near the stage like confetti. You want to stay
exactly where you are / how you are.
You want your chest to be filled with air and light, the easier
for you to dance. You want to leave, now. You wonder
how to do that. You want someone
to lay directly on top of you, pressing down. You wonder
how you can feel unbreakable.
Caroline Kessler called us from San Francisco, CA.
Yeahhhh, that’s about right. The New York Times dialect quiz has been going around the usual spots on the internet so of course I gave in and took it, to see if all my east-coast-isms actually indicate I’m from the east coast.
Turns out they do. The three cities that closely matched the pattern of my dialect are Baltimore, Washington, Arlington. Guess where I’m from? A suburb that’s between Baltimore and DC, leaning slightly closer to Charm City. Neato!
A cool thing coming up / voicemail poems.
So I stumbled across voicemailpoems the other day (and by day, I mean really late night hyped up on caffeine and procrastinating on a editing deadline) and promptly called the number on the website and read a poem I wrote (read, had just finished editing) called “In Some Version of Your Life,” which seemed most apropos at the time. The uber-cool John Mortara and House Phillips run the site, which posts…you guessed it, poems left on a voicemail (and the accompanying text) every Monday through Thursday.
I’m stoked to have my poem come out on Wednesday, January 8. Stay tuned!
monday, 12/30 - W. M. Butler
tuesday, 12/31 - Kimberly Tan
wednesday, 01/01 - Carabella Sands
thursday, 01/02 - Carissa Pignatelli
monday, 01/06 - Ryan Scott Fallon
tuesday, 01/07 - Valentina Salski
wednesday, 01/08 - Caroline Kessler
thursday, 01/09 - Joschua Beres
call us! 1-910-703-POEM
"Caroline in San Francisco turned 3 today!"
Well, that’s what the email said on December 7…I just put off doing anything about it. But it’s kind of hilarious, either way. This blog actually started as Caroline in India, and then went through the following iterations:
Caroline in Poland, Caroline in Pittsburgh, Caroline in San Francisco, Caroline in Limbo, Caroline in San Francisco.
I wonder where in the world she’ll end up next?!
IF THERE IS TO BE A ZEITGEIST GOING FORWARD…
As I continue down a correspondence/dance of corresponding with my dear friend Isabel, I’m increasingly obsessed with this neat little e-chapbook from NAP. Isa and I are thinking about making something (a zine/a book/a thing we haven’t dreamed up yet) when we unite in Boston around New Year’s.
The short version of this chapbook? In December 2011, Robert Kloss and James Tadd Adcox “traded selves”, aka they sent each other every written word on their hard drives. Then, they each wrote using only the other’s words, posting the work on their respective websites.
"it is worth noting, perhaps," that the two men have never met.
(Quotes taken from the introduction)
IF THERE IS TO BE A ZEITGEIST GOING FORWARD, I IMAGINE IT TO BE FOCUSED ON ATTEMPTS AT IMMORTALITY, AND THE WAYS WE ERASE OURSELVES FOR IMMORTALITY, AND THE WAYS WE RECORD OURSELVES RECORDING OURSELVES
BY JAMES TADD ADCOX & ROBERT KLOSS
I was super-honored to read my poem “Dear California” alongside some brilliant poets, prose writers, and artists at Quiet Lightning's November 13 show at The Lab, with The Center for the Art of Translation.
A bunch of awesome friends showed up, and Orie took some photos. Afterwards, the bros (Francisco, Ty, Orie) and I went to Bender’s for
whiskey Wednesdays and fried things some high-brow intellectual discussion about the show.
It feels weird to put my face on the Internet, but maybe people who do not have the privilege to live in our smug, foggy city want to see me reading my poem. If not, just scroll through the playlist to see some other people reading and drawing (true story!) their work.
Always Look a Dog in the Eye.
This is my way of saying I am back from the bicycle trip (Seattle to San Francisco) and Lulu and I are making a zine about the trip. We’re calling the zine (you guessed it) Always Look a Dog in the Eye, after some terrifying encounters with those four-legged creatures in Washington State. We’ll include some drawings, maps, title story, notes from a first-time bike tourist (my piece), a blog post from our friend Ocean, and a few more surprises.
Limited printing! Probably about 30 copies. More details soon.
Off the grid until October 14.
After what felt like a million trips to REI, Sports Basement, random variety stores on Clement Street, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, plus a bunch of packing and some researching, I’m nearly ready to embark on the multi-week bike trip with several friends.
Lulu, Trevor, and I will drive up to Portland tomorrow, hang out with some friends there, and then make our way to Seattle, where we’ll unload the 5 bikes we hauled up the coast, find our crew, make last-minute adjustments to bikes, buy more gear, see more friends, and then get going. We’ll follow the coast all the way down to San Francisco, camp at state and national parks along the way, do some foraging, eat a bunch of the salmon jerky that Simon just made, and hopefully not get too soaked.
Look for some updates in words and images in late October.
A massive thank you to everyone in San Francisco who turned out (and stayed late!) for the FAULTS reading and release party last Friday night. In case you missed it, or in your drunken debauchery forgot to take a copy, we have plenty left.
$5, free delivery in SF, add $1.50 for postage if you are outside of the Bay Area. Write to me (or leave a comment) if you want to mail a check, or send via PayPal or Venmo.
Thanks again to all of our contributors, and especially Sumeet Banerji for the layout and Sirima Sataman for her letterpress.
Our fingers ache from binding 200 copies of our latest zine, FAULTS but we’re stoked to share it with you. If you can’t make the party in San Francisco tonight, drop a line to indexfist [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll send you a copy (or local delivery by bike in SF proper!). Prose, poetry, and images from folks in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and of course, Fog City.
We know, we know. You’re jonesing for an update about the next zine, FAULTS. You’re chomping at the bit for a sneak preview of this thing full of art, poetry, and prose, all bound together by hand. Actually by hand.
So here are a few photos of the time that Lulu and I spent at the gorgeous Ink Paper Plate Press, with its founder Sirima Sataman. Located in the heart of the Dogpatch, Sirima’s live/work studio space gets the best afternoon light and was a treat to play in. She was ridiculously generous with her time, materials, and knowledge, and we’re thrilled to have had her collaborate with us. Lulu and I printed over 200 covers by hand, as well as a few rainbow-inked posters for fun.
We’re releasing FAULTS in all its glory on Friday, August 16. Stay tuned for more info, or drop us a line if you want to be added to our mailing list: indexfist [at] gmail [dot] com.
Photo credits: Lulu Richter.
We’re making another zine: FAULTS.
Recently, three other San Francisco-based ladies-who-get-shit-done and I launched Habits of the Mouth, a zine of prose, poetry, and art from over 15 contributors. We’ve recovered from the debauchery and delights of our last release party and reading, named ourselves Index/Fist, and we’re now accepting submissions of more prose, poetry, and art for the next zine.
The theme? FAULTS. The release? August 2013.
We’d love for you to submit (yes, you). Submission guidelines and FAQS are below. Due to space constraints, we won’t be able to accept all of the work we receive. Feel free to pass this on to any faulty-minded friends or lovers. All contributors will receive one free copy of the zine.
Send a .doc or .docx version of your work and a short bio (35 words or less) to email@example.com by July 1. Submissions should:
- Be an inventive or classic variation on the theme “faults.” Wikipedia’s got some great ideas here.
- Prose must be 750 words or less.
- Poetry must be 45 lines or less.
- Images (.jpg please) must be 300dpi. Due to difficultly reprinting, we currently do not accept photography.
- Submissions will be read blind, so pleasedo not include your name in your attachment.
Simultaneous submissions are just fine, but please, no previously published work. We’ll let you know if we’ve accepted your work by August 1.
Hey, what’s a zine? Zines are self-published works with a limited distribution. They can be cut & paste photocopy jobs, bound journals, or a simple computer print-out stapled together. All of our zines are hand-stitched volumes made with extreme care. They are not for profit and are distributed within San Francisco and, upon request, across the US via mail.
How is this different from a literary journal? We’re bypassing traditional publishing norms and venues by printing, binding, and distributing a small collection of gorgeous books by hand. Our zines celebrate content and presentation. We make limited print runs. Read: you cannot get this on the Internet.
What kind of work are you looking for? Concise and compelling prose, poetry, and images that bend our idea of what FAULTS means. We appreciate works of all genres with distinct points of views, as well as images that can be easily reprinted.
Can I still submit if I don’t live in San Francisco? Damn straight you can.
Why are you calling yourselves Index/Fist? Are you some sort of S&M group? Ha! Because it’s a bangin’ typographical symbol that desperately needs to get some more play in the printed world. ☞ ☞ ☞ ☞
I don’t want to submit but I want to get a copy of the zine and come to the release party. How can I do that? By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org those exact words.