Month: July 2016

Dark Matters

By Craig Clevenger

Dark Matters image small

“You’re a smart kid. Figure it out.” — The Hitcher, 1986

Every ghost story is, at its core, about the struggle to be recognized; about the dead—invisible and immaterial—and their efforts to be received by the living, who in turn must do likewise among those not being haunted. Witness the typical second-act protest in a typical horror film: “I’m not crazy. I know what I saw. I was there.” For the living, to be similarly disregarded—to be treated like a ghost—can be worse than meeting one. I don’t write ghost stories, but I do write about characters who are both figuratively haunted and who have in some fashion themselves been rendered ghosts. People call my stories dark.

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TCR talks with Bruce Bauman

Cover-Broken-SleepBy Heather Scott Partington

Bruce Bauman’s novel Broken Sleep is six hundred pages of madness. But it’s madness with intent. The author’s postmodern rock and roll saga takes on politics, art, and the idea of inheritance. Moses Teumer, a professor suffering from leukemia, goes looking for his real parents to find a bone marrow match. He discovers his mother, Salome Savant, was a young artist impregnated by a rumored Nazi; Salome was told after Moses’ birth that he was dead, while he was skirted away in a quick adoption. When Moses finds Salome, he also discovers he has a half-brother, Alchemy Savant, who is a star in the most famous band in the world, The Insatiables. But in a book where characters believe they can time-travel through their DNA, nothing is as simple as it seems.

Bauman, senior editor of the well-respected but recently defunct literary magazine Black Clock, is a professor for CalArts’ MFA and Critical Studies programs. His work in Broken Sleep is unlike anything I can remember reading. Its multi-layered plot, titles, character names, discography and puns operate on a level unlike most contemporary fiction. Bruce and I caught up recently by email after our panel at the LA Times Festival of Books (“Fiction: Finding a New Normal”).

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Lenney on Lenney: TCR talks with Dinah Lenney

By PAM MUnter

Dinah2A graduate of Yale and the Bennington Writing Seminars, Dinah Lenney also trained at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse School, home of the esteemed Sanford Meisner technique. Like writing, acting has taken her to myriad places—stage, screen and theater—allowing her to play a wide variety of roles.

Dinah has taught both acting and writing courses all over the country. She has also spoken at a TED conference at USC, a presentation integrating her interest in all the arts, “When Life Meets Art.” With Mary Lou Belli, she wrote Acting For Young Actors: The Ultimate Teen Guide.

And she has written two memoirs, the first (Bigger Than Life: A Murder, A Memoir) the story of her relationship with her father following his brutal murder. The second (The Object Parade: Essays) is a collection of autobiographical essays. More recently, she edited and contributed to a collection of flash essays, Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction, with Judith Kitchen.

In between books, Dinah has written essays and reviews for literary journals, anthologies, and newspapers—both online and print. She is currently a Senior Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and have two grown children.

The Coachella Review: Let’s start at the top. Why did you start writing?

Dinah Lenney: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember—since I was a kid. I wrote to entertain myself and I wrote to let off steam—to figure things out—because if I didn’t write it down, whatever it was, I thought I’d burst. And that’s still why I write. I write, therefore I think, y’know? And not the other way around.

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TCR talks with Jacqueline Kolosov

By Joelyn Suarez

This interview accompanies Jacqueline Kolosov’s essay “Afterwards.”

Jackie & Marah profileJacqueline Kolosov is a widely published author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She has two YA novels out this year, and co-edited Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. Her collection of essays, Motherhood, and the Places Between, is forthcoming. One of the essays included in the collection is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Burns Archive Prize for Nonfiction in the Bellevue Literary Review. She also teaches in the Department of English at Texas Tech University.

Kolosov took the time to talk with The Coachella Review about everything from her intriguing versatility as a writer to reproductive technologies and the Syrian refugee crisis.

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By Jacqueline Kolosov

Almost it would appear that it is useless in such confusion to ask the night those questions as to what, and why, and wherefore, which tempt the sleeper from his bed to seek an answer—

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

End of Week Twenty-Four by Pregnancy’s Calendar

In these final, amber-lit days of October, the New Mexico aspen and cottonwood trees still hold their yellow-gold leaves. Climbing higher into Santa Fe’s foothills, I roll down the windows to breathe in the gin smell of juniper and scents far less easy to identify in this dry, high altitude air. The last time I was here, five months ago, feathery yellow poppies and purple lupine flanked the steep gravel road leading up to the tiny house at the top. Now it’s all fiddle-shaped scorpion weed and brown-edged yucca and cacti, though I notice some wild gourds growing along the roadside, and red-cheeked flickers with speckled breasts, a male and a female, flitting in and out of the scrub pine.

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