<3 BOOKS <3

PANK loves books!

Next month, we will begin reviewing them. If you’d like to join the team, please send us a greeting and brief writing/criticism sample at pankmagazine@gmail.com and we’ll start coordinating. If you’re a small press with big perspective, we’d like to hear from you too.

ATTN: Book Reviews

A few words from editors Ashley Jones and Chris Campanioni

Hello, world.

Allow me to introduce myself—I’m Ashley, and I’m thrilled to be an editor here at PANK. This promises to be quite a transformative journey for me as a writer and as an editor, and I can’t wait to see what kind of art we can show the world. This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the writer’s responsibility as a citizen of Earth and as an artist, and I think, now that the year is reaching its end and all those confusing New Year’s Eve feelings start to creep up, I’ve finally realized what that responsibility is. In short, an artist must be responsible. My art is primarily concerned with race, gender, and American culture, and that type of art carries various responsibilities—historical accuracy and/or truth, a certain level of open-mindedness, and a responsibility to adequately give voice to the histories I’m telling or retelling. In this way, an artist has a responsibility to pay attention, to write the art that defines her era, to keep her finger on the pulse so that, years from now, readers can get a sense of what it was like to live in Birmingham, Alabama, USA— or Anywhere, USA— in 2015. But there’s also the artist’s responsibility to the art itself—we are creating because, at some level, it’s fun and it’s exciting and it makes us feel alive. Throwing yourself wholeheartedly into a piece, exploring new avenues of language and sound, and pushing the envelope with content and style are all things that artists should be thinking about as they take to the page. We are required, in many ways, to uphold some of the magic and wonder of art and its ordinary mystery. This is what I will try to do in my own work, and that is what I’m looking for in submissions to PANK. I want us, as artists, to create wild art with purpose. I want us to care about what we put on the page, and I want us to be passionately responsible. In the immortal words of troubling-yet-funky superstar James Brown, I’m just tryna do my thang. And I want you—I need you—to do yours.

-Ashley Jones

Here I am, standing between cases filled with books, most of them listed alphabetically, or at least by genre. I’ve made a routine of this. Opening and closing, returning and removing. I flip open each book to read the first sentence, or the first full paragraph. Then I begin again. It’s become my obsession. I want to be overtaken, or taken somewhere new. Again and again. But first I need to be held, or held in place. I need to be arrested. As our culture continues to proliferate images, text, and yes, moments, increasingly devaluing experience and our time, or the time we spend in solitude, the written word has never been more important, or more powerful. When I received the opportunity to co-edit PANK, I asked writers to send me something they believe in. Before I can believe it, you need to. If the passion is on the page, it will dismantle the page— or screen— through which we’ll eventually read it. Mediums are storefront windows. I want words that teach me something new about the language we use every day.

Here I am and here you are too.

I believe in art that renounces politics in favor of provocation; nothing is more dangerous to all forms of dictatorship. I believe in art that is not Left or Right but forward. The one area of our culture that cannot afford to be coddled, self-censored, and silenced by self-righteous liberalism or regressive fundamentalism and the binaries and polarization that have produced both. I often think of the Left and Right as infants, crying and carrying on in the hopes of drowning each other in each other’s reductionism, playing a game of chicken or a staring contest, wondering when the other might blink, only to find that, upon blinking, intellect and understanding have actually disappeared. Soon, there won’t be anything left to collide with.

I believe that we can only create this sort of art together vis–à–vis a community of people who are fearless and vulnerable and not afraid to be anything but themselves—and to see themselves in one another.

I might as well start with my name: Chris. The people that know me best often call me other names: Tribilín, Cuba, Chris Pup, cc. Everything else is a click away. But among those Google search results, you won’t find whom I love to read, and the kind of writing I deeply admire.

I became a writer because I read William S. Burroughs’ The Wild Boys and realized I wanted to create worlds, inhabit them with characters, live in them too. He dropped syntax and disintegrated narrative and it made my mind stop. It still often does. Then came Edith Wharton, especially The House of Mirth, and much later, Genet (“The Balcony”), Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Tres Tristes Tigres), Antonio Tabucchi (Indian Nocturne), Manuel Puig (Heartbreak Tango), Olive Schreiner (The Story of an African Farm), Jean Rhys (Voyage in the Dark), Severo Sarduy (Cobra), and a list that continues to exhilarate me. The poetry of Matthew Arnold and Andrew Marvell and e.e. Cummings and Philip Larkin and Nicanor Parra and Terrence Hayes and Eduardo C. Corral and CAConrad and Morgan Parker. Musicians like Brian Eno and David Byrne and Bernard Sumner and Trent Reznor. I’ve abandoned divisions between poetry and prose in my work and celebrate the artists who’ve traced similar marks, emphasizing rhythm and the relationship that exists between words, words that ricochet off other words, words that live on in other words, language that reads like music.

So like Madonna catechized during “Into the Groove,” back in 1987, or as David Bowie demanded four years earlier:

Let’s dance.

-Chris Campanioni

PANK’s New Boys and Girls

PANK’S NEW EDITORS

PANK’s new editors are John Gosslee, Chris Campanioni, and Ashley M. Jones.

The article THE RISE AND FALL AND RISE OF A GREAT AMERICAN LITERARY JOURNAL is up at LitHub, but as one of the new editors I wanted to share the non-lit Lit Hub fun version, which Lit Hub felt was a little less scrubbed than what they wanted to run.

STEP OUT OF LINE

Literature is important. Adopting literature is important, helping it to grow up and speak its mind and learn to scream from the rooftops because people are only used to hearing a whisper is perhaps the most important thing. PANK is the rooftop and the bullhorn amplifying those voices and I’ve always listened. Biting literature is important. If you’re hungry it feeds you, if you aren’t feeling enough, it reminds you that you are made of blood. Yes, if you’re reading this you are made of blood and you already think literature is important, but according to the National Endowment for the Arts study, “To Read or Not to Read” there was a 7 percent decline in all readers over 18 from 1992 to 2002 and part of the problem is that it’s the most recent study. If I remember correctly, 2002 was a different world where I’d just begun drinking legally and the first camera phone hit the market.

Maybe the decline in reading was because there just wasn’t enough engaging material out there for people that wanted a little more risk, a little more growl, a lot more nerve. Kind of like today’s vanilla with The Fault in Our Stars or Insert-Decently-Written-but-otherwise-boring-garbage HERE, there’s not enough edge or openness. Maybe it’s the education system’s meat factory that curdles all of that blood or it’s that there aren’t enough publications that can take on the risk of non-canonical work. Honestly, it’s good that people are reading even if its ad copy on the cereal box for free Underdog cartoons. Oh god, I take that sentence back.

Some background on my orientation, in 2006 I made my first bid to purchase a small Canadian poetry magazine that had a strong following, but needed some real work. In 2006 in a kind of response, Matt Seigel and Roxanne Gay started PANK Magazine to publish “emerging and innovative poetry and prose, publishing the brightest and most promising writers for the most adventurous readers.” And since then everyone has tried to land a gig in arguably the most interesting, engaging and risky magazine on the scene.

The other magazine declined my offer and said they were going to keep running it. They closed in 2007. I found PANK in 2007 and began submitting. In early 2010 I told my undergraduate school that I wanted to take the undergraduate literary journal into national circulation and after a lot of meetings I told the head of the English Department, “I don’t understand why you won’t let me do this.” She replied, “Sometimes I can’t do things my superiors won’t let me do either.” The professor who ran the magazine and didn’t agree with the vision lives in New York and you don’t know him. I started Fjords that fall and now we’re in 1000 bookstores in 8 countries. I live the literary scene, I breath the words, it’s all that there is for me in the world.

Like many authors, I’d received plenty of rejections from PANK, but in 2013 as an editor I had some in-roads. I approached PANK about doing an ad trade with Fjords and the response was warm. Then the literary gods put our tables side by side at the AWP. Roxane said, “they knew, they knew.” In early 2015 I hosted M. Bartley Seigel on the Transatlantic Poetry Series when he was in Croatia teaching, so we had an affinity.

Then I saw the announcement, PANK was shuttering. In that moment I thought, I should buy it from them and keep the blood of this beast coursing through our collective veins. PANK represents a freshness of dialogue and willingness to publish sophisticated material with an edge that I haven’t found anywhere else. I decided to wait on making an offer. I was traveling from Los Angeles to New York City every couple of weeks and didn’t want to put any new blood in my glass. That thing is always running over anyway, which is why my jeans are always stained. In October I received my final rejection from PANK and replied to Matt, “What would you think about my purchasing PANK?” I couldn’t stand to see something I loved, something so singular that so many people care about close. Let me say it like this, IT’S PANK. Our first talk was in early October when I was on the ground at the Cleveland airport and after a couple of weeks we’d agreed on terms. I’m enthusiastic about bringing the magazine’s rich Best American Poetry, New York Times noted and so-many-other-strong-recommendations history into becoming a full-fledged teenager with a driver’s license. PANK has published everyone you know and everyone you should know.

Matt’s note on why they picked me for the position he wrote on December 4th, 2015. “Roxane and I have been editing and publishing PANK for almost a decade. That’s a long time in the contemporary lit mag world. Little magazines are, for the most part, like mayflies, they come and go. Both Roxane and I are older now, well into our careers, lots of irons in the fire so to speak, and lit mags are for a different, dare I say younger kind of hustler. Neither of us were feeling that energy in the same way we did 10 years ago. So it was time to either hand PANK Magazine over to newer blood or consider closing it down. We assumed it would be the latter. We didn’t like the idea of just giving it to someone, this thing we had built up from scratch. Neither did we have any expectation that there was a market for the brand. Lit mags don’t sell, right? That’s not a thing? So when interested parties started coming forward with a willingness to buy, we were surprised, to say the least. But neither are we interested in people fixating on the money; we’re not talking about much of it here, just enough for us to feel assured that whoever inherited the throne would conduct themselves in serious and professional manner. We needed someone to put their money where their mouth is, just for that assurance, or we would have simply walked away. There could have been other ways to get that job done, I’m sure, but those didn’t materialize. When John stepped up we knew we had in him the right inheritor, one with the wherewithal and experience necessary to hit the ground running and make good on the job we started. John’s going to crush it, in the best sense, and both Roxane and I are very excited for the future of the magazine and for literary magazines in general.”

What’s next for PANK? Really, it’s going to stay the same, extra nerve, full soul, strong mouth, but it’s not like PANK’s profile needs a vitamin shot.

PANK Magazine Lives

Dear everyone,

We told you back in August that Roxane and I had decided perhaps a decade of publishing PANK Magazine had been enough, that we were ready to move on. Then, a few weeks ago, we dropped that maybe we’d be willing to sell PANK, hand it over to new hands, new blood. We were a little surprised to see so many line up to the challenge. And we are so very pleased to announce our little magazine has, indeed, been purchased, and will live on under new, energetic, competent, and very capable management. In the coming weeks, you’ll learn more about the new landlords. They’ll, in turn, let you know all about their plans and schemes for carrying on with what we started. I hope you’re as excited as Roxane and me to know this, that 2015 isn’t the last year for PANK Magazine, that more is in store just out of sight, just around the bend.

But more importantly, I write to tell you how immeasurably proud Roxane and I are of our work with PANK Magazine. We have such boundless gratitude for all the staff, interns, contributors, and for each and every writer and reader who labored alongside us over the last decade to make this strange and wonderful thing. Thank you so much to everyone who played even the smallest of roles in making our weird little world what it was and is and will become. It’s been such an immensely gratifying and humbling experience to work and write and edit and publish and read with you.

Please don’t be stop pushing into the edges of things. Please don’t stop being strange. Please, when we cross paths again, don’t be strangers.

As we’ve been known to say all along, no less true now than then…

PANK loves you.

Don’t  forget it.

–M. Bartley Seigel

Call for Applications: Interviews Editors, PANK Blog

Hello! It’s me, Opportunity calling!

PANK Blog is looking for a new editorial duo to run the fashionable and fascinating LIGHTNING ROOM series, which interviews PANK Magazine contributors.

Exciting! Perhaps it will be you!

Things to Think About Before You Apply

*This job is a labor of love. Nobody on the editorial staff of the blog or the mag make any money at this. But we do our best to make the lit-space sparkle and we have very cool swag. Continue reading

Gone Fishin’

PANK blog will be on hiatus for the summer. Please check back with us around about September 1 for more PANK-Y goodness.

Here’s looking up your old address!

 

A Passing of the Editorial Torch

Greetings, fine PANK readers! I bring you nightmares news!

Some of you already know me as reviews editor here at PANK, a job I’ve been doing since fall of 2012.

*waves at my awesome reviewers*

To the rest of you, hi there! It’s been positively blissful to bring smart words about so many excellent books to the blog for you this year, and now I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted the editorial torch from the formidable and fabulous Abby Koski (who has new adventures of her own ahead!), and will be stepping into the role of associate editor in charge of All Things Blog at PANK!

As I get settled in, we will be putting the blog on hiatus for July and August. A summer vacation, if you will. We all deserve it, don’t we?

Yes.

So, while you wait for our Cicada Overlords to crawl out of their subterranean strongholds (Maybe they already have? We’re still waiting for them here in central PA) and land officiously on your watermelon-jicama salad, why not pour yourself a gin & tonic (or, better still, a Red Eye with candied cicada garnish–yum!), bring the laptop to the porch, and peruse our wonderful archives of reviews, interviews, columns and other tasty blog content.

Set your Google Calendar Alarm for September 1 (or, you know, thereabouts), when we’ll be back with all the old, awesome PANK stuff and maybe some new, even awesomer PANK stuff, too.

I’m excited! It’s exciting! Thanks for having me and see you in September!

~Sheila

 

Sheila Squillante is the author of three chapbooks of poetry and one artists book collaboration with the experimental photographer, Paul Bilger. Her full-length collection will be published by Tiny Hardcore Press in 2014. Her poems and essays have appeared in places like Brevity, The Rumpus, Barrelhouse, Phoebe, TYPO, No Tell Motel, Thrush Poetry Journal, Superstition Review and elsewhere. She joins the faculty of Chatham University in Pittsburgh this summer as the associate director of their low-res MFA program.  Follow along at www.sheilasquillante.com.

 

 

Announcing [PANK] 7

Marking the first of our move to bi-annual print issues, we are proud to announce the scheduled release of [PANK] 7 for September 1, 2012. [PANK] 7 is a yearbook of literature, a dense periodical filled with the author’s you need to remember, to watch, to meet up with again, to re-read the hand written notes of; not afraid to put next to one another the traditional and the rebellious, the senior and the amateur.

Issue 7 features new writing from Matthew Baker, Rusty Barnes, Jeremy Bauer, Nathan Blake, Sommer Browning, Elizabeth Cantwell, Sérah Carter, Rebecca Cook, Brandon Courtney, Michelle Dean, Alicia Erian, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Alia Hamada, Kathleen Hellen, Caitlin Horrocks, Kathryn Houghton, Simon Jacobs, Hilary S. Jacqmin, Eugenia Leigh, DW Lichtenberg, Michael Martone, James May, Mark Neely, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Terrance Owens, Scott Pinkmountain, Kevin Sampsell, Cheryl & Janet Snell, Dennis James Sweeney, Sarah Tourjee, Jordan Wiklund, and Kelly A. Wilson.

152 pages of awesome. Much better than your high school yearbook, a remnant, but certainly not one to be stowed away. Read sample pieces here. Pre-order your copy here.

 

Sunday News

You only have a few hours left to buy Matt Bell’s Wolf Parts.

WOLF-PARTS-FINAL2-front

Go HERE to buy.

You only have a few hours left to enter this contest with a pretty sweet prize.

Corium Magazine launches tomorrow and it is going to be exceptional.

March Madness makes me crazy. I’m sick of having to watch the games or rather, I’m sick of spending time with an individual who insists on watching the games. I don’t understand all this talk of brackets. I smiled when Kansas lost.

Outside Writers Collective is auctioning some cool slipcases.

Today is Perfect Movie Sunday on Lifetime Movie Network. I’d really rather be watching that. Kirstie Alley’s new show debuts tonight. I’m sure the word “fat” will be involved.

An enterprising individual has developed a glyph to represent  sarcasm. That’s the product of a whole lot of free time, I think.

This website’s sole purpose is to dissect Julia Alison’s public persona. Fascinating.

GaGa Stigmata: Critical Writings and Art About Lady GaGa. Need I say more? Well, I will say THIS.