Hello, Andrew Keller here — senior editor at the Philadelphia (Drexel) office.
Instead of giving you a this-is-me, slice-of-life, first-time thing, I’m going to get to blogging in the hopes that: a) we’ll get regular readers who come back week after week, and b) because of that, what I do, who I am, and the kinds of things I’m interested in will come across slowly. Ok? Ok.
I just read the responses to what editors like, and I can’t think of a better way to summarize what we all look for than what Matt Longabucco said in his first sentence: “familiar language made strange and strange language made familiar.” I totally agree, and I would add that what Matt seems to apply only to poetry is a somewhat universal rule for things art-related — at least for me.
This statement applies to one of my favorite books of poetry in the last couple years. You can find a great example of the familiar becoming strange in the title: The Magical Breasts of Britney Spears. Written by Ryan G. Van Cleave and published by Red Hen Press these poems tap into what may be the result of de-familiarizing the familiar. Namely, they’re funny as hell. And touching. Van Cleave points out the absurdities of pop culture and pop music, among other things. Word from Red Hen people is that Van Cleave is working on a sequel. No doubt he’ll have a lot to say about Spears’s activity of-late.
Another good poetry book from Red Hen is Hitler’s Mustache by Peter Davis. (Unfortunately, I lent this book to a neighborhood barista who then packed up and moved to Vermont. So Virginia, enjoy the book. I’ll get it from the library again soon). Mustache is a book that’s also funny, but the humor comes mostly from the fright of looking more closely at the figure we all love to hate. You can read more about the book at Davis’s blog, http://www.hitlersmustache.blogspot.com. The collection is surreal and the wordplay alone is enough to make your brain hurt for a long time.
If you’re looking for good music, the band Power Animal is probably my favorite right now. Check out their music at http://www.myspace.com/poweranimalpa. Keep in mind that, for now, the guy did all the music himself. They’re traveling down to Texas really soon — in fact, they might be there now — to re-record the demos and put out a proper CD. Not that the demos are bad; they just don’t have as much punch as when you see them as a full band. But yes, this music is highly suggested if you like things like the Books, Sigur Ros, and Mum. Or simply highly suggested.
Enjoy the rest of winter. Spring is coming!