The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Erasing Infinite - BuzzFeed Books

Erasing Infinite's Jenni B. Baker (check out her interview with The Howling Fantods here) had 13 poems from her Infinite Jest erasure poetry project featured on BuzzFeed Books today, One Writer Is Creating Her Own Poetry By Erasing Words From Pages Of “Infinite Jest”.


Reading Wallace Reading - The Smart Set

I heard good things about this paper after Mike Miley presented it at the DFW conference earlier this year. I wasn't there so I'm glad he's got this up online. It is fantastic. Do not hesitate to read this.

ViaThe Smart Set - Mike Miley's, Reading Wallace Reading:

I have David Foster Wallace’s personal copy of Don DeLillo’s novel End Zone. It is in my hands. It used to be his, and now it’s mine, albeit temporarily and under careful supervision by credentialed professionals. It is teeth-chatteringly cold in this room and brain-fryingly hot on the street because it’s July in Austin. People are baking cookies on their dashboards, and they’re delicious. It will not rain until September.

I am relaying this information to you from the Reading Room of The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which in addition to housing the most powerful air conditioner in North America, houses pretty much every literary archive that you could dream of having access to, including the David Foster Wallace Archive, which, along with Wallace’s manuscripts and correspondence, has about 300 books from his personal library, 250 of which contain copious annotations in Wallace’s miniscule handwriting. I am actually being paid, or, more accurately, subsidized, to read his annotations.


Continue reading here...

[Thanks, Mike]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 01:03

Lego Jesting

There's more than one Infinite Jest in Lego Project?

Ryan M Blanck's Infinite Lego Project:

(Hal in the Admissions Office)


Kevin Griffith and Sebastian Petrou Griffith's Brickjest:

(There was a horrible sound. The skin of his forehead distended as we yanked his head back.)


Brief Interviews With Hideous Men - Aug 28-30

A new stage production of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews With Hideous Men from Yellow Lab Productions will run from August 28-30 at The Point Theatre in Ingram Texas (Further details here).

David McGuff has adapted it for the stage and is directing too. I took the opportunity to ask David a couple of questions about the upcoming production and the process of gaining approval/securing rights from The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust.

THF: Hi David, congrats on securing the rights and thanks for answering a couple of questions.  I've helped plenty of interested people get in touch with The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust about securing rights but I've never asked anyone about the full process. What's involved?

David McGuff: As far as securing the rights, it was a generally painless experience (once I found out who I needed to talk with). I expressed interest, and gave them a run down of my production company and theatrical history. I talked briefly (pun intended) about what the book meant to me, and how I saw it as a theatrical production, and my overall vision and intent. They responded back, and said yes. We went back and forth hammering out details, and they were very hands-off as far my adaptation, I was given no guidelines etc. There were a few times where their responses sort of took a while, but I imagine they're busy and my relatively small rights fee probably isn't top of their list of things to do. When I was concerned I'd send a follow up e-mail. As of now we're settled, I just sent the check in with my countersigned rights permission.

THF: And the adaptation itself?

David McGuff: As far as my actual adapting, it was extremely difficult and challenging. I, like most of the people on this site are likely to be, am a huge fan of DFW. And to cover the breadth and depth of the book (we're adapting all but 2 of the interviews and a couple of the stories) there had to be major cuts on a few of the longer scenes. This is hard, because it is all there to serve a purpose. The repetitiveness sort of lulls you into a sense of comfort or anxiety or boredom (depending) in which he slips the sort of world-shattering truth bombs by you when you're not ready for it. These men reveal themselves in surprising and unexpected ways and times. And if you cut too much (I'm looking at you John Krasinski) it becomes ham-fisted, or loses all profundity without that context or spirit of the piece. My document is currently sitting at over 2700 minutes of editing time. We are still putting on finishing touches as we rehearse and hear it out loud and find the right flow. This is difficult. And humbling because far be it for me to edit someone's writing who is obviously much better at it than I am. I'm trying so hard to make the pieces resonate and make people feel what I felt reading them. Of course the script is only part of that (I'm also directing and acting in it as well) but it is a large part and being based on a text sort of ups that ante for me.

So I guess the technical and business part of it was relatively easy. Be prepared, professional, and persistent. The artistic part of it is going to be extremely difficult. And you've got to know your stuff and be prepared to talk and discuss and dig around in his very layered, nebulous characters who are all full of contradictions and complexity and convey multiple themes and human observation. It's a deft touch that I am hoping that I'm able to reach. I've chosen mostly to try and get out of my own way, and just make the production be a representation of DFW and his writings as best as I can interpret he meant them. Adding some theatrical touches and flair in the staging and acting is meant to punch up the meaning, but we've not decided to put something of our own over the top of it. You could if you wanted to. You'd be a more confident artist than me. Have fun if you do, for me this is a once in a lifetime dream come true, and I intend to have a blast doing it.


Details about the performance right here. I'd love a review or two if anyone goes to see it!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 22:38

Erasing Infinite - Interview

It's been a long time coming... I interviewed Jenni B. Baker, editor of The Found Poetry Review and the person behind the wonderful Infinite Jest poetry project, Erasing Infinite. Enjoy!

THF: Hi Jenni! Thanks for your time. Please tell us a little about yourself and The Found Poetry Review?

JBB: Thanks for the opportunity. Details of my day job aside, I’m fortunate enough to be able to maintain a relatively good work-life balance that allows me to spend a lot of my extra time reading and writing – poetry primarily. I almost exclusively work in the found poetry space, creating poems using words and phrases excerpted from a wide variety of existing texts. Most poets begin with an idea and find the words; I begin with the words and find an idea.

I founded The Found Poetry Review in 2011 after experiencing some downright dismissive and hostile attitudes around this genre of work from literary journal editors. Their misconceptions and narrow definitions of originality fueled my desire to be an advocate for erasure, cutup and other found poetry forms. To date, we’ve published more than 125 poets in six volumes of the journal, sponsored three National Poetry Month projects and issued two special online editions (including one marking the five-year anniversary of Wallace’s passing). Our poets have gone on to publish their own chapbooks and manuscripts of found poetry, and I couldn’t be more proud.


THF: What kind of hostilities and criticisms generally get directed at found poetry? Has The Found Poetry Review contributed to acceptance of the form?

There will always be a subset of editors and readers who carry a torch for “originality” and who define that term rather narrowly. What this perspective often overlooks, however, is that no poetry is ever created independent of influence. Found poetry isn’t all that different from traditional poetry – it just shows its sources.

Certainly, just as there is bad traditional poetry, there is bad found poetry. We reject more than 90 percent of what we receive over at The Found Poetry Review because some writers think the genre’s experimental foundations gives them the liberty to do things like add line breaks to a paragraph from Hemingway and put their name on it, or throw a bunch of lines together without paying attention to arrangement, syntax and voice. It’s this type of work that can give found poetry a bad name.

Conversely, good found poems possess the same qualities that make any other successful poem work – they show the same technical competencies and achieve the same emotional effect, making people think, laugh, second guess, wonder, reflect or otherwise feel something.

The Found Poetry Review is a good gateway publication to the genre, and the quality of pieces we publish increase with each issue. But I see our true measure of success as the number of our poets who go on to publish found poems in non-niche journals, and who get chapbooks and manuscripts accepted by publishers. The more poems from this genre appear in mainstream literary publications, the more acceptance it will find.

[Click here to continue reading]

Last Updated on Friday, 08 August 2014 03:03

(At Least) Three Cheers for Cause and Effect

Fiction's latest album, (At Least) Three Cheers for Cause and Effect, (inspired by Infinite Jest) is out.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the album as a whole. Not usually the style of music I listen to, but it's clear Fiction are fans of Infinite Jest. I'm enjoying all the references, and their interpretations. Fun!

Some of the tracks sound like Architecture in Helsinki's boppy, poppy stuff. Not a bad thing at all.

Listen right now over at Fiction's web page right here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 14:00

Pale Summer Week 4

Week 4 of the Wallace-l mailing list's read of The Pale King.

August 4: Sections 23-26, pp. 253-316 [63 pages]


If you're blogging your read let me know so I can add you yo the list. Hash tag #palesummer14

You can join in on the conversation (or lurk and read what often ends up to be heaps of insightful and thoughtful discussion) by subscribing to Wallace-l... join now! (If you get a security certificate error following the link, ignore it. I can assure you there is not a security issue with the sign-up page. The rest will be via email).

Pale Summer Schedule:

July 14: Sections 1-9, pp. 3-85
July  21: Sections 10-21, pp. 86-153 [67 pages]
July 28: Section 22, pp. 154-252 [98 pages]
August 4: Sections 23-26, pp. 253-316 [63 pages]
August 11: Sections 27-34, pp. 317-386 [69 pages]
August 18: Sections 35-45, pp. 387-443 [56 pages]
August 25: Sections 46-47, pp. 444-516 [72 pages]
September 1: Sections 48-50 plus, pp. 516-575 (end) [59 pages]

There are pagination differences between the hardback and paper editions of The Pale King but it shouldn't be too much of an issue (except for the addition material added to the paperback...).


The Howling Fantods