About Joe Pan

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year” by Coldfront magazine. His work has appeared in such places as Artworld, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Greensboro Review, Glimmer Train, and The New York Times. He is the founder of Brooklyn Arts Press, an independent publishing house, and lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

LUX Magazine & the “JFK, Reconsidered” Text

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The literary journal LUX, which is the multimedia counterpart to Lumina Magazine out of Sarah Lawrence, is publishing a section of a cross-media book I’m working on. A section of this experiment is set to be published by LUX, & I’ll update this page then with more details, but if you follow this link, you can see the online portion now.

JFK1, Reconsidered follows in the literary tradition of works inspired by cryptohistories and political forgeries, and seeks to continue the bell-knelling of Orwell’s prescient warning: “He who controls the present, controls the past.” The book arrives in five parts, all of which reference a long poem at the book’s center, somewhat in the vein of Nabokov’s Pale Fire, involving metatext and hypertext and played out within the harried noir atmosphere of a dangerous quasi-futuristic postwar environment.

The following note will help explain what you’ll see if you visit the online portion, which you can do by clicking here.

 

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Note to the reader: This manuscript is an archive, which is to say it is an amalgam of various types of writing & performance of various styles/genres that speak to & branch out from a central poem, known as the “MCPPFER Doc,” itself devised from a speech made by President John F Kennedy in 1962. The written transcript of the speech was later revised by political enemies of the President, in order to cast him as a warmongering enemy of the state, & thus wrestle rule from political progressives.

These parts arrive as follows:

The Snap Database is an online interface future humans use to access archived
history. It begins with a personalized greeting, with advertisements, & details the referenced documents.

The original “MCPPFER Doc,” which arrives from the redacted transcript
of a JFK speech to Congress in 1962, is arranged here as a poem by an unknown artist or bureaucrat. (This poetic mode was later adopted in ironic fashion and appropriated by such schools as the Vadaists and the New Corinthians, who referred to the mode as *listlust,* or *agora logorrhea,* respectively.)

An article written by Errol Oting Styles, which first appeared in the journal
The Subterranean Mammal, concerning the revelation that the original poetic “MCPPFER Doc,” housed at the Smithsonian, is fraudulent. The document has a special place in history, & has been often used to undermine progressive politics & government for over two centuries. Styles is writing from a time of relative peace, after a number of civil wars split the United States into factions, which have since reunified. The impetus for the wars can be traced back to a speech delivered by the infamous Prez JFK1, who was widely despised for his cruelty towards the citizenry, his excessive economic spending, disturbing foreign policy, perverse appetites, and outright bold brutishness. This particular piece of investigative journalism by Mr. Styles will go on to foment another revolution, cited as the main impetus for the fall of the historically conservative future government & the redrawing of the Uni Stat’s newest Constitution.

The redacted text of a speech by John F Kennedy, later transformed into a
poem by an unknown scholar (or historic troll) & used by two centuries of conservative Uni Stat leaders to show how terrible things can actually get if conservative ideals are challenged. JFK has become, in essence, the Mad King straw man, the bogeyman of politics.

Publishers Weekly review of Hiccups

Woke up to this wonderful review, from the PW website:

“In this satisfying second Autobiomythography collection (after Autobiomythography & Gallery), Pan hits the ground running with brief snapshots of life in the U.S.—and later the world—that hover in the same emotional sphere as haiku. Through Pan’s striking cinematography and use of perspective, readers see how “bugs practice shadow puppets/ behind the green leaf” in vivid close-up and experience in panorama the “sad, lived-in silence” of places like Anchorage, Alaska. In terms of autobiography and mythos, Pan hits the clearest notes when reconciling with his own place in time, as in the startling sequence “Nineteen Years After My Nineteenth Year,” which opens with a “Mayfly/ in my coffee, stroking/ (goddamnit) down my throat” and closes with the listless observation that “every city is a Seurat/ & no city as well.” Along the way, Pan alights on tercets that blend hilarity, apathy, bemusement, and love for his adopted home of N.Y.C. The ambitious final sequence, “NyQuil™ Lucid Fever Lucky Dream Light Emporium,” makes optimal use of his tercets while he devilishly blurs the line between dashes and chemical bonds. This clever and fascinating take on organic chemistry makes a perfect closer. Pan’s latest presents new rewards with each reading.”

Hiccups, a new book of short poems

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My second collection of poems, Hiccups, is now out from Augury Press & available for order through Small Press Distribution & Amazon. You can also read some sample poems on the SPD site.

Taking cues from a myriad of short forms—haiku, epigram, bon mot, aphorism, senryū—the poems in Joe Pan’s Hiccups search out unexpected ways to document events in transition. Here the imminent moment, deeply regarded, is agitated into performance or merely left to drift, generating through language a curious experience of its own making. The disparate settings of these poems are as diverse as the impulses that gave rise to the work—a Tokyo skyscraper, a South African wildlife preserve, a log cabin in the Pacific Northwest, a shark-infested reef off Belize. These are poems that arrive with a jolt, engulfing the familiar, before being left to linger or dissolve.

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“How Joe Pan just lets the world occur in Hiccups is a pleasure.” 

-Joseph Massey

“These verses I found charming, always, even when downcast, and exhilarating in bulk—if works so well carved from cherry stones may be said to have bulk.”

-Fred Chappell

“What’s the opposite of a suicide note? If there is a “life note,” then this is it, taking us from casino to glacier, our attention a pinball, a staccato of seasons.”

-Heather Morgan

“If Walt Whitman wrote haiku, they might sound like Joe Pan’s capacious short poems in Hiccups, a luminous “Song of Myself” for the twenty-first century.”

-James Shea

 

On Selling Noah Eli Gordon’s New Poetry Book Using the “Pay What You Want” Model

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From February 14th to March 15th, we ran a new kind of book promotion: a person could pay whatever they wanted, plus $5 s/h, for a paperback copy of a poetry book, Noah Eli Gordon’s The Word Kingdom in the Word Kingdom. Much in the style of Louis CK, Radiohead, Corey Doctorow, Seth Harwood, & Neil Gaiman, except that I wasn’t selling a digital copy of a book, I was selling the print version–a much bigger risk, financially.

As you might imagine, the campaign perked a lot of ears.

But it was an interview I did with Flavorwire (Can This Small Publisher Change the Way that Books are Sold?) that really got the ball rolling. I received a bunch of emails after it was posted & spent the first three weeks in near constant discussion of the topic. Everyone wanted to know why we were doing it & how the promotion was going. Our campaign made international news with mentions in The Independent in the UK & Books & Publishing in Australia. We garnered mentions from the Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, Gulf Coast, Bustle, Coldfront, & various blogs, & were mentioned or retweeted by Publisher’s Weekly, CLMP, Small Press Distribution, City Lights, & other literary venues & bookstores.

The promotion was a huge success, by many metrics, & helped us get a better understanding of what readers are willing to pay for their poetry books: about $13, including shipping. Some people paid a penny, some paid twenty-five bucks. I don’t think this model can be the only model used in running a successful book campaign, but it is a very effective presale tool–it get’s the buzz buzzing, & has the capacity for going viral.

I’ll be explaining my findings more in-depth through forthcoming interviews with Entropy Magazine & Big Lucks, which I’ll post here upon publication.

Noah’s book is now available for $18, here.

Cheers, Joe