Tag Archives: literature

My novel, Hawk Mountain, out in 2021 from W.W. Norton in the US, and Penguin/Doubleday in Ireland and the UK.

17 Apr

Friends, some good news.
My (very dark) novel, Hawk Mountain, will be published by W.W. Norton in the US and Penguin/Doubleday in Ireland and the UK in summer of 2021.
I can barely believe it.
My whole life I’ve wanted to be a novelist.
I’m beaming, friends.
Hi.
Can’t wait to share my book with you.

HM

The Publishers Market entry

The kind of death we want to read about: Conner & crime writer Liz Nugent on the latest AEWCH

31 Mar

L
ISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud • Patreon

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company in isolation, please give what you can. Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

AEWCH104TitleCardFriends,

The last podcast I recorded in person before the worldwide coronavirus pandemic began was still about death. But it’s a sort of death we like to engage with – death in crime and mystery narratives. Interestingly, these sorts of deaths, and our vantage point on them, has become more valuable than ever; because it gives us an opportunity to think about death without the attachment of panic and fear.

And what a great person to talk to about death with: international best-selling crime writer, Liz Nugent!

Liz is the author of four crime novels. I read Lying In Wait, first. It’s a tense and tragic thriller. It evokes Patricia Highsmith and the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but with a gesture and style all its own. Then I consumed the other three as quickly as I could; I wanted to inhale them, including her latest, Our Little Cruelties.

That book was released just as the pandemic began. And in fact, today (March 31), was set to be her book release party. Since her party was canceled, I hope this serves as a smaller, audio celebration. If you need the company of a page-turned in this moment, you’d be hard pressed to find a better set of novels than Liz’s for that.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How much we’re supposed to care about death
  • How Liz is about to meet a murderer and see if they have souls or not
  • Dreams of murder and being murdered
  • Jeffrey Dahmer and unhappy childhoods
  • The way we think of bad guys, and who gets away with what
  • Our early thoughts on coronavirus (they hold up okay!)
  • How Liz’s writing is and is not like Patricia Highsmith
  • The tendency to attached tragedy and foreboding to joy and pleasure
  • Career dysmorphia
  • The difficulties of bodies, living and dead
  • What characters are and how we relate to them as writes
  • The uses of shattered narratives
  • Why, when we read novels, we want horrible characters to succeed

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Liz: Read her books! Start with Lying In Wait and move on to Skin Deep, which is interspersed with brilliant stories of Irish island mythology. The best way to get Our Little Cruelties in the US right now is on audiobook (until it’s out in November as a book with the alternate title, Little Cruelties). You can also get Lying In Wait and Unraveling Oliver on audiobook, too! Also, go to Liz’s website. And here’s Liz talking about disabilities on the Rósín Meets… podcast.

• The other mystery writer I’ve had on the show is Sara Gran, who appeared on AEWCH 61. It serves as a good companion to this show; two incredible authors with two completely different approaches to genre.

• I read and appreciated My Friend Dahmer, a graphic novel by one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood friends, Derf Backderf. (The movie is okay too, but the graphic novel is far superior.)

• Who doesn’t love Alice Munroe? My favorite by her, if you need a place to start, is The Love Of A Good Woman.

• Liz mentions The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. I haven’t yet read it, or her debut novel, The Flamethrowers, but I will! They both look great. And I mention From A Low And Quiet Sea, by Donal Ryan, which I have read, and enjoyed very much!

Martha by Rainer Werner Fassbinder is one of the cruelest movies ever made, but it’sMartha also excellent. Watch it. Watch all his movies.

• And read Cal by Bernard MacLaverty, it’s such a wonderful and dark and rich book, even though it’s very short.

• Here’s the intense Nina Simone concert Liz mentioned, which inspired Our Little Cruelties. Wow.

• And here’s AEWCH 86 with the amazing Irish writer, Kevin Barry.

• Okay, I’m being a little unfair about Pay It Forward. If you need a heartening read, read it!

• When I was photographed for the photo below, I thought I was fat and disgusting (seriously!). Body dysmorphia is an intense thing, folks.

• Liz got guidance on
Our Little Cruelties from writer and fashion social editor, Bethany Rutter.

• Watch Anthony Jeselnik’s comedy specials: he refers to them as horror. I think he’s right!

Until next week, friends!
XO
CH

showers copy

“Reverb-ing all of human existence.” A conversation with author Maggie Nelson on AEWCH 95!

7 Jan
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud 
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. One thing to bring forward in 2020? Associative economics. Support the artists you like and let’s do as much as possible to cut out corporate sponsorship. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

AEWCH95TitleCard

Friends,
What a way to start the year, with author, teacher, and intellectual, Maggie Nelson. Maggie Nelson is the author of so many deep and potent books, including The Argonauts, about art and politics and the body, including her partner Harry Dodge’s experiences of gender and culture. She is also the author of two books about her aunt’s murder, The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial and Jane: A Murder, as well an incredible book about violence in art, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning. She was awarded a MacArthur in 2016 and is one of the most important  intellectuals of our time (though perhaps she’d reject that label!). 
This is an extremely wide ranging episode, as I’d expect from a conversation with Maggie, whose books move in and out of hundreds of different thinkers and artists, translating her encounters with them into a new kind of light. I love her writing.
I’m so proud to share this conversation with you.
We talk about (among other things):
  • Passion as an affirmation against materialism
  • Escorting as permission for desire
  • Why frustrated desire might be worse than death
  • The value of losing your self
  • Why a shrug against danger matters
  • Thoreau, Emerson, and being a good artist or a bad prism
  • The shapes and lives of art
  • The uses of occult perspectives
  • The ruse of the anti-social
  • Wittgenstein and the music of the spheres
  • The uses, rituals, and boundaries of seeing violence 
  • Why porn literacy is dumb
  • Bodhisattva vows

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Maggie, you can read some of her poetry here. Here’s a video featuring panel of people (including Maggie) talking about Maggie’s book, The Argonauts. And here is a great conversation between Maggie and her friend (and AEWCH 44 co-guest with Kelly Link!) Jordy Rosenberg in Out Magazine.
• Maggie mentions her partner Harry’s forthcoming book, My Meteorite: Or, Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing. You can preorder it now, and it looks great.
• Maggie and I were both provoked and interested in Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era by Paul Preciado (a dream guest for the show!)
• My essay on having sex at rest areas, “Rest Stop Confidential” feels a bit outdated now, but it’s still good, I think.
• John O’Donohue’s book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, is one of the most beautiful books ever written.
EKS• Please look into the work of the amazing critical theorist, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick who Maggie studied with. A good place to start is Epistemology of the Closet or Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire.
• The Rudolf Steiner verse, which you can try reciting inwardly, too, to see how it feels:
More radiant than the Sun
Purer than the snow
Subtler than the ether
Is the Self
The spirit within my heart
I am that Self.
That Self am I.
• The Emerson quote is: “It is not words only that are emblematic; it is things which are emblematic. Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.”
• Helen Keller’s mysticism informed her politics and her work in the world. You can read about in in her book Light In My Darkness.
• Maggie’s quote, “I think I give in the writing, mostly, but also as a teacher, and just by being. I don’t think of it as “giving back” per se. And mentoring doesn’t always mean holding someone’s hand. It’s often just by example… We can be for each other beacons of possibility. Often that’s the most important thing.” set me to thinking so much about being a beacon that I spoke about it at length on Rune Soup 195 with Gordon White. I also talk about speaking poetically on there, as well as on AEWCH 93, with Sara Maria Griffin.
• I haven’t yet read the book Maggie mentioned, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, by Stefano Harney and Frank Moten, but I am going to, now. It sounds so good.
• The dead spiritual teacher I prayed to for guidance after being exposed to violence on the guy’s phone, Daskalos, who I talk about at length with his student (a spiritual teacheDr in his own right), Daniel Joseph, on AEWCH 67.
Narrow Rooms by James Purdy is one of the most extraordinary novels I’ve ever read. Read it.
• A good quote on violence from Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta: “(Violence), by its very nature, to suffocate the best sentiments of man, and to develop all the antisocial qualities, ferocity, hatred, revenge, the spirit of domination and tyranny, contempt of the weak, servility towards the strong.”
• You can look at some of Tala Madani‘s work on the 303 Gallery website, including an excerpt of “The Audience” which Maggie talks about at some length.
• I loved talking with Franco “Bifo” Berardi on AEWCH 83 about the challenge of white noise.
• Maggie brings up the amazing British artist Sara Lucas. You can watch a conversation between the two of them here.
That’s it, folks, but it’s a lot, isn’t it?
Until next time!
XO
CH
TM

“Light Table” by Tala Madani

Why we need the dark imagination. Me + Sarah Maria Griffin on AEWCH 93

10 Dec
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
AEWCH93TitleCardFriends,
Let’s enter the mystery together: You, me, and dark science fiction writer Sarah Maria Griffin. Let’s talk about violence and evil and owls. Let’s think about David Lynch’s uncanny power, and how magic works, how horror works. Let’s approach the paranormal, the dreadful, the uncommon.
Sarah is the author of multiple books, most recently the excellent novel, Other Words For Smoke, about a brother and sister encounter the sinister and strange forces in their aunt’s house. The book just won the Eason Teen/Young Adult Book of the Year 2019 here in Ireland. Her previous novel, Spare And Found Parts chronicles a post-apocalyptic world with a hopeful girl at its center, trying to move humanity forward while her machine heart ticks away.
Sarah and I had a profound and potent conversation, and after we finished the episode, we continued to talk about the entire world, and love, and fortune. And then all the lights on my block switched off. Now that’s a powerful connection!
This is one of my favorite episodes of AEWCH ever. As Sarah says at the end, we “move immediately past…small talk.” Couldn’t ask for anything more.
So excited to share it with you!
We discuss:
  • Magic, the paranormal and why they’re so troubling for people
  • Twin Peaks as evil and threat and occult power
  • Horror is No-One-Believes-You, Fantasy is We-All-Knew-This-Was-Real-Even-Though-You’re-Just-Learning-About-It
  • Why investigating mystery can fuck you up
  • Not-knowing as an act of compassion
  • Sarah’s leap in style and vulnerability in writing
  • Following desire and characters
  • The unendingness of Hell
  • Why questions are always appropriate tools
  • The tarot as anatomy (and why it gives us unsolicited dick pics sometimes)
  • What a world of caring about subjectivity looks like (and why Freud got that right)
  • Why there is no metric for violation or resilience
  • Fiction as a generator of compassion and empathy
  • The importance of speaking poetically
SHOW NOTES
• For more on Sarah, read her entertaining and thoughtful one-year memoir, Not Lost: A Story About Leaving Home. Here are here contributions to the legendary Irish lit magazine, The Stinging Fly. And here’s Sarah talking about empathy.
TP• I’m sure you’ve all seen Twin Peaks, but have you seen the newest season? It’s utterly terrifying and completely challenging. It is a true act of occult intensity. The episode we talk a lot about it Part 8. 
• Sarah mentions the eclectic and wonder-filled story collection Her Body And Other Parties by the great Carmen Maria Machado. She also gives a shout out to Leslie Jamison’s poignant collection of essays, The Empathy Exams.
James Tate was a Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning poet. He was an infrequent but happy friend of mine, as well. He died in 2015.
• If you’re American, you’ve probably heard of the spooky immersive theater experience, Sleep No More. If not, check it out.
• I really love the episode I did with experimental punk musician and author Tim Kinsella – AEWCH 43. He’s a hero of mine, and I feel blessed to have had the conversation. I posted a playlist on spotify of Tim’s music to go along with that episodes. It demonstrates his breadth and strangeness and inventiveness as an artist.
KD• A couple of first lines come quick on each other’s heels. First, I mention the first line of Sarah’s novel, Spare And Found Parts: “Just under the surface of the waves where the ocean met the land, a hand without a body reached for someone to grab it.” And then I mention the chilling first line of Kathryn Davis’s novel, Hell. “Something is wrong in the house.”
• Want to read Alejandro Jodorowsky on the tarot? Read his book on it, co-authored with Marianne Costa.
• I mention, briefly, a man who was harassing Sarah and other women in Ireland, and how she was compassionate in her response. For a quick summary of what happened, here’s an article in the Irish Times about it.
• There’s a great book by anthroposophist and inkling Owen Barfield on the move away from poetics and towards flat literalism. It’s titled Poetic Diction: A Study In Meaning.
Until next time,
XO
CH
lungfish

Witches, Fairies, Violence, Ireland: Fiction Writer Kevin Barry on AEWCH 86!

8 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud

Like the show? Support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!

Friends,

What an honor to talk to one of the greatest living fiction writers, Kevin Barry. And to talk with him not about “how do you get your ideas?” or “what’s your writing practice like”? But instead about witches, healers, fairies, violence,  the radical history of Ireland, and more.

Kevin’s latest novel, The Night Boat To Tangier , was longlisted for the Booker Prize. His novel before that, Beatlbone follows John Lennon on a mystical vision quest to find an island off the Irish coast. It’s a novel so strange and moving that you wouldn’t have to even like The Beatles to be caught up in its weird web.

Also, Kevin reads his absolutely brutal story, “A Cruelty” in his excellent, sinister Christian Bale-esque reading voice.

Apologies – the episode gets cut off just as we start discussing Twin Peaks. But we only spoke for about five more minutes after that. And besides, I’ll have Kevin back on. This is a great conversation and I absolutely want to continue it.

We talk:

  • Kevin’s superstitions
  • Animism and fiction
  • Irish writers and writers of the American South
  • how accents change fiction
  • How we add to the landscape as we walk through it
  • Kevin’s encounters with
  • Writing and dreams
  • The fairies and The Pixies
  • When Kevin was healed by witchcraft before playing video games
  • The non-linearity of time
  • Primal scream therapy in Ireland
  • Evil’s home in art

SHOW NOTES

AEWCH86TITLECARD

Rel@tionships: Writer and digital lit theorist Joanna Walsh on AEWCH 84

24 Sep
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud • Patreon
Like the show? Support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
AEWCH84TitleCardFriends,
We have so many inherited metaphors about love, relating, and intimacy, that even the thought of new narratives about them makes us uncomfortable. Well, good. Let’s be uncomfortable. To that end, I spoke with writer and literary & digital theorist Joanna Walsh, whose work explores the contours (and corners and failed uploads)( of love and intimacy, and relationships.
When I read Joanna’s book of stories Vertigo, a few years back, I knew I wanted to talk with her. Joanna’s fiction has an intense and even at times relentless quality of repetition, of observation. It’s the sort of fiction that gives you the sense that you are not just engaged with the efforts of a great writer, but a great thinker too. The conversation is, as usual, wide-ranging, but we stay close to the idea of how we relate to one another and why our old ideas of relating are not enough to describe our experiences.
Talking with Joanna is a dizzying experience because she is so brilliant, so learned, and able to articulate so many profound truths in clear, concise language. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to spend time with her. Three good places to start: her book of short stories, (which she reads from), her novel, Break.up: A Novel In Essays, and her book of pornographic fairy tales Grow A Pair.
We discuss
  • How intimacy is formed
  • How the I is composed by others
  • Tension in fairy tales
  • Why we have sex to masturbate
  • Theorists with bad ethics
  • Experimental writing as a way of relating
  • “Emotional logic problems”
  • Living in tension
  • The emotions women are “supposed” to feel in their assigned roles
  • The occult bodies and technological intervention
  • What the internet gives, what the internet takes away
  • Watching porn in clips instead of a whole movie
  • Who we are in our normal lives (and how that contains our creative and erotic life)
And in addition to the conversation, Joanna also reads her entrancing story, “Vagues”!

 

The moral of the story is… How Aesop confronts empire, with Carlo Gébler on AEWCH 78!

30 Jul
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastYoutubeSoundcloud
Like the show? Support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is what keeps it going. 
Friends,
How exciting to welcome fiction writer, memoirist, and Aesop scholar Carlo Gébler to AEWCH to discuss how Aesop’s fables present insight into fighting empire, how the powerful tell their stories, and more!
Carlo is a staple here in the Irish literary landscape. The son of famed Irish author Edna O’Brien and famed/infamous Irish author Ernest Gébler, Carlo was named after Karl Marx and has taught writing for years, including in prisons. He’s written nearly 30 books for adults and children plus plays in total. His latest book, Aesop’s Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods, which is beautifully (and intensely!) illustrated by Gavin Weston, retells 190 (!) of Aesop’s tales, adding humor and amplifying the brutality of each one.
But, as you’ll hear on the episode, Carlo isn’t just retelling these tales for entertainment (though they are extremely entertaining), he sees in them strategies for resistance and hints at how power works. And Carlo reads a few of Aesop’s fables, including “The Clever Lamb and the Wolf”, “The Frogs Who Demanded A King”, “The Flute Playing Wolf and the Dancing Kid”, and my favorite, “The Fox and the Farmer”.
Until next week,
XO
CH
AEWCH78TitleCard

QUEER NON-BINARY SEX REVOLUTION NOW! It’s Andrea Lawlor on AEWCH!

18 Jun
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud  
Pay for your podcast is the new “pay for your porn.” Your Patreon contribution goes a long way to supporting not just to the podcast, but to my writing, lectures, activism, and other work as well. Support the queer creators you love! If you find something of value on my show, give back and support the many hours of free podcast content and other public output that I offer every month for the price of a latte or Guinness or lunch or cover charge for a painfully clean gay bar.
Pay for the podcasts you love by signing up for my Patreon today. 
AndrewLawlorTitleCard
Friends,
Just when I felt like I was getting bored with queer culture, I was thrown back into it and out of my blinkered, jaded bullshit by the queer radical author, Andrea Lawlor and their novel of full frontal sexual liberation, Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl! It’s a novel about a shapeshifting postpunk anarchist, and is, I believe, more like me than any other novel. In some ways, this is the most sexual episode I’ve ever done, because we center sex the whole time. I cannot recommend Andrea’s novel enough. It captures a time, but more importantly, captures a style of spirit and a current of queerness that is so vital for the world’s anatomy today.
We talk
  • desire and detachment
  • my crush on a frat boy singing “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates
  • centering sex in our politics and literature
  • how “sex = death” has been replaced by “sex = harm” (and how that marks progress and stagnancy)
  • sex as a teacher
  • where our limits as readers are or should be, and how hyper-literalness harms our experience
  • how sex and transformation relate to fairy tales
  • is trans a universal condition?
  • how sexual liberation allows us to be full human beings
  • indie rock and zine culture as queer expression
  • how queerness brings intensity, relief, and brilliance into living

SHOW NOTES are HERE.

XO
CH

  • JR

The Occult Significance Of Ulysses

16 Jun
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
If you’d like my recorded online course, Reading Ulysses With Conner Habib, it’s just $20 for six videos, further reading, and more. Email me at againsteveryonewithconnerhabib @ gmail.com
Happy Bloomsday, everyone! Here’s an Against Saturdays episode on a Sunday!
All about why people who are into the occult and magic should read Joyce’s Ulysses. Actually, why everyone should read it.
XO CH
AS12TitleCard.jpeg

The Queer Esoteric Power of Poetry! It’s D.A. Powell on AEWCH 73!

11 Jun

AEWCH73TitleCard

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 73: D.A. POWELL or THE QUEER ESOTERIC POWER OF POETRY

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

Your Patreon contribution goes a long way to supporting not just to the podcast, but to my writing and other work as well. If you find something of value on my show, give back and support the many hours of free podcast content and other public output that I offer every month for the price of a latte or cocktail or lunch.

Pay for the podcasts you love by signing up for my Patreon today.

Friends,

So excited to share what is one of my very favorite episodes of AEWCH with you, discussing poetry, the esoteric, the strange, and the occult with poet D.A. Powell (AKA Doug)!

Doug is the author of multiple books of poetry, and is best know for his Repast trilogy, including the books Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, which have all be described as potent AIDS-era poetry. But what makes Doug such a profound thinker and poet (aside from his incredible poetry, of course!), is that he refuses to have his poems reduced to political polemic, even as they evince politics. Instead, Doug’s poems and Doug himself insist on the myriad of meanings each poem presents, and in that way, transmutes poetry into an alchemical act.

In addition to talking, Doug reads many of his poems, starting with the excellent “The Kiwi Comes To Gridley, CA” which is in his (also excellent) collection, Useless Landscape: A Guide For Boys. He also reads “Why We Have No Future,” “Mass For Pentecost: Canitcle for Birds & Waters”, “[strange flower in my hands. porphory shell. clipped wool.]”, “Don’t Touch My Junk”, and “Slut”.

We talk about

  • how poetry can’t be reduced to its contents or our current political situation
  • why plants are tops (really!)
  • those plaintive sighs at poetry readings
  • how the political overtakes and consumes all other meanings
  • loving and hating what you write
  • why poetry is not metaphor
  • how poems destroy the focus on a single point and expand the cosmos
  • how are relates to the Holy Ghost and the angels
  • the problem with the lack in psychoanalysis
  • how to hex people and cure people with words
  • what rhymes are
  • The secret poetry of the 1960s Batman and Robin TV series
  • Christ’s foreskin (really!)
  • poem-ography

XO

CH

IMG_7628