The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone by Liam Howley

Liam Howley opens The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone (Jagged C Press, 344 pages) with an introduction to Cornelius Solitude Conlon, an aging man who, I assumed, was the primary protagonist. In fact, my assumption continued throughout a good portion of the novel, even though the narrative shifted to various other characters as I read along. Nevertheless, as the story progressed, Cornelius became but one piece in the game board that is Poulnabrone.

It is, in fact, Poulnabrone that is the centerpiece of this story. Primary and secondary characters appear on the scene, make an impact, and leave. Some return later on, some never appear again, yet others remain present to weave the fabric of the tale as it is spun along, carrying with them the thread of continuity without overshadowing the main premise. Continue reading on Dactyl Review.

The World's Smallest Bible by Dennis Must

Death is always bearing down in Dennis Must’s somber, disquieting novel, The World’s Smallest Bible (Red Hen Press, 232 pages). Death knocks on the window above the bed shared by brothers Ethan and Jeremiah Meuller in the small town of Hebron, in north central Pennsylvania; death is in the hand-me-downs they receive as gifts from the parents of soldiers who have just been killed in World War II; death brews inside their suicidal mother Rose, who has been scorned by their father; death dogs at their Aunt Eva, a stripper at the Elks Club; and death badgers their neighbor, Stanley Cuzack, as he tries to invent a perpetual motion machine. Half suffocating himself, Must’s narrator, Ethan, tries to push himself away .

The boys are about ten and eight when their mother orders the younger Jeremiah back into the children’s bedroom. She’s had it sharing her bed with her son, just another reminder of the man who’s supposed to be there and isn’t. Continue reading on Dactyl Review.

Dactyl director, VN Alexander interviewed

January 23, 2024

VN Alexander interviewed on “No Lies Radio” about her new political satire novel Locus Amoenus, politics, Dactyl Foundation, Dactyl Review and the arts generally.

Dactyl Foundation Literary Awards Announced

December 23, 2013

In the past three years, Dactyl Foundation has concentrated on developing the literary fiction community, which has dwindled over the past twenty years as publishing houses began to focus on big sellers ignoring the niche market of fine literature.

In 2010, we launched Dactyl Review, a community of literary fiction writers who review literary fiction and nominate works for Dactyl Foundation’s $1000 annual prize.  The contest is open to any living literary fiction writer, regardless of date of publication or type of publication. We are especially interested in books that came out some time ago and have not yet received the recognition they deserve.

This year we decided to award two prizes.  We are pleased to announce that the first award goes to The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann, published in 2011 by The Permanent Press.  The second award goes to Cocoa Almond Darling by Jeffra Hays, self-published in 2011 on Kindle.

Support this worthy project now by becoming a member or renewing your membership. Click here. We’ve got a lot of interesting and important work ahead of us. We can’t do it without you. Thanks in advance for your support. Dactyl Foundation is a 501 c3 organization, and your donation is fully tax-deductible.

Review by Charles Holdefer

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
reviewed by Charles Holdefer


Dactyl Review Project

There’s a long tradition of writing about sport that tries to be more than writing about sport. Journalism, it seems, is not enough. The events of a game and the constraints of its rules become raw materials for allegory. Much fuss has been made in recent years about the rise of nonfiction and its power over the popular imagination—but when it comes to sport, the lure of myth remains strong….

Dactyl Review Project

Created by and for the literary fiction community. See our latest review Witz by Joshua Cohen. Review by Jeffra Hays.

2010 Dactyl Literary Fiction Award Winner Publishes New Book

June 6, 2012

Escher’s Journal by Norman Lock is now available from ravennapress.com.

“I wrote this imaginary journal to explain a genuine interest in Escher’s work and to think as profoundly as I am able about the grand metaphysical notions that spellbind even the most cynical practitioner of the arts in our time: truth and semblance, the finite and the infinite, the temporal and the timeless, natural law and the dictates of unconscious life, dreaming and the creative imagination. (Those of us for whom to write is to consider ideas, playfully more often than not, seem never to tire of these oppositions.) And so Escher’s journal is also mine.” – Norman Lock, from the Afterword

Click on the cover to purchase the book from Amazon and 4-6% of your purchase price (at no additional cost to you) will go to support Dactyl Review.

Dactyl Review: literary fiction reviewed by and for the literary fiction community

Ongoing
A new online review of strictly literary fiction, created for and by the literary fiction community. For readers. As literary fiction disappears from the pages of major book reviews, it becomes harder to find good books to read. With tags for style and influence and easy access to excerpts, Dactyl Review is unlike any other fiction review site, helping readers find the particular kinds of “literary fiction” they prefer. Because we’re not a commercial site, we don’t favor the newest books or books by best-selling authors. We publish reviews of only the best literary fiction, older and new, as judged by other literary fiction writers. For writers. Helping to promote and support the kind of work you admire will help build a readership for your own work. Reviewers with the highest percentage of positive feedback will be noted in the top ten reviewers section. Go to dactylreview.org

Shelf Life: A literary fiction award that doesn't expire

Ongoing

For a number of years, publishing has been dominated by commercial fiction. Literary fiction novels and short story collections by small presses or independent authors have little chance of being noticed by reviewers or placed on bookstore shelves.  Even the literary fiction written by relatively well-known writers published by big houses has been pushed to the side by pseudo-literary fiction  — written and reviewed by those who don’t  know the difference between thought and sentimentality, poetry and the use of adjectives — such that the meaning of “literary” is lost. With the way the publishing system is currently organized, books aren’t given much time in front of judges and audiences. Those that don’t make it immediately are tossed in the remaindered bin. A deep pity, as literary fiction is slow-growing and takes time to find its audience. [continue...]

Support Dactyl When You Make Travel Reservations or Shop Online!

Now you can support Dactyl Foundation’s art-science programs next time you make travel reservations using any one of the major online companies, like Orbitz or Travelocity, or when you make any purchase on Amazon.com. 6% will go to Dactyl Foundation at no extra cost to you. Just use the links below to enter your favorite online site and make your reservation or purchases as you normally would, and Dactyl Foundation will receive a 6% donation. You will see the same low prices as you would if you entered these sites directly.

Next time you make travel reservations online, enter your favorite site through this page Hopetels.com
http://www.hopetels.com/dactyl

Next time you’re buying ANYTHING on Amazon.com, enter through this page
The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature, and Nature

We have an exciting conference and art exhibition on mimicry and crypsis planned for fall 2012. Stay tuned for the call for papers. Thanks for supporting Dactyl.

The Biologist's Mistress

Dactyl Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of Victoria N. Alexander’s The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature and Nature.

Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her –J. B. S. Haldane

Drawing on her experiences as a complexity theorist, novelist and art-theorist, Victoria N. Alexander examines the history and practices of teleology, the study of purpose, in nature as well as in human behavior. She takes us “inside” paradoxically purposeful self-organizing entities (which somehow make themselves without having selves yet to do the making), and she shows us how poetic-like relationships—things coincidentally like each other or metaphoric and things coincidentally near each other or metonymic—help form organization where there was none before. She suggests that it is these chance language-like processes that result in emergent design and selfhood, thereby offering an alternative to postmodern theories that have unfairly snubbed the purposeful artist. Alexander claims that what has been missing from the general discussion of purposefulness is a theory of creativity, without which there can be no purposeful action, only robotic execution of inherited design. Thus revising while reviving teleology, she offers us a secular, non-essentialist conception of selfhood as an achievement that can be more than a momentary stay against the second law.

The book includes anecdotes about Dactyl Foundation’s artists and history. All proceeds from book sales will be donated to the foundation to help support educational programs and research in art-science.

Dactyl Literary Award: Shadowplay by Norman Lock

January 1, 2011

Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press, 137 pages) by Norman Lock is the 2010 Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award recipient.  A dense fable, mixing magic realism with self-reflexivity….. See Dactyl Review.

NORMAN LOCK is the author of The King of Sweden (Ravenna Press), Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press), A History of the Imagination (FC2), ‘The Book of Supplemental Diagrams’ for Marco Knauff’s Universe (Ravenna Press), The Long Rowing Unto Morning (Ravenna Press), Two Plays for Radio (Triple Press), and–writing as George Belden–Land of the Snow Men (from Calamari Press and in Japanese from Kawade Shobo). Two short-prose collections – Joseph Cornell’s Operas and Émigrés – were published by Elimae Books and subsequently issued, in Turkish, by an Istanbul publisher as part of its New World Writing series. Together with Grim Tales, they were brought out by Triple Press as Trio. Cirque du Calder, a hand-made artist’s book with afterword by Gordon Lish, was presented by The Rogue Literary Society. [continue...]

Open Mic/UpHook Press

October 31, 2009 6:00-8:00 PM

$10 donation; wine and hors d’oeuvres


Open to all writers and the general public. Uphook Press is currently accepting submissions for their second anthology of poetry. Come read your work, meet the publishers, listen to the current writers of Uphook Press, and celebrate over four years of Dactyl’s open mic series! [continue...]

Phillis Levin with Ciaran Berry, poetry salon

Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008
POETRY SALON 6:30 – 8:30PM

Featuring Phillis Levin with Ciaran Berry: Poetry Salon
Seating is limited rsvp@dactyl.org, suggested donation $10 [continue...]

Marie Ponsot with Kevin O'Sullivan, poetry salon

Friday, June 6th, 7:30-9:00

POETRY SALON
Marie Ponsot, Award-winning Poet and Mentor to Generations

with Kevin O’Sullivan Dactyl Foundation’s Emerging Poet of the Year [continue...]

Open Mic/Emerging Poets Series.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

6-8 p.m

Readers: Lucia Cammarata, Judie David, Ice, Andrew Aaron, Robert Siek, Kevin O’Sullivan, Kevin Estrada, Gus Iversen, Phil Radiotes and Andy Tran

Open Mic

May 6, 2007

Readers: Tom Oleszczuk, Karl Lorenzen, Richard Fein, Van Hartmann, Alkamal, Lucia Cammarata, Laurel Peterson, Debra R. Andrews.

Open Mic

July 29 2006

Two Year Anniversary Party & Reading featuring Jason Schneiderman

Jason Schneiderman is the author of Sublimation Point, a Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books (2004). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including Teachers & Writers, Tin House, Grand Street, American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, and The Poetry Book of the Sonnet. He has received fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and The Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. A Chancellor’s Fellow at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, he teaches creative writing for the Gotham Writers Workshop and literature at Hunter College.

Open Mic

June 9 2007

Readers: Lucia Cammarata, Judie David, Ice, Andrew Aaron, Robert Siek, Kevin O’Sullivan, Kevin Estrada, Gus Iversen, Phil Radiotes and Andy Tran

Open Mic

May 21 2006
Readers: Gail Stoughton, Lucia Cammarata, Loren Kidd, Jonathan Coppola, Woody Loverude, John Findura, Tom Oleszczuk, Heller Levinson, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Karl Lorenzen, Frederick Speers, Linda Tieber, ice, Milan, Jason Fleeting, Viviana Gorell and Nelson Chimilio.

Timothy Liu is the author of six books of poems, most recently For Thus Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005). His poems have been translated into seven languages and his journals and papers are archived in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library . He is an associate professor of English at William Paterson University and a member of the core faculty in Bennington College’s Graduate Writing seminars.

Open Mic

February 25 2006
Readers: Timothy Liu, Patricia Carragon, Emily Candace Shaw, Debra R. Andrews, Todd Cincala, Jessie Male and Nicole Spector.

Open Mic

January 21 2006
Readers: Tom Oleszczuk, Patricia Carragon, Christian Georgesco, Bob Rainey, Debra R. Andrews, Todd Cincala, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Nelson Chimilio, Aglaia Davis, Iris Berman, Miriam Hartstein, Carrie Tocci and Nicole Salis.

Open Mic

November 12 2005

Readers: Lucia Cammarata, Debra R. Andrews, Peter Emile, Patricia Carragon, Mary Beth Shanahan, Todd Cincala, Kevin Estrada, Mary Kelly, Umoja, Glen River, Bob Rainey, Miriam Hartstein and Jennifer Burch.

Open Mic

October 21 2005

Featuring Peter Covino & Jerry Williams. Readers: Deborah Asch, Emily Candace Shaw, Robert Siek, Todd Cincala, Idalmis Toro, Karen Delasala, G Emil Reutter, David Curzon and Glen River.

Peter Covino’s new book Cut Off the Ears of Winter (2005) was recently published by Western Michigan University/New Issues Press. His awards include the 2001 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Prize in Poetry; a scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center; and two prestigious Steffensen Cannon Fellowships from the Dean of Graduate Programs at the University of Utah, where he is finishing his Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Columbia, The Journal, The Paris Review, Verse, andThe Penguin Anthology of Italian-American Writing among other publications. He is one of the founding editors of Barrow Street and Barrow Street Press.
Jerry Williams was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He received a BA from Vermont College and an MFA from the University of Arizona. His first collection of poems, Casino of the Sun (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2003), was a finalist for the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Exquisite Corpse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Southeast Review, Barrow Street, Under the Sun, and many others. He has received a New Jersey Arts Council Fellowship, several Academy of American Poets awards, and recently a nomination for a Pushcart Prize. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.

Open Mic

September 10 2005

One Year Anniversary Party & Reading.
Readers: Todd Cincala, Debra R. Andrews, Rachel Bennett, Kevin Estrada, ebony monique figueroa, Frederick Speers, Peter Carravetta, G Emil Reutter, Patricia Carragon, Ilene Starger, Mary Beth Shanahan, Tom Oleszczuk, Jane Bradbury, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Marjorie Dalrymple, Sharon Lynn Griffiths, Naren Gupte, Ruth Siekevitz, Joe Pacheco, Peter Marcus and Jane Ormerod.

Open Mic

August 4 2005

Readers: Ilene Starger, Patricia Carragon, G. Emil Reutter, Karl Lorenzen, Albert Depas, Marjorie, Jane Ormerod, Alexis Beeth, Richard Fein, Debra R. Andrews, Frederick Speers and Kevin Barden.

Open Mic

June 24 2006

Richard Jeffrey Newman, a poet, essayist and translator, is the author of The Silence Of Men (CavanKerry Press, 2006), a book of his own poetry, and two books of translations from classical Persian literature, Selections from Saadi’s Gulistan and Selections from Saadi’s Bustan (both from Global Scholarly Publications, 2004 and 2006 respectively). Richard Jeffrey Newman sits on the advisory board of The Translation Project and is listed as a speaker with the New York Council for the Humanities. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York.

Open Mic

May 14, 2005

Featuring: Richard Jeffrey Newman.Readers: Debra Andrews, A. K. Allin, Todd Cincala, Patricia Carragon, Tom Oleszczuk, Ilene Starger, Peter Emile, Jane Ormerod, Richard Fein, Ice.

Richard Jeffrey Newman is an essayist, poet and translator. His essays and poems have appeared in Changing Men, Salon.com, The American Voice, On The Issues, The Pedestal, Circumference, Prairie Schooner, ACM, [continue...]

Cut Off the Ears of Winter

April 27  2005
Book Release Party for Cut Off the Ears of Winter by Peter Covino

Open Mic

April 21 2005

Readers: Ilene Starger, Patricia Carragon, Richard Fein, Karl Lorenzen, Iris Berman