Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lighthouses & Ebook Sale!

I'm writing from the Outer Banks with a fractured ankle. Brutal dog walking accident from the week before. I can't believe they let me do such dangerous work.

Kind of a bummer, but it's not a tragedy. It hasn't dampened anyone else's time.

I was able to walk last month when we were in Iceland and Prague, so I won't complain. Too much.

I've been offline a lot this summer and it's been wonderful. I owe lots of folks emails but I will respond. Soonish.

If you haven't got a copy of Bombyonder yet, this is your lucky day. The ebook is on sale for only $1.99 (limited time). It normally sells for $7.99 so it's quite the bargain.

* * Amazon * * B&N * *  Apple * * Kobo * * Indigo * *

If you're not sure you want to plop down two Washingtons, you can read what some smart reviewers have written about it to better convince yourself that it's a sound investment.

Finally, Chris' shed update:

(Very) slowly, but surely.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Have you been keeping up with the Misfit Documents over at Queen Mobs Teahouse? I've been having a lot of fun editing the department.

If you have a "misfit document," here's the submission guidelines.

A few weeks ago there was a "violent micro burst" in our neighborhood.

At least 10 homes were hit by trees, several so severely they're now uninhabitable. Luckily for us, our home was spared.

The shed was spared too. Here's the latest progress:

G is a rising 5th grader, 5 feet tall and size 8 shoe. Can you believe we let him stay up late to watch Conan the Barbarian (original)? We didn't remember Conan being such a lothario. Awkward.

And he fell asleep right before the big ending!

In a couple weeks we're going to Iceland and Prague. We're excited.

I'm enjoying my summer by limiting my time on social media. So far a good bit of enjoyment.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

John Parras Reviews Bombyonder at Rain Taxi

Today has been a pretty good day!

Mentioned in the same paragraph as as Teju Cole, Ben Lerner, Rachel Cusk, Knausgaard and Heti and Bombyonder compared to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.

Woo-hoo! Here's an excerpt:

In contrast, many contemporary responses to the so-called death of the novel take the form of what is sometimes called the non-novel—works by writers such as Teju Cole, Ben Lerner, Rachel Cusk, and the aforementioned Knausgaard and Heti. In most cases these autobiographical novels attempt to solve our dissatisfaction with the stilted fabrications of plot and character by steering fiction toward the realm of memoir. But Reb Livingston's extraordinary novel, Bombyonder, shows us how timid such a solution is. One doesn't heal the ailing novel form by disguising fiction as memoir, Bombyonder forcefully suggests; one heals the novel by fearlessly transfiguring long fiction. Rather than assuaging supposed readerly anxieties, Livingston reinvents fictional character and narrative pattern while embracing the perplexities of prevarication, the imaginative value of absurdity, and the delights of wild artifice. 

Despite its avant-gardism, Bombyonder bears an uncanny resemblance to Gillian Flynn’s runaway bestseller, Gone Girl. Both books feature a female protagonist trying to find herself, suppressing some aspect of her personality, and navigating complicated amorous relations with men. Both books incorporate diary entries as a central device, reflect on the questionable influence of parents on their children, and involve complex mysteries of disappearance and reappearance. And both books contemplate murder, though in radically different manners. While Gone Girl adheres to the conventions of the realistic thriller, Bombyonder teeters on the opposite end of the fictional spectrum: it is innovative in the extreme.


Learn more about Bombyonder

Indie Terrorists

I co-authored this essay with Rauan Klassnik at Queen Mobs:

Today’s terrorist may well be tomorrow’s revolutionary hero. But—

“I stopped writing this fall, for the first time in my life, out of this silencing fear of being attacked by them.”

“I was attacked for making a vague statement.” 
“I worked for a rape crisis center for years, was involved with founding a network for survivors, was sexually abused for years as a kid — and people call me a rape apologist.” 
“I friend requested most of them so that I can keep an eye on things. It’s scary.”

Submission Call for Misfit Documents at Queen Mob's Teahouse

I'm the new (and first) Misfit Documents Editor at Queen Mob's Teahouse.


MisfitThat is a very good question. My definition of a misfit document is a text that doesn’t easily fit into any genre or category. It’s not quite a poem or short story or novel excerpt or essay. Or if it is one of those things, it doesn’t quite qualify as “literary” or sci-fi or mystery or memoir or whatever. Or maybe it’s all of those things and more. It’s something you wrote that you believe is amazing, but you have no idea what it is or where it belongs in the world. It’s something that when people read it they say, “What the hell is this?”
It’s something that doesn’t really have a label, or at least not one that is widely used.


Lots. I want to be surprised and delighted. I want to read things that are nothing like I’ve ever read before. I want to scratch my head. I want to struggle trying to describe it.
I don’t want to narrow what would fall under a category called “Misfit Documents” because I’m not ready to rule anything out. At least not yet.
I lean towards work that is quirky, strange, fucked-up, etc., but my tastes do run fairly eclectic. Some of my favorite authors: Leonora Carrington, Alice Notley, Joyce Mansour, Bhanu Khapil, Philip K. Dick, Octavia Butler, Joy Williams, Rikki Ducornet, Fanny Howe (especially her essays), Kim Hyesoon, Frank O’Hara, Harryette Mullen, Marie-Louise von Franz, Lindsay Hill, Helen Oyemi, Flannery O’Connor, Marosa Di Georgio, Hannah Weiner and Amy Gerstler.
I’m not saying I want work in the vein of any of the above authors, just giving you an a sense for some of the styles that I’m drawn to. Not doubt I’m drawn to others as well.
Obviously, I’m looking for texts that are well-written, interesting, compelling and work as stand-alone pieces. Misfit doesn’t mean throw away or unfinished. I’m not looking for leftovers.
Not sure if what you have is right? Just send it. The worst that will happen is that I’ll say no thank you and you’ll say (TO YOURSELF!): That moron wouldn’t know a true misfit document if one fell out of the sky and danced on her face!
I think that’s a risk worth taking, don’t you?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lemons et al.

Up on Queen Mob's Teahouse I have an essay, "Souring on Community", where I discuss my evolving feelings about writing communities:

After being a community cheerleader for years, I began feel differently around 2011. I was feeling exhausted, overtaxed and unappreciated. Maybe I had let myself become a doormat for the community or maybe the distinction between community and individuals blurred for me. Maybe individual assholes do not equal community. But they are part of the community and to be in the community is to be in the midst of assholes. Assholes who take advantage. Assholes who insinuate and spread rumors. Assholes who want to shit in your kitchen and burn your house down. Petty assholes. Vindictive assholes. Obsessed assholes. Unstable assholes. Mean assholes.

It's not all puckered lips and assholes, I promise.


Shoes reflect where we’ve been and what we bring with us. 
The Wicked Witch of the West was willing to kill Dorothy for her Ruby Red Slippers. Cinderella’s stepsisters maimed their own feet to try to fit into her glass slipper. Snow White’s stepmother was forced to dance to death in hot iron shoes. The Twelve Dancing Princesses wore out their shoes from dancing all night in fairyland. While the Shoemaker slept, the elves made his shoes for him helping him out of poverty. 
Shoes are power and authority. 
Shoes are serious business.


I share some of my poetry favorites with Straight Poetry.


And lastly, NaPoWriMo is over! I did it! Again!

NaPoWriMo #30 
I should be careful lining my eyebrows
I’ve done too dark before
the poet inside is fragile and can easily be hurt
her powerful mind creates a great deal
that she often can’t control
she’s gonna stick a shiv
right through Long Dong Patriarch’s forehead
as Lady Snakebitch chokes
on a slut’s sonnet

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

final note (I hope) on speaking up

According to Statcounter (and as of this posting), 2384 unique visitors have read Saturday's post. 2020 were first time visitors to this blog. Suffice it to say, a lot of people are interested (and I hope concerned) about what's happening.

I've made my thoughts known. Others have too. I don't think I have much else to add on that front. I'm not interested in having fruitless discussions with individuals who abuse and intimidate in the guise of protecting abuse victims. It's a tactic that I regularly endured starting from childhood through my mid-30's and there's just no productive way to deal with that. I might point it out from time to time, but I won't engage it. I also have no intention of sanitizing comment fields either here or on FB. I think it's important for there to be a record of what a few are saying and doing.

I haven't (at least not directly) written about my own past abuse experiences and if I ever do choose to write about those events, it won't be to teflon myself against accusations of being an apologist or defender. It'll be on my own terms.

I truly appreciate all the messages of support I've received and am very grateful to see all the support and love for Bruce. I wish healing and recovery for EVERYONE tangled in this awful mess and to those who have been affected just by it being ever-present in their social media.

For now, I too would like to talk and write about other things.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bombyonder Review & Page 69 Test

Marie Curran reviews Bombyonder in The Collagist:

Beyond logic and linear thinking, manners and order, humor and horror, there is Bombyonder. Not exactly a physical location, but more than a passing thought, Bombyonder echoes poetry of mythic proportions. It smells of decaying flesh, drips with bodily fluids, and brims with the anger of a Medusa. It is a subconscious space of both apocalyptic absurdity and astonishing lucidity, where zombie sex jokes can morph into profound commentaries on social media, and vague memories hilariously allude to Ancient Greek literary characters. Poet Reb Livingston's debut novel, appropriately titled Bombyonder, explores this confusing realm in lyrical prose that, while often overwhelming and disgusting, is searing and unforgettable.

Bombyonder is a disjointed tale made up of fragments: diary entries, memories, text messages, letters, forums from the future, and other indirect narrative forms. The book, however, opens as legend—like so many myths, a passionate patricide leads to an impossible quest—and it is important to remember this classic grounding because as the story continues, it dives into sensuous, often outrageous obscurity.
I couldn't be any happier with this review. As a writer (and sometimes as a human being too) I often feel like people don't "get" what it is that I'm trying to do. This is a common lament among writers and artists, but it feels true. So it's gratifying and very appreciated when someone both takes the time to seriously consider the work and engages it in its own realm instead of trying to force-fit it into a tidy category.

If you're curious as to what's on Page 69 of Bombyonder, you can see how it fares at TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog.

Baby Got Books

Pre-AWP Book Booty

AWP Fashion Spread #1

AWP Fashion Spread #2

AWP Fashion Spread #3

All together now!

Monday, April 6, 2015

AWP, Broets, Poemblots & NaPoWriMo, Oh My!

I'll be at AWP in Minneapolis/St. Paul this week.

Thursday night I'll be reading at the Queen Mob's Teaparty along with Kirsten Kaschock, Nicholas Rombes, R.M. O'Brien and music by Vernon Dixon, Elizabeth Ghandour and Gabriel Douglas.

The Teaparty will be held at at Dulono's Pizza starting at 9pm.

Copies of Bombyonder will be on sale at the Coconut Books/Bloof Books table. Table 1633

I'll also have a few copies on hand myself.

At Queen Mob's Teahouse I have an interview with Collin Kelley regarding his poem "Saving Anne Sexton" and the critical reception both it and he received.

There's a Poemblot of a Julie Bloemeke poem where the reader contemplates whether or not Julie might be a stalker.

So far I've stayed on scheduled for NaPoWriMo.

We'll see if I can keep that up later this week when I'm at AWP.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NaPoWriMo & Queen Mob Teahouse News

This year I'll again be participating in NaPoWriMo over at my tumblr: Psychic Novel & Poems, Inc.

It should be fun and a mess, but whatever.

If you're participating yourself this year and looking for prompts, may I suggest the Bibliomancy Oracle. As of this posting, there are 2800+ potential prophecies/prompts/divine answers.

Would you like to be a regular contributor to Queen Mob's Teahouse? The editors are looking for 4 or 5 regular contributors and an assistant editor. Details here.

If you can't commit to a regular writing gig, Queen Mob is always looking for people to write occasional reviews and essays. Details here.

There are some new Poemblots for Bruce Covey, Cynthia Arrieu-King and Michael Gushue.

wrote a collage poem using a PR release and another poet's work. Taking someone else's words and making them your own is a lot of fun and easy. I'm considering writing all my poems this way. It would really up my productivity level.

in other words . . .
greater rhetorical awareness: the paradox faced by language-users
virtually no one actually understands the principles

he feels a murderous rage toward his community but swallows
to rescue language from a perversion of language
from social media to blog posts: any way that content can be delivered

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Reb Livingston Suggests Everything

Inspired by a Borges reading list that was making the rounds, I'm doing a new regular feature at Queen Mob's called Reb Livingston Suggests Books For Your Personal Library. I plan on adding books for the rest of eternity.

And there are new Poemblots for poems by Sarah FoxTarfia FaizullahTeresa BallardLynn Behrendt, G. M. Palmer and Brent Terry.

Unless you're living under a bookless news rock, you've heard about Hausfrau, the new book by G's godmother, Jill Alexander Essbaum, coming out in a few days.

Yeah, I plan on spending all next week hanging out by the front table at my local Barnes and Noble saying, "That's my son's godmother, you know."

I will also be passing out flyers highlighting all the kick ass small presses who were publishing Jill's excellent books long before the big dogs ever heard of her.

Heaven (Bakeless Prize, selected by Agha Shahid Ali, published by Middlebury Press, 2000)

Oh Forbidden (editor H. Palmer Hall, Grove Press, 2005)

Harlot (editor, ahem, published by No Tell Books, 2007)

Necropolis (editor Neil Ellis Orts, published by neoNuma Arts, 2008)

The Devastation (editor Adam Deutsch, published by Cooper Dillon Books, 2009)

I suggest you get the entire Jill Alexander Essbaum backlist in addition to Hausfrau.

I suggest you do it now.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Galatea Resurrects Book Prize Selection

Bombyonder is Galatea Resurrects' Book Prize Selection. That means if you review a book for the next issue of GR, you receive a complimentary copy of Bombyonder. 

More details here.

Thank you Eileen Tabios!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bombyonder Excerpt at Berfrois

Berfrois published an excerpt of Bombyonder:
Does the bomb target their emotions? Could we make the enemy love us? Make them stop desiring what we don’t want them to desire and weren’t going to let them have in the first place? A massacre of want? Of needs? What exactly are we annihilating?
My father wasn’t specific, but aloof and silent, like my father. In those days I knew so little of my inherited gifts and precious curses. The gift was the curse and the curse was the gift. The gift arrived on a bomb and curse wrapped the gift in tinsel. After you swallow the gift it takes a while to digest, not everything easily makes its way through and what comes out can be a bit unsightly. That was the conundrum. What to do with all the unwanted, undumpable crap. It didn’t go away on its own.
What if everyone in my neighborhood stood on our roofs and shot down planes, behaving like goddamn sky terrorists, instigating the army to drop this kind of bomb on top of us? What exactly would happen to us as we stood shooting our guns on our roofs?
A nearby soldier claimed that the bomb would have to fall directly on top of someone to kill him. He claimed to have seen it happen in battle to a good man who deserved better and god bless his soul. But my father claimed that even if the bomb directly hit a person, the event would not kill, only change him. Now this change might be that the person wished to die and if the following chain of events led to death, well that’s another thing entirely and it would be unfair to pin such results on a perfectly kind bomb.


 Buy Bombyonder ($15 paperback; $7.99 ebook)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The newest feature I'm working on at Queen Mob's Teahouse is called Poemblot.

Poemblot (as in inkblot) is where a general reader (i.e. someone who does not have an educational or professional background in writing or literature) is shown a poem and asked to offer an immediate impression. The reader reads the poem no more than twice and is not given any instruction on how to read it or information about the author. One of the purposes of Poemblot is to explore the different perceptions and assumptions readers bring to a text. The readers' full names will not be shared to protect them from rampaging, ego-bruised poets on social media. Instead we'll offer some basic background information and a representational photo provided by each reader as a framework for who they are.

There's two up so far: a poem by Brent Terry, a second by G. M.  Palmer and more to come soon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

redux and unwritten

I have two new posts up at Queen Mob's Teahouse. The first one is a series of book ideas I have yet to write. Please don't steal my ideas. Thank you.

* * *

The second post is a reprint from a post that first appeared elsewhere in 2010, but is no longer available online: Advice to (M)other(F)ucking Ho(A)rd(s) – REDUX.

I know it was popular and what people liked to read about, but aside from the occasional snarky tweet, I long tired of writing about publishing and pobiz in general. After a few years, I didn't haven't anything new to say. A lot has actually changed these past few years and I'm not even sure I have a firm grasp of what's going on at the moment. So I found it funny that a post that Jeremy Spencer wrote at Real Pants where he quoted from a post I wrote in 2011 got so much attention this past week. More attention than anything I've written recently. Clearly it's what people want to read about.

I might write about that in the near future. Thankfully I'm a poet and used to people not being interested in what I'm interested. Otherwise my feelings might be hurt.

Friday, January 30, 2015

"one of literature’s most unreliable narrators: a murderous, narcissistic, yet oddly appealing young woman"

Brent Terry reviews Bombyonder at Cleaver Magazine:

Welcome to the crater. Keep your head down, your eyes open, and try not to lose your lunch…or your mind. Your guide on this journey is one of literature’s most unreliable narrators: a murderous, narcissistic, yet oddly appealing young woman on a quest through the bombed-out wreckage of her own psyche, in search of a past she can hang her hat on, a future that tells the truth, the real nature of her bomb-maker father’s legacy, and a little birdy that might make everything turn out okay.

Reb Livingston’s literary forbears are legion. In this compellingly daft, lyrical, and mind-expanding novel we find traces of Sophocles, Lewis Carrol, Vonnegut, the Nabokov of Pale Fire, Hunter S. Thompson, Gertrude Stein, and Shelley—both of them—all run through the cerebral cortex of Tim Burton, put in a pill and swallowed whole by Livingston, the effect of which is an acid-trip of a novel that requires every bit of guile and courage a reader can muster. Livingston is best known as a poet, (with two critically acclaimed books and a Best American Poetry appearance to her credit) and her poetic sensibilities guide this book: not magical realism, but hyper-realism smashed to bits and reassembled, reanimated, and turned loose among the unsuspecting villagers.

Friday, January 16, 2015

All Kinds of Hijinks at Queen Mob's

Russell Bennetts and I talk about Bombyonder, coffee and Kid Rock as part of his on-going series, Poets Online Talk About Coffee.

Spoiler: I don't like coffee.

By popular demand (snort) I did a Tarot Spat regarding a Patton Oswalt tweet from earlier this week.

I asked the Bibliomancy Oracle to make some literary prophecies for 2015. As usual, it did not disappoint.

Queen Mob's Teahouse has only been open for a little over 2 months, but I'm in awe of all the pieces appearing there. I'm not aware of any arts/literary magazine with both the range and willingness to cover important subjects all while being so vibrant. Of course, I'm biased, but I'm really thrilled to be a part of it.

There's poemsfiction and weird advice, oh my!

Here's just a handful of recent posts I'm recommending (it's in no way a complete list):

Essay: NEW YORK, 2014 by Rebecca Loudon
Essay: 2015: THE YEAR WE GET ANGRY AGAIN by Sarah Certa
Essay: WARMAN WRITES ABOUT SEX by Laura Warman
Review: FORCE MAJEURE (2014): A PORTRAIT OF DISHARMONY by Jacqueline Valencia
Interview: PUTIN TEST: VLADIMIR SAVICH (interviewed by Russell Bennetts)
Sight Unseen Review: ANTICHRIST 2 by Gary J Shipley
Sight Unseen Review: TARZAN (2016) by Rachel Milligan
Sight Unseen Review: MR TURNER by Erik Kennedy
Essay: WOLVES & SHEEP: SOME “BAD” SEX WRITING – WISDOM – by Rauan Klassnik
Fiction: THE HEALER by João Cerqueira (translated by Chris Mingay)

Ok, I better stop, I could go on forever.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Queen Mob's Teahouse

I have a new Dreamsplaining with Jeannine Hall Gailey up at Queen Mob's Teahouse where I discuss the dreaded "death" dream.

If you haven't been to Queen Mob's Teahouse recently, you should really check it out. Especially if you enjoy quirky. There's an engaging and diverse group of regular contributors, as well as a number of guest writers offering up a lot of compelling pieces. It's introduced to me a number of folks I wasn't familiar with before. This is something I appreciate because I'd been wanting (and working towards) expanding what I've been reading as well as hoping to expand my own audience.

If you're looking to write for a literary website, there's a number of opportunities: essays, reviews (of all kinds of things, including films you HAVEN'T seen), fiction, poetry, satire/humor, art, you name it. If there's something else you'd like to write about the editors, Rauan Klassnik and Russell Bennetts, are open to pitches.

If you're on Tumblr, please follow us there. I'm managing it and feeling a little lonely. Would love a bigger audience.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bombyonder is a Fiction Bestseller

So says Small Press Distribution! Somehow the book managed to eek onto their bestseller list for the months of November & December 2014.

It would be wonderful to move up the list, or just remain on it during January. If you haven't got your copy yet, now would be a great time to do so. SPD is a really good option to purchase from (better for both the press & the author). It's also available elsewhere (both in paperback and ebook format), like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple Bookstore and Kobo.

Thank you to everyone who helped put the book on the bestseller list!