Bonny Finberg — in conversation with Mark McCawley

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Bonny Finberg

in conversation with

Mark McCawley


"Beginning Kali's Day @ Bhadgaon Guesthouse, Bhaktapur, Nepal, 1997", photo by Bonny Finberg

“Beginning Kali’s Day @ Bhadgaon Guesthouse, Bhaktapur, Nepal, 1997”, photo by Bonny Finberg

Mark McCawley: Any writer of transgressive, erotic, surreal writing is bound to be influenced in some fashion by the works and accomplishments of the late Kathy Acker. That said, how did it feel to win the 2014 Acker Award for Fiction (New York)?

Bonny Finberg: While Acker’s influence is probably felt by a generation of writers who came of age in the ‘80s and 90s, there have been many who were considered transgressive, erotic and surreal in their work before Kathy Acker came on the scene. In fact, one of her greatest influences, I believe, was William Burroughs. Considering that Acker and I were born in approximately the same year, we probably had similar influences. We came of age during a time when breaking rules and boundaries, literary, social, political, etc. was almost the norm. For many of us, writers like Burroughs and Kerouac held much influence, the power of using language in a way that the plastic arts had been experimenting with even earlier. Of course Gertrude Stein, another influence of mine, had broken real ground in this way, well before any of these guys had learned how to hold a pen. And, there would be no Kerouac, in my opinion, without Joyce. Read more

Stealing Cherries by Marina Rubin — review by Mark McCawley

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Stealing CherriesStealing Cherries
By Marina Rubin
Manic D Press, October 22, 2013
ISBN 978-1-933149-80-6
$14.95 US pbk | $9.06 US Kindle
96 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Fiction

review by Mark McCawley

“we waited, in our city of Vinnitsa, pronounced in russian almost like Venice, waited for him every night on the bench in the park to hear his heart-tearing seven-string guitar and every morning in our marilyn bikinis we watched his breaststroke as he crossed the river. i would not dare to love him, he was loved by too many, i was there for my friends, the talk of training bras, mascara stolen from mothers and sisters. walking home one night i heard someone whisper my name. it was Ruslan sitting on top of a tree, stealing cherries. he said he loved me for a long time with all his heart in this entire city of Venice, he loved only me and Luda Vishnevska, whose last name meant black cherry.”

~Marina Rubin, “Confessions of Love”, p.91

In 1989, when most of the stories in Stealing Cherries takes place, Marina Rubin and her family were refuseniks — Soviet-era Jews from Vinnitsa, Ukraine seeking political asylum in the United States from Soviet state-sanctioned anti-Semitism.
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Savage 1986 – 2011 by Nathaniel G. Moore — review by Mark McCawley

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savageSavage 1986-2011
by Nathaniel G. Moore
Anvil Press
ISBN 978-1-927380-55-0
$20 CAN / $20 US
5.5 x 8 | 280 pp


Despite all the investigation, there is still much unrest in the family. May as well try and enjoy the time we still have on earth. Well, I feel so much sometimes I guess I just get a bit clouded, a bit off-colour. You know that colour? A trout in a blender or that big dumb fat sparrow hopping around on its twig leg that a part of you wants to crush, and it’s plump and juicy, and you want it to dance alive in your semi-closed mouth, then set it free.

Our house (161 Glenvale Boulevard) in north Leaside was built in 1960, and our family of four moved in one crisp weekend in March 1981. During the first week, select relatives visited and photographs were taken of Holly and me discovering the “secret” wood-panel door in the basement beside what would be my eventual bedroom (1985-1994) which led to a small pantry, bunker or bomb shelter under the stairs. The tiny passageway connected to the workshop.

Each and every Sunday we all agreed the roast beef was beautiful; its heart-red and pink cross section caused Dad to make sex noises in between throat clears. “Oh Diane, orgasm,” Dad would groan, rubbing his grey or brown sweater, overacting the pleasure of each sloppy bite with his prop tongue.

The story is disconcerting. It deals with time, madness and perception of what a family is or isn’t. It’s a study of desire, of memory, death and rebirth, set in a world coming apart.

(Prologue – You Know You’re Right: December 2012, p.11-12)

Nathaniel G. Moore’s Savage 1986 – 2011 (Anvil Press, 2013) is an ambitious, complex, suburban post-realist novel disguised as memoir that uses elements of autobiography, diary entries, interviews, interview fragments and confessional to chronicle the middle-class implosion of the novel’s protagonist Nate’s nuclear family — bracketed from when he first saw Randy Savage in person at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in July 1986, until the wrestler’s sudden death in May 2011 — paralleling Nate’s own search for identity and his eventual mental, emotional, and psychic deterioration.
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Life is Now: The Art and Music of Michael Alan by Mark McCawley

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Life is Now:

The Art and Music

of Michael Alan


by Mark McCawley



“Mostly figurative, and based on the performances, the drawings here suggest an artist enthralled by improvisation. Alan’s thread-like lines are manically impulsive; they barely go an inch without detouring. Short, jagged strokes, tiny loops, and quick arcs make jittery, skeletal outlines of distorted human forms. Hasty daubs of blues and pinks wrap the frames with translucent skin while also conveying the blur of movement. Alan loves motion…”

Robert Shuster, The Village Voice, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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Arklight: a musical overview — by Mark McCawley

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a musical overview


by Mark McCawley

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Danny Kolm, Gregory Kolm and Max Kostaras are three twentysomethings who’ve lived their whole lives in Queens, NYC. Danny and Greg are brothers who started playing music together in 2003 under the name Arklight, releasing dozens of cassettes and Cdrs on small independent labels. Their early sound was a harsh mix of no wave noise, free jazz energy and punk psychedelia. Various friends filled in the lineup, with Danny playing guitar and Greg manning the drums, until 2013 when Max, a childhood friend and sometimes collaborator, became a permanent member on lead guitar. It was then that their sound shifted to reflect a burgeoning interest in songwriting, structure and improved musicianship. For inspiration, Arklight looked to the music they grew up on and loved, including Neil Young, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Nick Cave and Beat Happening. They hope to continue their development and follow the muse wherever it may lead them.
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