PUBLISHED IN: 2015
THE AUTHOR: Alex Green
THE EDITOR: Joe Pan, Debora Kuan
THE PUBLISHER: Brooklyn Arts Press
SUMMARY: Emergency Anthems is, in spite of its title, not about the actual emergencies. The book is about what happens after them. In other words, it’s not about the shark attack, it’s about having been attacked by a shark. I’ve always been more interested in the scar than what put it there. I’ve watched a lot of I Was Attacked By A Shark documentaries during “Shark Week” and they always are about someone who had some kind of harrowing, awful run-in with a Great White. They go through it blow by blow and in the end, they show the person standing on the beach looking pensive, or poetic, or however the camera angle decides to shoot them. And that’s always the moment that I’m waiting for–do they still surf or have they never gone back into the water? Emergency Anthems takes place in that decision, or that moment where you have to reckon with the facts of your life and you realize that that reckoning happens every single second, even when you think it’s not. I also wanted to write a book that was a combination of “Slacker,” Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs and parts of “Three’s Company”…
THE BACK STORY: I started writing Emergency Anthems about ten years ago. After years of bumping through forms and styles (my synth-pop phase was particularly bad) I finally got comfortable with the things I liked to write about–sharks, sad surfers, the singer of The Byrds, my rabbi–and I decided to embrace them instead of resisting them.
WHY THIS TITLE?: One of the first pieces in the collection was “Emergency Anthem” and I decided to make it plural because when I stepped back I saw that every page had people getting struck by lightning, blowing out knees, falling off mountains, getting attacked by sharks, getting thrown through windows–and I thought each piece was a kind of guide to getting through all that…emotional and physical carnage.
I also chose it because 50 Shades Of Grey was already taken….
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Because there’s nothing more daring than watching an author write the same thing over and over again, thinking that nobody notices.
REVIEW COMMENTS: People were rather kind. Here are some of the rather kind people:
“Anyone who knows his music writing knows that Alex Green knows music, and in this, his first book of poems, he seems also to know how to make it. Green’s feel for the wheel—not to mention his insistence on keeping the moving parts clean—offers the reader a usefully clarified ride through the various terrains we live in and for; a grand (but never grandiose) tour of both world and word as they give sadly beautiful rise to one another…”
–Graham Foust, author of A Mouth In California and Necessary Stranger
“I salute thee, Emergency Anthems…”
–Daniel Handler, author of Why We Broke Up and We Are Pirates
“Green’s poems read like secrets, someone sharing a passion, a bias, a humiliation, a love. They crash into your ears like the surf, and you flip the page, awaiting the next beauty, the next set of waves.”
–Joshua Mohr, author of Some Things That Meant The World To Me
AUTHOR PROFILE: I got my start as a music journalist. The highlight? Interviewing David Bowie. The low point? Not being on the guest-list for an Eddie Money show. I wrote for CMJ, Magnet, HITS! and Yahoo! Music and then I somehow parlayed that into writing a book on The Stone Roses for the 33/13 series. I was nominated twice for a Pushcart, but that didn’t help me pick up girls in bars. My new novel The Heart Goes Boom will be out in a few months on Wrecking Ball Press. www.alexgreenbooks.com
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I’m grateful that people have been so supportive. I’ve always been out of step with trends (just got a MySpace page, for example) and my writing feels a bit punk rock in that I’m not a part of any movement. However, I’m up for one. So feel free to invite me. Especially if you live near the ocean or happen to be a shark.
LOCAL OUTLETS: A Great Good Place For Books and Diesel Books in Oakland
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Don’t be a stranger. Or, be less of one, at least: firstname.lastname@example.org, @emberseditor