Jason Braun’s blog of making text, apps, music, and other things. | jason.lee.braun@gmail.com | 314-614-3717


Monsters in the Library


From the library’s press release:

WIU’s own Jason Braun will bring monsters to the library this October. On Wednesday, October 28th, Braun will read from original poems featuring Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, Faust, The Walking Dead, The Reanimator’s cadre of corpses, and other beasts. The reading will take place in Room 180 of Malpass Library and is free and open to the public.

Jason Braun teaches English at Western Illinois University. He has published fiction, poetry, essays, reported or been featured in Prime Number, ESPN, Squalorly, The Nashville City Paper, The Evergreen Review, Lowestoft Chronicle, The Riverfront Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many more.


Some examples of the kinds of things I’ll be reading:

Here’s a poem set in the beginning of season two of The Walking Dead. It’s about love, loneliness, and well living during a zombie apocalypse.


Here’s another love poem, written from the perspective of the Swamp Thing. I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of those, so don’t bother clicking this link.


Before there was Dr. Frankenstein there was another doctor selling his soul for science. His name was Dr. Faust or the more German, Dr. Faustus. Here’s a song I wrote about him with a little help from my friends. https://jasonandthebeast.bandcamp.com/track/faust

Review: Crixia by Megan Hudgins (reviewed by Sean L. Corbin)

Jason Braun:

Check out this great review of Megan Hudgin’s new chapbook. She’s representing SIUE real proper like!

Originally posted on JMWW:

cover-w-smaller-fontCrixa, poems

By Megan Hudgins

(winner of the 2014 Two of Cups Press chapbook contest)

28 Pages

Two of Cups Press, 2015



In Crixa (Two of Cups Press), Megan Hudgins twists sensuality, artificiality, lost innocence, the creation of life, and relationships into a collection of fresh yet familiar statements on femininity and the various sinews that connect different moments and thoughts into a single meaningful web – or, better yet, a warren – called life.

Hudgins displays a strong eye for different poetic shapes and forms, and how theme and content can affect (and be affected) by those more aesthetic choices. Poems hinging on allusions to Watership Down (where the collection’s title originates) stand side-by-side with descriptions of Eduardo Kac’s famous bioluminescent rabbit Alba, explorations of adolescent sexual awakenings, and emotional explications of Wolfgang Tillmans’s Freischwimmer print series. So too do poems built from couplets…

View original 401 more words

Check out Superman spoken words over saxophones in St. Louis this Sunday night at @FoamSTL

So this reading is going down Sunday night around 7:30 at Foam in St. Louis The show includes great poets and friends like Matthew Questionmark, Zaire Imani, and Seymour Justice. I’ll be saying some new poems (some these are about Superman and other comic books characters) with Adam Sirgany on saxophone, and Mic Boshans (aka The Proprietor) on percussion. This is because Sean Arnold made it happen.

Ah, Did He Just Say Diction?

In Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Workbook, she writes, “For a poet, and indeed for any writer, diction has several components–the sound of the word; the accuracy of the word; and its connotation–the atmosphere, let us say, that is created by word choice.” It is interesting that she doesn’t call out correctness, as in how grammatically correct the word is inside the line and sentence. But maybe that is hinted at in “accuracy.”
I’ve been working on a manuscript of poems about the Midwest, St. Louis, and Superman for a while now and last night my friend David Rawson gave me some notes. He puts out lots of chapbooks and so has a good eye for this kind of thing. We got into it a little about diction. Here’s a review of his book Fuckhead in The Economy.
I’m thankful that I’ve got good readers and good friends to help me with my projects. Most of the time when I get a clique or suggestion from someone I trust, it is about something that already bothered me. The suggested change is something I secretly thought I could get past a reader.
David was bothered by the use of the “sweat” in the line, “We smoked, kissed, and sweat/ through our clothes.” Though it seemed to me that it was the way people speak and also the right word for the poem. Oliver writes about this impulse of contemporary poetry to be “written in a diction that belies that it was formally composed.” Poetic diction and the people were with me, but the grammarians were not. That’s why I drew this triangle.
David teaches public school now and an obsession with correct usage is one of the occupational hazards. But even when we were teaching at SIUE, that cat could diagram some sentences. He won his share of spelling bees as a kid, too. But I think I might have convinced him with “sweat.” Either way we had a pretty good discussion about diction, how people talk, and the ever shifting tides of Standard American English. Consider this, the scholars at Harvard say that many irregular verbs in English (and other languages) are dying.
You can use Google N-Grams to chart the usage of these verbs like so.
Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.23.46 PM
This is not the first time I’ve had to stop and think about this kind of thing. In the poem “Let Me Give You a Tour of the Place” the published version says “swum,” and I can’t even remember if I originally wrote “swam, swum” or whatever. But I remember it was a big deal that took up a lot of time in the workshop. No matter if they are grammatically right or wrong, I want my poems to feel that, as Oliver suggests, “They are not unlike a letter you might have received from a good friend.
Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.23.11 PM

Push Through the Paywalls

Sure, it is great to support old media. I buy subscriptions to actual printed things (Poetry, Wired, and others). But sometimes you might just need to get around a paywall. And don’t feel like logging into some university library database. Google Incognito will help you.

It’s better than the Groucho Marx nose glasses disguise. Here’s a link to a lifehacker post about using Google Incognito, but really it’s only a couple clicks away. If you’re already using Chrome, you don’t have to download anything.

Books Battle Netflix: Steal Like An Artist

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is the kick in the pants you’ve been looking for.

Kleon has the medicine that many beginners and “blocked” experts need. Take what you like and transmute it. In contrast to the old advice to write what you know, Kleon throws out the challenge, “Write the book you want to read.”

This would be a better use time than watching On The Road and buying a boatload of new denim designed to look like old denim.

But if you’ve ordered Steal Like An Artist and you need something to hold you down until it arrives checkout Exit Through the Gift Shop. Or you could just check out Kleon’s Ted Talk right here.

Is marginalia a dirty word? Ever been caught doing it in a library?

Here’s a link to a new podcast Kevin Eagan and I have cooked up for you.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers