One new poem

…here at The Orchards:

It’s a pdf and I’m on page 36. While there check out the fine poem by my friend, Marly Youmans.

To start the new year, two new poems

…here at Nixes Mate Review:

As if you cared….Corey’s Best of 2017

Corey’s Best of 2017


Making no concession to release dates, all movies, cds and books are ones I encountered for the first time in 2017. Because, you know, if you haven’t read it or seen it or heard it yet, it’s new, right? All lists are in no particular order, except for books, which are listed by atomic weight.

Best books I read

Victory by Joseph Conrad

Beowulf translation by Seamus Heaney

Gone to Earth by Mary Webb

Precious Bane by Mary Webb

A Circus of Needs by Stephen Dunn

The Blood of Others by Simone de Beauvoir

Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust

Voices of the Chicago Eight by Tom Hayden

Love is a Fervent Fire by Robin Jenkins

The Riders by Tim Winton

The Dead and the Living by Sharon Olds

It Don’t Worry Me: American Films of the 70s by Ryan Gilbert

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Bellocq’s Ophelia by Natasha Trethewey

Paroles by Jacques Prévert

The Field is White by Claire Akebrand

If I had to pick one favorite read this year I’d say the Conrad.

Plus this year was an embarrassment of riches in books by friends, all of which I heartily recommend: I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone, by Jim Dickinson, From the Limbs of a Pear Tree by David Spicer, Cherry Bomb by Susan Cushman, The Unmade World by Steve Yarbrough, The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang, The Boy in the Corner by Miles Gibson, Messages to Lelia by Billy Reed, Camino Island by John Grisham, The Theoretics of Love by Joe Taylor, Even the Breath by Valentine Leonard, and A Cold Eye by Margaret Skinner.

Best movies I saw

Private Property (Stevens)

Arrival (Villeneuve)

Polytechnique (Villeneuve)

We Go On (Servente)

Morlang (Penning)

Paterson (Jarmusch)

1971 (Hamilton)

Get Out (Peele)

Death in the Garden (Bunuel)

Hitler: A Career (Fest/Herrendorf)

Snowden (Stone)

The New Land (Troell)

Swiss Army Man (Kwan/Scheinert)

Il Grido (Antonioni)

24 Days (Arcady)

Eyes of my Mother (Pesce)

Silence (Scorcese)

Train to Busan (Yeon)

Okja (Bong)

Il Sorpasso (Risi)

Dunkirk (Nolan)

I am Not Your Negro (Peck)

Lady Macbeth (Oldroyd)

Brimstone (Koolhoven)

A Ghost Story (Lowery)

Labyrinth of Lies (Ricciarelli)

The Meyerowitz Stories (Baumbach)
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (Dunne)

Lace Crater (Atkins)

Mother! (Aronofsky)

Mademoiselle (Richardson)

Of these, the movie that hit me the hardest was I am Not Your Negro. See it if you haven’t.

And just for fun, the 10 worst movies I saw this year:

Beware! The Blob (Hagman)

Generation Um (Mann)

Scent (The Existentialist, yes the director calls him/herself The Existentialist)

The Lost Future (Salomon)

Jupiter Ascending (Wachowski/Wachowski)

Swamp Thing (Craven)

Transit (Negrit)

Kiss of the Tarantula (Munger)

Tear Gas Squad (Morse)

Mercy (Cornwell)

Best cds I got:

Infinite Tuesday by Michael Nesmith

Fight Fire: The Complete Recordings by The Golliwogs

Give More Love by Ringo Starr

Experimental Connections in the Memphis by Linda Heck

The Broken Circle Breakdown (soundtrack)

Presenting Lothar and the Hand People

Night Comes Down: 60s British Mod, R&B, Freakbeat & Swinging London Nuggets

The Best of Q65: Nothing but Trouble

Down Today by Miriam

Nobody’s Baby by Miriam

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Deluxe 4 CD/1 DVD set) by The Beatles

In///Parallel by Dhani Harrison

Hitchhiker by Neil Young

Bluenote Café by Neil Young

Promise of the Real by Neil Young

Triplicate by Bob Dylan

Trouble No More by Bob Dylan

1967/Sunshine Tomorrow by The Beach Boys

Roll with the Punches by Van Morrison

Versatile by Van Morrison

Turn Out the Lights by Julien Baker

The Rebel Kind: Girls with Guitars 3

The Complete Goldwax Singles by James Carr

The Complete Singles A’s and B’s by The Rascals

AND, at the end of every year, or at the beginning of the next year, I read a BIG classic that I’ve always meant to read. It helps chip away at that “Must-read list” and it helps to slow me down amid or after the tumult of the holiday season. This year I am giving Proust a pass and reading Les Miserables, all 1300+ pages of it. Happy New Year, y’all.  I personally had a good 2017, despite the igmo in the White House, who was and is the source of great anxiety and fear. I was able to play the holy game of pickleball regularly. I wrote a little film, called We Go On, that won the Memphis Film Prize and an award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. My new book of poems, Among the Mensans, came out from the good folks at Iris Press. I had a poem read by Garrison Keillor on his radio show. And, I found out that I will become a grandfather in April. Blessings.


One new poem

…here at Antinarrative:

What’s the best fantasy novel ever written?

I tell you and MPR here:

One new poem

…here in The Big Windows Review:

Give the gift of Corey Mesler this year

All books can be ordered signed or inscribed here:

Talk: A Novel in Dialogue


“Talk is a marvelous look at the contemporary culture, riddled with lovely asides and its fair share of jokes, almost every one of which is as affectionate and engaging as a joke can be.  And you’ll be surprised how sexy a book made out of dialogue can be.  It’s a wonderful, funny, touching story.  Buy it and read it and you’ll be glad you did.”

Frederick Barthelme, author of Moon Deluxe and Waveland



We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon


“If this was music, it’d be a slippery, jazzy ‘Green Onions’ with a sitar break played by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, using the edge of his dictionary for a pick.”

Marshall Chapman, author of Sweet Little Rock and Roller




Following Richard Brautigan:


“Corey Mesler has summoned up all the sad lost innocence and wry humor of the best of Brautigan. It’s a wistful, haunting novel that makes you laugh out loud, too.’

Thomas Dyja, author of Meet John Trow and The Moon in Our Hands



Listen: 29 Short Conversations


“A virtuoso performance! Realism, monster stories, sex stories, love stories, ghost stories, myths and legends, comedy both understated and openly absurdist: in a literary atmosphere that fetishizes blandness and sameness, such a broad range of ambition and accomplishment is a brave and astonishing act. Pure fun from beginning to end.”

Pinckney Benedict, author of Dogs of God



The Ballad Of The Two Tom Mores

“Fast-paced and funny, ripe with literary references, wry snappy humor and surprising turns of phrase, Corey Mesler’s The Ballad of The Two Tom Mores pulls the reader inexorably along.  In the fictional town of Queneau, Arkansas, where people are named Ham, West Acres and Violin, and teenage vixens roam the streets; there exists a salaciously sexy labyrinth of characters that even Faulkner would have been proud to create.   Mesler’s humorous ballad ends with a surprising twist.  You will emerge slightly tweaked- and better for it.”

Suzanne Kingsbury, author of The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me

Notes Toward the Story and Other Stories:



“Corey Mesler’s stories give shimmer and depth to the most outlandish and most commonplace of experiences. By turns piercingly funny and sneakily heartrending, Notes Toward the Story and Other Stories touches the real corners of life while also showing, with great tenderness, the way we seek to elevate ourselves, our condition, the everydayness of our everyday lives, to a level of epic grandeur. And Mesler shows us how the effort itself—the sincerity of it, the yearning behind it—becomes the grandest thing of all.”


Megan Abbott, author of Bury Me Deep and  The End of Everything




Before the Great Troubling:


“’My father’s death is a small box,’ Corey Mesler writes in a beautiful poem with that title:

‘In it you will not find his ashes.

Instead look to the stars whose dust

is swept and swept again

over the horizon like the wash of waves.’

His poems, too, are small boxes—compressed, cryptic, full of insight and sorrow, full of wit and tenderness.  Before the Great Troubling offers a quirky, wise, and memorable picture of life in our shadow-filled century.”

Ann Fisher-Wirth, author of Carta Marina, A Poem in Three Parts



 I’ll Give You Something to Cry About


“I finished ‘I’ll Give You Something to Cry About’ which I’ve enjoyed immensely. I love books of short fictions. They’re like good fruit cakes – filled with sweet and spicy and nutty tidbits. But ‘The History of the Memphis 4-H Group’ was dazzling. Each entry suggests another story, another history. The names (and I appreciate a good name) are deeply satisfying. Where did all that come from? No, but seriously. Where did it come from? Because I’d like to go there myself and dip my pen in the inkwell!

Miles Gibson, author of Dancing with Mermaids and Hotel Plenti




“Mesler captures the flavor of the late 60s/early 70s Memphis music scene expertly, especially his evocation of the Shell as it was then.  I could almost hear Knowbody Else (later Black Oak, Arkansas) performing their creepy local FM hit, “Flying Horse of Louisiana,” there while I was reading Gardner Remembers.”  x

Ross Johnson, drummer for Panther Burns, Jim Dickinson, and Alex Chilton



Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite


“They say–they used to say–that anything can happen on Beale Street.  Here it does.”

Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces and Mystery Train: Images of American in Rock and Roll Music 



“Corey Mesler writes riotous prose–fluid and lush and crazy. It’s verbally rich and witty–half literary, half hoodoo. Imagine James Joyce on Beale Street with Elvis. Or something like that. Wacky but poignant!”

Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Blue Beret and Shiloh and Other Stories




Our Locust Years


“Corey Mesler is a poet of intimacy and honesty with a gift for memorable lines and phrases such as “a chapel shaped like a farm” and “She entered my life / like a battered dresser, all / drawers open . . .” His poems are intimate, wistful, and often erotic. Though he does not go out of his way to establish settings and a sense of location, his poems are subtly and yet unmistakably evocative of the city where he lives, particularly of midtown Memphis. Everyone who owns a book or two by Peter Taylor, who loves the music of Booker T. and MGs and Jessie Winchester, will want to have Corey Mesler on their bookshelves.”


Richard Tillinghast, author of Today in the Cafe Trieste and The Stonecutter’s Hand.




Frank Comma and the Time-Slip


“An entertainment, Mesler’s short novel is half erotica, half fantasy, and half comedy. It’s for the reader to sort out the math.”

Joe Taylor, author of Masques for the Fields of Time, and The World’s Thinnest Fat Man




As a Child: Stories


“Having just finished reading Corey Mesler’s As a Child, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now than start reading it all over again.  The first time, I was smiling all the way through.  I felt like the guy in one story who self-medicates by eating a dime and finds his world transformed.  These are stories filled with wit and surprise, with heart-busting sadness and romping joy.”

Josephine Humphreys, author of Rich in Love and Nowhere Else on Earth



The Catastrophe of my Personality


“These new poems, much like his old poems, seem to have a pipeline to the archetypes.  Mesler repeatedly examines the flip-side of the coins laid over the eyes of pain and finds laughter.  It’s been so much fun knowing him so long and having some inkling—presumptuously I admit–of how he’s gotten here from there.   It’s an issue we can discuss for the rest of our lives.”

Steve Stern, author of the Jewish Book Award Winning, The Wedding Jester




The Sky Needs More Work


“Mesler’s is again a poetry manifesting, indeed, sustaining–the Memphis school. Wm. Carlos Williams and numerous others would find it substantial and elucidating of the all the contraries to the idealized lumpen life. The bottom falls away from it, the foundations, the bases, and one is put on notices to be aware of what lives live within the one we live. Merely by seeing in language. A poetry that does not need explaining, abjures it explicitly.”

Gordon Osing, author of Theaters of Skin, and La Belle Dame



Opaque Melodies that Would Bug Most People


In one of the poems in his new collection, Corey Mesler writes: The sky is the/color of Jean Gabin. It’s offbeat, but grounded, insightful and even beautiful—which pretty much describes the poems in this book. Mesler is a poet of the suburbs and the cities, one who moves through childhood to adulthood while deftly trying to comprehend what life is up to and is doing to him. And there’s much on the plate, from birth to death and everything in between, all chronicled with Mesler’s bright shafts of poetic brilliance. The longest poem in the book “Travelers” could be an anthem for a Generation and the Country itself. Opaque Melodies That Would Bug Most People will bug you with delight and a new, profound way of seeing the world.

Tim Suermondt, author of Just Beautiful and Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance




Memphis Movie


“I have long suspected, because of my hubris, that I would discover the lost continent of Atlantis.  Little did I know that it would turn out to be a movie.  And what an amazing one, very unique and persuasive and strange and sometimes quite funny, written and directed by this original, clever, funny writer – who is now also a star.”
Ann Beattie , author of Chilly Scenes of Winter and The New Yorker Stories.


I’ve read any number of books about the movies. I’ve never before read one that I sent to my publisher who bought it faster than he bought mine. Corey Mesler is an undiscovered treasure. This book screams to be a movie. The role of Dan Yumont, the drug-addled priapic hero is waiting for a super-star with the balls to do it. Brad? Colin? Sean? Johnny? The characters are sharp, smart, and funny. I was sorry when I finished it. So I started it over again.”

  • Peter Coyote, star of T. and Northfork, and author of Sleeping Where I Fall



Robert Walker: A Novel


“Richly imagined, intense and vivid, Corey Mesler’s Robert Walker will take you down some byways you haven’t trod before.  Mesler writes with rare energy in this well-told tale.  A memorable novel.”

Steve Yarbrough, author of Visible Spirits and The Realm of Last Chances



Among the Mensans and Other Poems

“Direct, clipped, with never a syllable wasted, Corey Mesler’s poems in Among the Mensans reflect on expansive obsessions: love, loss, and the body’s perfect imperfections. This is a wonderfully large-hearted, bracing, candid, and ambitious collection by a writer whose searching intelligence lights every line.”

Lee Upton, author of Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles and The Tao of Humiliation: Stories