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I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These (American Readers Series) [Paperback]

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Item description for I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These (American Readers Series) by Anthony Tognazzini...

"Reading Anthony Tognazzini is like having a surprise party thrown in your honor on every page. I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These turns cartwheels, plants daisies, and sings love songs in honor of all that is strange, sad, serious, and sublime about being alive."-Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season

I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These is a collection of fifty-seven pieces that range in length from compressed paragraphs to ten-page stories. Characters, voices, and surreal scenarios are unified in a playful vision of the world sustained by metaphor, memory, cartoon, tragedy, love story, and song.

Speed and brevity are a large part of the collection's design. In a culture where attention spans are shorter and more fractured, the need for a literature for the subway and the waiting room-something to resonate in the smaller gaps of our lives-is emerging. To this end, I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These is quick, colloquial, and comic, yet challenges readers to think. It offers-at a glance-a journey into a fictional world that is poetic and narrative, fantastic and familiar, accessible and adventurous.

"The Difference"

Although I was never an early riser, my father always counseled me to rise with the sun.
"Early bird gets the worm!" he told me.
"Sure," I said, "but the worm who sleeps late, lives."

Anthony Tognazzini lives in New York City, where he makes his living as a teacher and freelance journalist. His awards include an AWP Award, an Academy of American Poets prize, a Greer Artist Foundation Fellowship, and a Hemingway Fellowship.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.4" Width: 6.9" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
Publisher   BOA Editions Ltd.
ISBN  1929918909  
ISBN13  9781929918904  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of May 23, 2017 10:49.
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More About Anthony Tognazzini

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anthony Tognazzini has appeared in Quarterly West, Double Room, Pindeldyboz, Hayden's Ferry Review, Mississippi Review, Salt Hill, and Alaska Quarterly Review, among others. He has received a Pushcart nomination, an award from the Academy of American Poets, and fellowships to the Prague Summer Writers' Workshop and Ledig House Writer's Colony. He holds an MFA from Indiana University.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > United States
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These (American Readers Series)?

Doomed!  Sep 18, 2008
Every story even the happy stories captured the essence of utter doom. This collection was written in a way that turns the thought of the reader. In my case I felt deep sadness for the characters and their eventual destiny.
Yet, while reading I was also brought to a certain kind of ecstasy. This feeling was during the process of the performance before the point of eventual doom. After my experience with this book I learned what one understands is not only what is written on a page or what is seen in the mind. Understanding can be whispered to the heart. Truth can be felt in deep wires of the brain and the bones. Done in a way only a talented author such as Anthony Tognazzini can achieve. I liked and enjoyed.
Hip, smart punchy flash fiction  Aug 7, 2008
Here's a guy who knows how to pack a punch in one page, or even less. Read the title piece, for example. Oh, yeah. Interestingly enough, he has a few longer pieces in this collection (maybe 3 or 4) and for me, while they're competent, they just don't have the same oomph the shorter pieces do.

You have to be really inventive to do flash fiction, and for sure, Mr. Tognazzini is in that category. Once you move into longer form fiction, narrative takes over (it has to; no choice in the matter) and that's a totally different type of writing--or usually is, anyway. Flash has its own unwritten 'rules', for lack of a better term, and they're chock full of the need for intense imagination.

Lots of really good stuff here. Two of the author's pieces in this collection were originally in a great flash fiction anthology called PP/FF, which I strongly recommend; another (the title piece) was in the anthology Mammoth Book of Sudden Stories, another superb flash fiction anthology.

Watch for more stuff from this guy; he knows how to do the flash thing, for sure.

Highly recommended.
Anthony Tognazzini Flashed Me His Fiction And I Liked It!  Dec 12, 2007
I didn't just devour this book, I licked every word off every page and cried when it was all gone. I also loved the aftertaste.

If you like Aimee Bender, Barry Yourgrau, Lydia Davis, Donald Barthelme, you'll enjoy Tognazzini.

Buy it, read it, spread the word. His stuff is yummity-yum good!
Flash fiction at its best  Jun 28, 2007
I ordered the book after discovering it in "Poets and Writers" and was immediately captivated by the brevity, frankness, honesty of Tognazzini's brilliance on every page. A real treat, must-read, literary gem--underrated.
A Fine Collection of Flash  Jun 26, 2007
I often long for a simpler life, with fewer complications and distractions, in which my attention span can occasionally linger to enjoy a particular moment. The sun in my life reached its zenith a few years ago and is picking up speed as it drops toward the horizon and so I tend to resent that, as a society, we boast of our superior ability to multi-task even as we sheepishly admit to the negative effect of refusing to take time out to occasionally clear the mechanism. That said, I've resisted "flash fiction" as something that caters to our ever-shortening attention span.

For the uninitiated, flash fiction contains all of the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, and resolution; but unlike the traditional short story, the limited word length often leaves some of these elements to only be implied in the written storyline, which is perhaps best exemplified by Ernest Hemingway's six-word flash, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Although it can be traced back to Aesop's Fables, with the likes of Chekhov, O. Henry, Kafka, H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury contributing, flash fiction is enjoying a resurgence on the Internet. Although I sometimes cringe from the niche it fills in our fractured society, despite all of its professed connectivity through cell phones and email, flash is a viable art form that presents a challenge to the writer he or she doesn't normally face when writing a longer piece: strictly meat and bones writing without all of the side dishes.

Anthony Tognazzini seems to have mastered this literary art form with his collection of flash fiction, I Carry a Hammer In My Pocket for Occasions Such as These. Tognazzini understands the concept, in flash fiction, that what is left unsaid is as equally important as what is said. In flash, less is more.

Composed of fifty-seven pieces ranging in length from a single paragraph to several pages, none hit the reader over the head, yet most hit the nail on the head with their brevity, focus and message. From the opening piece, A Primer, in which a naked man paints himself into the landscape, to the title piece about a brief encounter between strangers on the street, to A Telephone Conversation with My Father (yeah, they really do love each other), to The Enigma of Possibility -- how can a man with the longest tongue in the world manage to find a way to pay the rent in the aftermath of having just lost his job? -- to Working Out with Kafka, where Kafka meets himself while riding a bike crossing a bridge, to Old House -- "I know how lonely the house is when there is no one to live there," to Baseball Is Dangerous but Love Is Everything, where love cures a young man's "not-right scramble and his thinking irregular slightly," the result of a childhood beaning on the head with a baseball bat, I Carry a Hammer is a fine collection of flash that ranges from the fantastical to the commonplace, that contains humor and portrays grief and loss, that turns the mundane into the fascinating, and is almost always thought-provoking.

Tognazzini's voice is fresh, his narrative sharp: My stomach jumped like an angry, barking dog and I spun, throwing up in every direction. When I finished, I regarded the abstract, brown-red splashes on the tile. I thought, Pollock, and it seems tailor-made for flash; yet for some reason, perhaps because their text lack a surgeon's precision with a scalpel, the longer pieces, particularly Gainesville, Oregon -- 1962 -- don't work as well. Tognazzini's talent seems to "flash" with brilliance more often in the flash element.

Still, the overall effect of reading I Carry a Hammer is addicting: you never know what you're going to get when you turn the next page, but you can't refrain from taking a peek.


-- From "The Smoking Poet," literary ezine, Summer 2007 Issue

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