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Brian Oliu

Brian Oliu is originally from Readington, New Jersey and currently lives, writes, and teaches in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Blurbs

Major ambitions for such a small book! Each brief meditation explores the daunting, existential task of searching (for you, whoever you are), and yet, with tender and earnest energy, retains a lover’s belief in the act of seeking.

– Lia Purpura, author of On Looking

Oliu’s book is playful, beautifully structured, filled with surprise and pleasure. Read it now, or you will miss out.

– Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire

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So You Know It's Me

This Is Tiny Hardcore Press

07/05/11

I started a small press rather accidentally.  The term small press is, perhaps, a bit inaccurate. I started a micropress. You would need a special piece of ocular equipment to see us in the landscape of publishers but I would not have it any other way. Tiny Hardcore Press is a very small publishing concern producing very small books. When people receive our books in the mail, they sometimes write me and say things like, “I didn’t know the book would be so small.” The “Tiny” in Tiny Hardcore Press is literal. Our books will fit in your pocket or your purse or your hand. They will most definitely fit in your heart.

I wanted to publish tiny, hardcore books. I also love the words tiny and hardcore. They are fine words. The books I wanted to publish would be small in stature but grand in reach and spirit. I’ve published two books so far, books I will be featuring here this month—Normally Special, by xTx and So You Know It’s Me by Brian Oliu and I think they are both small in stature and grand in reach. Normally Special is in its third printing and So You Know It’s Me is about to go into its second printing.

When I read both of these manuscripts, I knew, immediately, that I wanted to publish them because I felt something as I read every single page. I felt something true and deep. That is the reaction I am looking for when I read submissions. That is the reaction I had to every book and writer Tiny Hardcore will be publishing for the next two years when you will see books from Brandi Wells who is up next, Robb Todd, James Tadd Adcox, Sean Doyle, Alana Noel Voth, Scott McClanahan, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Casey Hannan, Letitia Moffitt, and an anthology featuring fiction from Lauren Becker, Erin Fitzgerald, Kirsty Logan, Michelle Reale, and Amber Sparks.

The first book I will be featuring this month is So You Know It’s Me, a collection of lyric essays by Brian Oliu that were posted on the Tuscaloosa Craigslist Missed Connections board over the course of 45 days. On the 45th day, in accordance to Craigslist policy, the essays began to erase themselves. I actually read the essays as they were originally posted and I was intrigued by how a writer was putting his art in such an unexpected place. I kept wanting to see what Brian would write next and when the essays were gone, their absence was felt. When Brian sent me his manuscript, I loved how the essays worked as a whole, how they worked in concert to create a book I hope you will fall in love with too.

There is a real poetry to Craiglist. I love to read Casual Encounters and Missed Connections boards for major cities because you have an unfiltered opportunity to see how desperately lonely so many people are. People post to these boards hoping they will find someone they saw walking down the street or in line at a movie theatre or out there in the world where we are all strangers and not strangers. They post hoping they can meet someone who will come over late at night and satisfy a desire for companionship or sex or some fetish they are only comfortable talking about within the safety of the Craigslist interface, a blank screen with black letters, completely stripped of artifice. There are times when I think Craigslist is, at once, the loneliest and most hopeful place in the world even though it really isn’t a place in the world at all. The Internet is a strange thing.

As I read Brian’s essays, I saw a man reaching out for connection and there was such startling beauty in his words, a beauty that was even more pronounced against the chaotic noise of everything else that goes on via Craigslist. He dissects every moment in these essays so intimately. At times, I wanted to look away because the moments felt too private, too sacred for strangers to hold. In each essay he not only speaks to this mysterious woman he is trying to reach, he reveals pieces of himself, a scar on his arm, how he wrote his name inside his childhood books, how he drew faces as a child, always hideous, so much more, creating his history for us breathlessly, beautifully. This is a book with lines like, “Yes — we must shove dead girls in our mouths, swallow them, have them speak for us by not speaking,” lines that make you want to shove the book itself into your mouth to let it speak for you because it wields such lovely, uncommon language.

Over the next month I’ll feature interviews with both Brian Oliu and xTx, excerpts from their books, guest posts and I hope we’ll have a great conversation about lovely, uncommon writing from two lovely, uncommon writers.

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10 Comments

  1. Molly Gaudry said on 07/05/11 at 7:53 am Reply

    I am so excited to welcome you, Roxane, to The Lit Pub. I’m not very familiar with Brian Oliu’s writing yet, but I trust you to lead me to great writing, so I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to reading all of your posts about So You Know It’s Me.

    Brian, if you’re reading this, I can’t wait to get to know your writing this month. Thank you, both of you, for joining us here at TLP. Here’s to a great month ahead!

    Reply

  2. Alex M. Pruteanu said on 07/05/11 at 8:43 am Reply

    Wow, what a great concept by Brian. And what a great snag by Roxane’s Tiny Hardcore Press. Looking forward to reading.

    Reply

  3. Chris Newgent said on 07/05/11 at 8:59 am Reply

    Really stoked to see what you put up here in the coming month, Roxane. I love having both of these books on the Vouched table, how many people pick them up, marvel at their size, and when I tell them just how huge the words, the thoughts, the hearts inside. People love these little books.

    Reply

  4. J. A. Tyler said on 07/05/11 at 10:26 am Reply

    Really looking forward to your words Roxane. Here’s to a month of finding more out about Tiny Hardcore.

    Reply

  5. Brian Oliu said on 07/05/11 at 11:30 am Reply

    Cheers, all! I’m really excited to be a part of this & I’m always incredibly grateful to be a part of the Tiny Hardcore Press crew.

    Reply

  6. KMA Sullivan said on 07/05/11 at 12:20 pm Reply

    Congrats on your new press! I’m looking forward to reading your words and learning more about THP and the books you are putting out. Wonderful!

    Reply

  7. Dawn. said on 07/05/11 at 3:05 pm Reply

    Yay Tiny Hardcore Press! I’ve had the pleasure of reading xTx’s Normally Special, but I haven’t read Brian Oliu’s So You Know It’s Me, so I’m looking forward to this month of tiny hardcore words about a book I love and a book I’ve yet to read and hope to soon. 🙂

    Reply

  8. Jordan Blum said on 07/05/11 at 6:39 pm Reply

    Craigslist, huh? The fact that he posted pieces there makes them inherently interesting. I can’t wait to digest them.

    Reply

    Jordan Blum said on 07/05/11 at 6:39 pm

    And of course, welcome Tiny Hardcore Press!

  9. DK said on 07/06/11 at 1:30 pm Reply

    Welcome, Roxane! I really like your take on Craigslist, since the natural tendency is to make fun of/fear/look down upon the weirdos and their at-times distressing fetishes on the Internet. We forget how useful it is for helping lonely people find kindred spirits, and how everyone deserves a chance to feel less strange and alone. Even adults who dress like babies.

    Reply

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