Ben Segal’s collection of stories Pool Party Trap Loop is now available via the Queen’s Ferry Press catalog, and wherever our books are sold!
Gary Lutz (Stories in the Worst Way) says “Pool Party Trap Loop‘s expertly miniaturized fictions of bodily havoc, of messily human collision, introduce Ben Segal as a vital and original voice.”
Ben Segal is the author of 78 Stories (No Record Press), co-author of The Wes Letters (Outpost 19), and co-editor of The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. His short fiction has been published by Tin House (Online), The Collagist, Gigantic, Puerto del Sol, and many other magazines and journals. He holds an MFA from UCSD, an MA from the European Graduate School and a BA from Hampshire College, and has been a visiting scholar or writer at the University of Pennsylvania, the Haisyakkei residency in Toride, Japan, and Mustarinda House in eastern Finland. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Ben Segal on his new collection and (somewhat) newer title:
Once, when I lived in Philadelphia and was known to do such things, I went to see some bands play in a basement of one of those big Victorian West Philly houses. It was hot and unbearably humid, like pretty much every summer night in Philadelphia, only more so. My friend Scott decided that there ought to be a pool party. Unfortunately, we didn’t know anyone with a pool, so Scott spent the whole evening walking around asking if anyone was going to the pool party after the show. The theory was, I guess, that someone would actually be going to a pool party and then Scott could be like ‘Oh awesome. Me too. What’s the address again?’ and out of thin air a lovely refreshing pool party would be conjured.
Unfortunately, there was no pool party to which we could finagle invitations. Still, I got to hear Scott say the words ‘pool party’ so many times that they burned themselves into my memory. Pool Party. Pool Party. Did you hear about the pool party? He just couldn’t stop saying it, like he was stuck on repeat. I realized that he was in a Pool Party Trap Loop. It was a palindrome of the kind I like—longish and hinged on a letter in the middle. Pool Party Trap Loop. If I couldn’t bathe in a cool pool, at least I could luxuriate in my newly discovered palindrome.
So for years I have held on to Pool Party Trap Loop. And now I finally have this book coming out and the book is largely about water and somewhat about traps and parties and certainly about oblique repetition and semi-hidden formal linguistic play. Naturally I took on Pool Party Trap Loop as the title.
I passed over many titles that probably are better titles. They are probably more evocative, more serious-seeming. They probably would sell a greater number of books. I can now imagine the books they would have been, the books that could’ve been published under the sign of Model Animals or Comfort Water. Maybe I or another can resurrect them, can append them to some future effort. This one is going to be called Pool Party Trap Loop. Say it with me: Pool Party Trap Loop. Let’s all get stuck in a Pool Party Trap Loop. Pool Party Trap Loop. Pool Party Trap Loop.
And of course if you do have a pool, let’s have a party there. I already am promising that the book launch will be held at a pool. Get your suits ready. Finally, after all these years, the pool party will be called into existence.
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