An Edited Literary Reading Series

Past and Future

Past-Present-Future-neon-sig-2.pngSkipping right past the present, let’s talk about the future. The Disagreement returns in 2016 with six readings. Join us on January 13th at The HiFi Bar for our 3rd Anniversary when we’ll bring back readers from each of the 2015 Disagreements to present their interpretation of the theme: “It’s like being told you’re obsolete…”

We’re open to submissions for the rest of the year, and you can find all of our upcoming themes and dates here.

Now the past. We’ve been slow on the updates, but July and November we’re fantastic readings. On November 3rd, Barbara Rosenthal, Kevin Dugan, Jay Deshpande, and Erin Swan (pictured, respectively below) gave us fiction and poetry on our favorite topic: failure. The theme was “The low bar is harder to learn,” and we heard it all — the way our bodies fail us, and we them, the cracks in parent-child bonds, how we’re just not measuring up, at all.


No matter what we do, the past continues. Back on July 20th, “The bank closed, so they moved on” (with Lynn Strong, Jackie Corley, Elizabeth Clark Wessel, and Ben Purkert).




Debts, collectively

maxresdefaultIn the 1986 American comedy film The Money Pit, young lovers Shelley Long and Tom Hanks buy a million dollar mansion in distress, soon falling into distress themselves. Metaphorically, isn’t this kind of like what we all do, everyday? Nothing we have is permanent, and everything we throw money at just breaks again eventually. Collectively, aren’t we just the sum of our debts – personal, societal, emotional, financial?  How many holes are in your floor? 

Join The Disagreement on Monday, July 20th for “The bank closed, so they moved on.”

At HiFi (169 Ave A), 8pm 


Jackie Corley is the founder and publisher of Word Riot ( Her work has appeared in Redivider, Fourteen Hills, 3AM Magazine, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and in various print anthologies. A short story collection, The Suburban Swindle, was published in 2008 by the now-defunct So New Press.

A former New York Times Fellow at NYU, Ben Purkert has published poems in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Agni, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Fence and elsewhere. He currently teaches creative writing at Rutgers and is working on his first novel. He’s also the founder of CityShelf, an initiative to support indie bookstores. More at:

Elizabeth Clark Wessel is a founding editor of Argos Books & co-editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation. She is the author of three chapbooks Whither Weather (GreenTower Press, 2012), Isn’t that You Waving at You (Big Lucks Books, forthcoming in 2015) and Amsterdam (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming 2015). Her full-length collection Two Suns will be published by The Lit Pub in 2015. She lives in a farmhouse in Connecticut and translates Swedish novels for a living.

Lynn Steger Strong‘s novel, HOLD STILL, will be published by Liveright/Norton in March 2016. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Best Yet


On May 12, The Disagreement got dirty.

We were emotionally unavailable. Unshowered. Foul-Mouthed. Not Hygienic.

Thanks to our readers, pictured below: Ron Kolm, Karen Heuler, Nichole LeFebvre, Arden Levine, and Frank Weisberg

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If Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness …


Creepy Crawly Slimy Greasy Grimy Slippery Slick Wet Moist Damp Sticky Musky Stinky Smelly Putrid Rank Reeking Glistening Sopping Soaked Soggy Doused Soused Drenched Oily Funky Gooey Viscous Icky Gloppy Oozing Tacky Gummy Dirty Filthy Squalid Sullied Foul Nasty Grungy Raw Grubby Stained Vile Musty Moldy Stale Dank Smeared Infected Spoiled Rotten Festering Fetid

On May 12, The Disagreement presents “Better yet, did you need to wash it today?” Four writers and one poet will read work dealing with varieties of uncleanliness. Be sure to shower before you come.

At The Hi-Fi Bar. In the back room. We’ll start around 8.


Frank Weisberg is 29 years old and from Orange County, New York. He holds degrees in Literature and History from SUNY Purchase College and an MFA in Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco. His work has appeared in Phoebe and Sparkle + Blink. If you like his story, please do drop him a line:

Karen Heuler’s stories appear in literary, fantasy, and science fiction magazines regularly and have won various awards, including an O. Henry. Her 2014 novel, Glorious Plague, was about a strangely beautiful apocalypse, and her second story collection, The Inner City, was chosen as one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly.

Ron Kolm is a member of the Unbearables, and an editor of several of their anthologies; most recently The Unbearables Big Book of Sex! Ron is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin and the Editor of the Evergreen Review. He is the author of The Plastic Factory, Divine Comedy and, with Jim Feast, the novel Neo Phobe. His most recent collection of poems, Suburban Ambush, was published by Autonomedia last year. He’s had work in Hobo Camp ReviewHave A NYC 3. the Too Much anthology and the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Ron’s papers were purchased by the New York University library, where they’ve been catalogued in the Fales Collection as part of the Downtown Writers Group.

Arden Levine lives in Brooklyn, New York and is a reader for Epiphany.  In 2015, her work has appeared or will appear in AGNI Online, Rattle, Bodega Magazine, Emotive Fruition, and the New York City Poetry Festival.  She holds an MPA from New York University and consults to nonprofit organizations.

Nichole LeFebvre won The L Magazine’s Literary Upstart competition and was published in their 2013 Summer Fiction Issue. Her writing has also appeared in Gigantic Sequins, Necessary Fiction, and, and she was runner-up in Columbia’s 2015 nonfiction contest.

The Best Place to Cry is the Bathroom


On March 24th, The Disagreement celebrated its (belated) 2nd anniversary with “What Business Do You Have To Cry Here?”, filling the back room at HiFi and reveling late into the night. We hosted some of our favorite readers from 2014, reading poetry and prose that stared loneliness, fear, rejection, and unpleasant bodily sensations in the face.

Usually, The Disagreement participates in the process of choosing the work that will be read, but for our anniversaries, we like to be surprised. Thanks to Brittany Goss, Tobias Carroll, Miles Klee, Mary Krienke, and Lizzie Harris (all pictured below, respectively).

As far as we know, no one actually cried during the reading. They had no business to do so.

We’ll be back in May with “Better Yet, Did You Need To Wash It Today?”








It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

On March 24, The Disagreement presents five of our favorite readers from 2014, reading selections of their own choosing on the perennial theme of: “What business do you have to cry here?”

It’s our second anniversary. No crybabies.

At the Hi-Fi Bar, 169 Avenue A. We’ll start at 8.


Lizzie Harris  first collection is Stop Wanting (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014). She’s a poetry editor for Bodega Magazine.

Tobias Carroll lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York, where he is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. His writing has been published by Tin House, Underwater New York, The Paris Review Daily, Midnight Breakfast, and Joyland. His collection Transitory will be released by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2016.

Mary Krienke grew up in the Midwest and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from Columbia University’s Fiction Program and has been previously published by Midwestern Gothic, Joyland, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Best American Poetry Blog, and Underground Voices, with work forthcoming in Palooka. An associate literary agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, she represents literary fiction and creative nonfiction and is especially drawn to writing that explores the intersection of the body and the mind, the personal and the societal, the cosmological and the spiritual. She is currently writing her first novel.

Miles Klee is a reporter for the Daily Dot and author of the novel Ivyland, a finalist in the 2013 Tournament of Books. He contributes to Vanity Fair and Lapham’s Quarterly, while his short fiction has appeared in 3:AM, Unstuck, The White Review, Birkensnake, The Collagist, and Pinball.

Brittany Goss has writing published or forthcoming in Confrontation, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, The Writing Disorder, Bellingham Review, and Grasslimb Journal. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and has received support from the Vermont Studio Center. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories.

Ostrich Effect

On January 13th, The Disagreement began a new year with “I kept telling myself you’re okay; you’re not that bad” and packed the back room at The HiFi Bar with a crowd eager to hear four stories of characters facing denial and uncertainty. Alexandra Kleeman’s piece gave us a rocky relationship and dairy farms and in Allie Werner’s “Antarctica” we met an artist whose choices – mistakes, they may be called – have led to a lonely residency in a very hostile environment to draw diatoms that live in the cold water there. With prose reminiscent of Elaine Dundy, Marianne McKey’s dreamy narrator has more responsibilities to her cat than her job and more than one candidate at the bar with which to fall in love. She asked us to consider “if this is how it’s always been.” Rumaan Alaam’s “Turn Down” took us inside the mind of a frequent traveler and hotel frequenter (what happens in hotel rooms and ballrooms, might just stay there).

We’re back in March with our anniversary reading when we’ll bring back some of our favorite readers from 2014, including Brittany Goss, Tobias Carroll, Miles Klee, Dustin Luke Nelson, and more with their interpretation of the theme “What business do you have to cry here?”

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(From top to bottom, readers: Allie Werner, Rumaan Alaam, Marianne McKey, Alexandra Kleeman)

Heads In The Sand


I knew this guy who woke up one morning and put on his pants to find them tight. “Fuck!” He said. “My pants are tight. Someone shrunk them.” That night he sprayed cologne on his neck and chest and balls and went to a bluegrass show where he was looking for a woman who said she had tickets. She never showed. So he left and went to a diner to have some disco fries. In the morning he woke up and he weighed 500 pounds and didn’t get out of bed ever again.

Anyway, on January 13th, The Disagreement presents: “I kept telling myself you’re ok; you’re not that bad.”

Denial is a powerful drug, unless, like, you say it’s not.

At The Hi-Fi Bar, 169 Avenue A. The readings will start at 8pm.


Alexandra Kleeman lives and writes on the north shore of Staten Island. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Guernica, Tin House, and n+1You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, a debut novel about identity theft, snack cakes, and double Jesuses, will be published by Harper in Summer 2015.

Allie Werner lives in Brooklyn and works in the basement of a museum. Her work has appeared most recently in NANO Fiction, Corium, and Hobart.

Rumaan Alam’s stories have appeared in Crazyhorse, StoryQuarterly, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere.

Marianne Mckey is a recent graduate from The New School’s MFA program in creative writing. Her other works can be found at The Los Angeles Review, Storm Cellar, and Fiction Fix. In 2010, Marianne was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Yet Another Fucking Fiasco


We made a poster.* We failed to do much with it, but we had one nonetheless. Even still, on December 3, Word Bookstore in Greenpoint was kind enough to host Failure, one of The Disagreement’s most successful readings yet. The pieces were funny and powerful and diverse, ranging from Mary Krienke’s fierce but loopy short story about an ungainly teenage entrance into the sexual realm (stolen porno mags and inappropriate behaviors), to Nicholas Wright’s strange and witty poems, to Michael Keenan’s lovely verse about things like stumbling across lost script notes for an old movie in a Brooklyn Cemetery, to Lynn Strong’s devastating story about a man trying to keep his business alive in New Orleans, post-Katrina.

If you weren’t there, you should’ve been. This particular failure on your part can be remedied, at least in some part, by joining us on January 13 for “I keep telling myself I’m ok; you’re not that bad.” It’ll happen at The Hi-Fi Bar, starting at 8.

Dis3 Dis5 Dis2 Dis4 Dis6 dis1

From top to bottom: Mary Krienke, Nicholas Wright, Michael Keenan, and Lynn Strong

*Or more appropriately, we had it made for us

Pat Hobby’s Hobby


Fitzgerald once wrote in his notebook that ”I talk with the authority of failure — Ernest with the authority of success. We could never sit across the same table again.” This draws an interesting distinction not just for these two iconic writers, but for all of us who try to make sense out of the mess of life by stringing words into sentences.

To write is, in a sense, to fail — after all, words on a page will never adequately express the original intent of whatever it is you thought you were trying to say. But to write with “the authority of failure,” as Fitzgerald so uniquely did in the latter half of his life and career, is the mark of a true master. That is, to acknowledge the inadequacy of what you’re doing before you even do it and still accomplish it anyway, to deepen the work with this profound sense of defeat, is the literary magic trick we should all strive to learn.

On December 3, The Disagreement presents Failure, bringing you two poets and two fiction writers, each with their own take on life and thwartedness. We’ll hear about viking ships and all the places we didn’t go, about New Orleans after Katrina, about awkward adolescent gropings, and about the human body being burned.

It’s fall, a time to begin counting your regrets for the year, to add up all the things not accomplished. Come drown some of that contrition with us.

At Word Books, 126 Franklin in Greenpoint. We’ll start at 6:30.


Mary Krienke grew up in the Midwest and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from Columbia University’s Fiction Program and has been previously published by Midwestern Gothic, Joyland, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Best American Poetry Blog, and Underground Voices, with work forthcoming in Palooka. An associate literary agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, she represents literary fiction and creative nonfiction and is especially drawn to writing that explores the intersection of the body and the mind, the personal and the societal, the cosmological and the spiritual. She is currently writing her first novel.

Nicholas Wright obtained his MFA from Columbia University and has previously been published in Catch-Up Magazine, Print Oriented Bastards, and Apogee Journal. He is a grade-school teacher in NYC where he teaches Language Arts and Creative Writing. He’s been told that his spirit animal is a mountain goat. He has accepted this association. Nicholas lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Michael Keenan’s first book of poems, “Translations On Waking In An Italian Cemetery,” was released by A-Minor Press in 2014. His writing has appeared in Poetry International, the PEN Poetry Series, Fence and Alice Blue Review, among others. He currently talks to people at Columbia University and the New School.

Lynn Strong lives in Florida with her husband, their daughters, and their dog. She’s working on a novel set in New Orleans.