Private: Introducing Lee Klein

Lee Klein edits the venerable Eyeshot.

He does not want you to ask about the scar in the middle of his forehead, because he has already laid it out for you.

His home state of New Jersey, he points out, has a solid literary history. Asked about his own experience of growing up there, he says it “was almost exactly like a cross between The Sopranos and Happiness.” He believes close reading of Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World and careful analysis of Eyeshot should make everything about him clear.

Lee attended Oberlin and can capture in a single email message exactly what it was like to spend four years in college there. You can see the people. You can smell the smells. And you have the impression that he dashed the email off in ten minutes, between a run in the park and the next thing on his agenda.

Not only is Lee an evocative writer, he’s also the main source of the photographs that appear on Eyeshot. Plus, he does an admirable version of Prince’s “Kiss.” And he likes Will Oldham.

The guys behind Irritable Colon wrote a song about him, and you should listen to it now.

Eyeshot‘s rejection letters, all penned by Lee, are the stuff of legend. Or at least they will be. In the three volumes available online, my favorite letters just make good horse sense; for instance:

Ok. Stop a sec. You’ve submitted eight pieces in one day. And they’ve all been rejected. How does that make you feel? Maybe you should work a little harder on one or two things…. Treat what you’re doing like your children, not flies that you catch for a minute, rattle, then send off into the world.

Many of the acceptances are as candid as the rejections, offering appraisals of a work’s shortcomings, occasionally suggesting changes.

When Lee’s name surfaces online, his good looks tend to be mentioned.* But, as my grandmother used to say, pretty is as pretty does, and in person, in my experience, it’s his low-key manner that strikes you.

Beyond Eyeshot, Lee’s work appears in the Barcelona Review (see the scar story, above), Pindeldyboz, Pig Iron Malt, Reinventing the World, and elsewhere.

His posts are sure to be smart, not to mention a good time. Hold onto your hats, dear readers. Pace yourselves. Remember to drink lots of water.

*Note to the single girls in the audience: Lee is dating the very cute and accomplished Thisbe Nissen.