Books by Peter Carlaftes

Life in the Past Lane: Poems

“These poems take the reader running at a fast clip. Much better than same old descriptions of the down & out.” —Charles Plymell, author, Benzedrine Highway

In his impressive third volume of poetry, Peter Carlaftes digs into the beauty—and lunacy—of contemporary pop culture and its tendency to masque and disrupt the sustainability not just of the planet, but human nature itself, from love and ecstasy to anger and grief. The poems in Life in the Past Lane are both daring and discreet, ranging from full frontal assaults on political and religious cults to tender, discerning, intimate studies of the challenges of self-faith, relationships and maintaining quiet equilibrium in the noisy space of modern life. Risk-taking and endlessly innovative, Life in the Past Lane offers poems that dare to ask questions to which there is no answer, and to answer the unasked. It looks at the past clear-eyed, without reverence, and studies the place in the road where we are now, weaving cultural and personal memory with the currency that too-often ignores how we arrived. This extraordinary collection, relentlessly accessible, surprises with the depth of poems and the clarity of the thoughts, concepts and excution that forged them.

LIFE IN THE PAST LANE: Poems by Peter Carlaftes
978-1-953103-40-6 | 128 Pages | TRP-107 | $16.00
Pub Date: 09/26/23

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The Faking of the President

The Faking of the President is a wild, rollicking ride through the corridors of power both past and present. These stories are dark, humorous and thoughtful; they take the presidency and its environs and turn it into a fun house of noirish story-telling. Get this book and read it during the presidential campaign to help keep your head on straight.” —T. J. English, New York Times Best Selling author of Havana Nocturne and The Westies

What would the White House be like if U.S. Presidents of the past were not restricted by the time-honored hallmarks and traditional behavior of the office, leaving them free to do whatever they wanted, anytime and anywhere?

THE FAKING OF THE PRESIDENT: Nineteen Stories of White House Noir pulls back the curtain on the “new norm” for America’s highest office, with a collection of bizarre new stories by a diverse group of renowned authors that take readers across the chasm of reality into an alternate universe—where Nixon takes a wacky psychedelic trip with Elvis Presley; where a time-traveling renegade targets members of the George Bush administration with disastrous results; where a spy seizes a sudden opportunity for power after Woodrow Wilson’s stroke. The stories are outlandish—but when it comes to the White House of today—strange behavior and kinky, zany antics are no longer implausible.

Spinning new tales of White House noir, these yarns confirm that absolute power—minus checks and balances—absolutely corrupts. THE FAKING OF THE PRESIDENT acknowledges the wacko state of politics today, and openly wonders how far down the rabbit hole the American presidency can go.

The line-up of award-winning authors includes Eric Beetner, Peter Carlaftes, Christopher ChambersSarah M. Chen, Angel Luis Colon, S. A. Cosby, Nikki Dolson, Mary Anna Evans, Kate Flora, Adam Lance Garcia, Danny Gardner, Alison Gaylin, Greg Herren, Gary Phillips, Travis Richardson, S. J. Rozan, Alex Segura, Abby Vandiver, and Erica Wright.

In an era where the bar for what is acceptable has shifted beyond what the founding fathers ever imagined, THE FAKING OF THE PRESIDENT is a highly recommended unique creative act of resistance, and a must-have for fans of politics, noir, and speculative fiction.

THE FAKING OF THE PRESIDENT: Twenty Tales of White House Noir, Edited by Peter Carlaftes;
978-1-941110-89-8 (ebook: 978-1-941110-90-4); 360 pages; $16; Trade Paper Original; Pub Date: April 21, 2020


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I Fold with the Hand I Was Dealt

i fold with the hand i was dealt is the second book of poems from the bare-fisted poet Peter Carlaftes, and this insightful collection takes the reader on a thoroughly re-imagined joyride from birth through death via past and beyond. Carlaftes offers a brilliant poetic voice, filled with drop-dead humor, searing insight and resilient originality, even while resonating with overtones of Bukowski, Baudelaire and Vonnegut. A poem from the collection, “The Next to Last Wave,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Carlaftes is an NYC playwright, poet, and performer; author of 12 plays, including a noir treatment of Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, and his own celebrity rehab center spoof, Spin-Dry. i fold with the hand i was dealt is his fourth book (the others being — A Year on Facebook (humor), Drunkyard Dog (poetry) and Triumph for Rent (3 plays), all on Three Rooms Press). He is co-founder and editor of Three Rooms Press; their most recent books include Maintenant 6: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art; Have a NYC: New York Short Stories; and Mike Watt: On and Off Bass, a collection of photos and distilled tour diaries from the great punk rock bass player.

I FOLD WITH THE HAND I WAS DEALT, poems by Peter Carlaftes; 6″ x 9″ Trade Perfect Bound; color cover with b/w interior; 102 pages; ISBN 978-0-988400-82-5  (TRP-023); $15.00, November 2012

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A Year on Facebook

Groucho Marx meets Kurt Vonnegut and they become BFFs in this irreverent, hilarious new book.

A Year on Facebook is a comical trajectory through modern American life via daily updates from the insightful and irreverent pontiff of pun—Peter Carlaftes. In this day of the tell-all journal, Carlaftes’s book, exposing the foibles of our seemingly civilized sensibility, tells both how — and like — it is. Iconic from conception, A Year on Facebook is a one of a kind literary experience that raises the bar for the idealist in us all. Through the hysterical daily Facebook status updates of the author— who became a viral Jonathan Swift through his irreverent social, political and just plain “out-there” observations—A Year on Facebook provides an hilarious book to thumb through at random or read page-by-ROTFL-page. It’s packed with side-splitting illustrations, and “interactive” pages that provide a multimedia experience for the reader in combination with the book’s namesake website.

As a book that tracks the early years of social media, when posts were irreverent, fun and often non-political, this is a valuable document not only for its brilliant humor, but also for a look back at what could have been, had social media been driven more by wit than trolls.

A Year on Facebook by Peter Carlaftes, Three Rooms Press
ISBN: 978-0-9840700-3-9, $13.95, 6” x 9”, Territory: WE, 184 Pages,  January 2010, Trade Paper, Humor/Pop Culture/Social Networking

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Teatrophy: Three More Plays

In TEATROPHY: THREE MORE PLAYS, critically-acclaimed playwright/author/poet Peter Carlaftes offers a trio of brilliant and intense modern plays that inspire on both page and stage. In “Anti,” Carlaftes explores a frightening future—in which government surveillance and data mining is the norm—through the eyes of a theater director on the verge of giving up hope. The chilling psycho-sexual drama “Closure” examines the relationship between a woman whose sister was abused a child, and the rapist-murderer that stalks her outside her therapist’s office. In the tender and humorous “Inside Straight,” characters must confront their lovers’ sudden shift in sexual orientation as a gay man and a lesbian woman discover they are attracted to each other. The plays share a passion for beautifully drawn, full characters and powerful moments that force them to expose the true identity they work so hard to hide. As the SF Weekly raves, “As with Strindberg, Beckett or even Sartre, Carlaftes’ message seems to be something we intuit, like music.”


High Praise for TEATROPHY

“The three joyously absurd plays in Peter Carlaftes’ new collection Teatrophy won’t worry Eugene O’Neill, but Ionesco and Adamov might raise an eyebrow or two. And Kerouac will surely smile.” —Israel Horovitz, playwright (The Indian Takes the Bronx), director (My Old Lady)

“If Dr. Moreau fused the ungovernable souls of Beckett and Genet, he’d have created ?Peter Carlaftes. These plays read like bomb instructions to blow up the status quo.” —Michael Puzzo, playwright (The Dirty Talk, Lyric is Waiting)

“Challenging and cerebral work . . . A great addition to any collection.” —John Clancy, playwright, League of Independent Theater

“In each play characters speak in a fast-talking, spare language as if the sky is about to fall and flatten them at any moment. And everybody seems to be in a rush knowing that they have a damn good chance to be a goner. Spiked with dark humor, wise-cracks and moments of deep caring it’s hard not to appreciate and actually relish the sense of dread in every scene in all three plays.” —Richard Vetere, playwright (Caravaggio)

Imagine a drunken Samuel Beckett staging Escape from New York as a futuristic romp among the cultural ruins.” —SF Weekly

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Triumph for Rent: 3 Plays

Three inventive and thoroughly enjoyable dramas by a new master of modern stagecraft. “As with STRINDBERG, BECKETT, or even SARTRE, PETER CARLAFTES’ message seems to be something we intuit . . . like music.” —SF Weekly

Playwright Peter Carlaftes presents three compelling, funny and biting dramas in TRIUMPH FOR RENT: Three Plays (Three Rooms Press, 184 pages, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-9840700-6-0). The plays include SPIN-DRY: An hilarious wild ride through a 90s rehab center for celebrities; HUNGER: a heartfelt drama—inspired by the Knut Hamsun novel—about a starving writer trying to survive and keep his integrity alive as the borders blur between fantasy and reality in a world of rocker chicks, hookers and convicts; and FRONTIER-A GO-GO, a tragi-comedy in which a man living on a man living on the Nebraska plains circa 1872 uses a time machine to summon a hippie drifter and a budding feminist who have just conceived a daughter at a rock concert in 1972, and then summons the daughter, aged 25, from her 1997 date with a cybergeek.

Peter Carlaftes began his theatrical career on the playgrounds of the Bronx, and after seeing the world, branched out to Manhattan. Nine of his plays have been staged, to critical acclaim, among them Anity, Frontier A-Go-Go, Spin-Dry and Closure. He also created and staged a deconstruction of Knut Hamsun’s classic novel Hunger, and created and starred in a one-man rendition of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. He has recently written and performed his solo work, Lenny Bruce: Dead & Well, and starred in numerous Off-Broadway plays. In addition to his theatrical career, Carlaftes is the author of two other books on Three Rooms Press: A Year on Facebook (humor), and Drunkyard Dog (poetry).

High Praise for Triumph for Rent

“Cries out Ultramodern—and that it delivers with unflinching scrutiny. . .” —Bay Guardian

“A comedy of eros! . . . A restive heart knows no logic or permanence.” —Guardian

“As with Strindberg, Beckett or even Sartre, Carlaftes’ message seems to be something we intuit, like music. —The Weekly

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Drunkyard Dog

DrunkYard Dog by Peter Carlaftes is a collection by a new poetic master who has honed his intense, insightful and inspiring poetic voice on the playgrounds of the Bronx, and, later—the bars of Manhattan. Tales of bartender blues and bliss, injected with hope in a mileau of madness. Lush portraits of urban personas like Goodtime Charlie, the Battling Brothers, Ronnie the Cop and  Uncle Willie. Cinematic swirls of downtown denizens  in stark raving shades of shot-infused clarity. A poetic pub crawl that picks up the pieces of a dismantled present and puts them back together in a brand new cocktail. Carlaftes offers a brilliant poetic voice, filled with drop-dead humor, searing insight and resilient originality, even while resonating with overtones of Bukowski, Baudelaire and Bogart. 

DRUNKYARD DOG, poems by Peter Carlaftes; 6″ x 9″ Trade Perfect Bound; color cover with b/w interior; 158 pages; ISBN 978-0-984070-04-6  (TRP-007); $15.00, May 2010

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About Peter Carlaftes

Peter Carlaftes

PETER CARLAFTES is a New York-based performance artist, playwright, fiction author, actor, and poet. He is the author of twelve plays, including a noir treatment of Knut Hamsun’s “Hunger” and his original celebrity rehab center spoof, “Spin-Dry.” He has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway productions, including his comic solo performance piece, “Lenny Bruce: Dead & Well,” as well as “Barefoot in the Park” and Stephen Adly Guirgis’  “Den of Thieves.” Carlaftes books include A YEAR ON FACEBOOK (humor), DRUNKYARD DOG and I FOLD WITH THE HAND I WAS DEALT (poetry), TRIUMPH FOR RENT (3 Plays) and TEATROPHY (3 More Plays). He is co-editor of the annual Dada writing and art journal, MAINTENANT and the annual New York-based short story collection, HAVE A NYC. He is co-director of Three Rooms Press, a fierce, New York-based independent publisher inspired by Dada, punk and passion. He lives in New York City.