From Recital Publishing – Reweirding the World


Ian Caskey

A dozen tales set from NYC to LA, Asheville to Varanasi. Voices in the Dirt is a transgressive, darkly comical collection of stories, mostly centered around young men struggling with the specter of an incomprehensible world. A banquet server seeks enlightenment by being buried alive (breathing apparatus included!). The son of a dentist confronts an unspeakable horror at an oil baron’s mansion. Karmic retribution is served after a tourist on the Ganges steals a human jawbone from a beached corpse as a ghastly souvenir. If you like wild rides without safety bars, then have a seat.


Ian Caskey is an alchemist of a purely American style, rendering pathos and transgressive energies into tales that simmer with deep humor and subtle beauty. What propels them is the vernacular, a voice indeed issued from the dirt of ‘Merica’s underground. These stories scratch itches you didn’t know you had, or tried to repress, and perhaps even afflict you with new pricks and burns to which Caskey alone might provide a soothing palm. 

—Sean Madigan Hoen, author of Songs Only You Know

Book Trailers

Voices in the Dirt – Can What You Can (excerpt)
Voices in the Dirt – To Planubis with Love (excerpt)
Voices in the Dirt – Hymn of the Bundy River (excerpt)

Hear excerpts and discussions on The Strange Recital podcast

Can What You Can
After the Rides

About the author

Ian Caskey’s stories have been published in BOMBPoached Hare, The Strange Recital, and more. He is also a fellowship alum from the Edward F. Albee Foundation. For years, Ian hosted a book club at a pizzeria in Greenwich Village, New York, dubbed The Rivoli Institute of Pizza and Literature. There he studied masterworks of fiction, miraculously not once staining a page with marinara sauce—okay, maybe once, but it was a Harry Crews book, and he would have approved. Ian’s also been a member of several other reading groups at the Center for Fiction and with other friends. He’s also a graduate of the CUNY BA program in Fiction, a student alum from The Writers Studio, and former member of several writing workshops in DUMBO, Prospect Heights, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He’s also a crude-animator, voice-over artist, documentarian, musician and video editor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and dog.



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Homage Collage

These are collages of actors, musicians, writers whose work continue to inspire me, and though they’ve passed away their spirit remains very much alive. Gratis!


Voicemails from Boulder

My friend, Alex, had been drinking full time in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We used to call him baloney turntable because there was a warped round of sun-cured baloney on his turntable. Everything in his apartment was at crawl level, the mattress, loads of to-go bags and empty pizza boxes, and pictures he’d ripped from hardcore-and-industrial music magazines to tape to the wall. His drinking progressed until his family put him on a one-way flight to a long-term rehab in Boulder, Colorado. That’s when he started calling me and leaving me these incendiary voicemails. Why I felt the need to transcribe and make audio renditions of them I still don’t know, except for finding them utterly compelling.


Gallery One


More Starlight, Please

Two men. Orson Welles and Marlon Brando. They veered off road somewhere in the Sonoran desert. South of the border. They crashed into a saguaro cactus. Over twenty feet high. The top swayed and dropped like an alien green chandelier. The rooftop buckled. The windshield cracked. Steam hissed from under the engine hood. Orson’s silver hair was askew as he stumbled out of the baby blue Coupe DeVille. A trickle of blood trailed from his eyebrow. He shouted out into the desert plain.
His toy poodle, black as the night. She was somewhere out there. She had bounded fast as a jackrabbit out the backseat window soon as they had crashed into the saguaro. Again he shouted her name, his voice booming out among the cacti and desert scrub.
Brando was outside the Coupe DeVille sizing up the damage. The saguaro, pronged with a hefty multitude of spiny arms, would take at least five men with push brooms to prod off the car. Then Brando gawked up at the starry night sky as if the galactic sprawl was from where the saguaro had crash landed. He swept both of his hands over his thick white hair as he continued to gaze up into the cosmos, the Milky Way a phantasmagoric spunk on all of outer space. He remained in awe.


Verbal Supply

I had the pleasure of reading with all these talented writers a few years back. It’s funny, the majority of what I read is no longer part of the finished story, but there was so much to this passage that I really liked and feel represents my more semi-autobiographical work. Click the link to listen: The Self Portrait. Hope you enjoy!

The story is part about a man who collects used dessert forks. Mmmm, wonder what that’s all about.