Tag Archives: American writers

The Creative Spirit

“The creative spirit moves in a body or ego larger than that of any single person. Works of art are drawn from, and the bestowal nourishes, those parts of our being that are not entirely personal, parts that derive from nature, from the group and the race, from history and tradition, and from the spiritual world.”
– Lewis Hyde, The Gift (New edition. Canongate, 2007)
Visit Lewis Hyde’s website.

Kim Addonizio on fear of failure

“Fear of failure is the biggest thing that blocks creativity. It makes you give up too soon on a project, or on a writing life.”
– Kim Addonizio, about creativity interview, 2007
” … How many days
are left of my life, how much does it matter if I manage to say
one true thing about it –”
– Kim Addonizio, ‘The Numbers’
Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000)

Reading: Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs – and a selection of review and interview links

“The only really good piece of advice I have for my students is, ‘Write something you’d never show your mother or father. And you know what they say? I could never do that!'”
– Lorrie Moore, Elle interview, September 2009
“The detachment of the artist is kind of creepy. It’s kind of rude, and yet really it’s where art comes from. It’s not the same as courage. It’s closer to bad manners than to courage. […] if you’re going to be a writer, you basically have to say, ‘this is just who I am […]’. There’s a certain indefensibility about it. It’s not about loving your community and taking care of it — you’re not attached to the chamber of commerce. It’s a little unsafe. You have to be willing to have only four friends, not 11.”
– Lorrie Moore, Elle interview, September 2009
Michiko Kakutani’s review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘First Time for Taxis, Lo Mein and Loss’ in the New York Times, 27 August 2009.
Jonathan Letham’s review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘Eyes Wide Open’ in the New York Times, 27 August 2009.
Aja Gabel’s review of A Gate at the Stairs in The Virginia Quarterly Review, 27 August 2009.
New York Times excerpt from A Gate at the Stairs, 28 August 2009.
Mokoto Rich’s profile of Lorrie Moore: ‘Hate, Love, Chores: Lorrie Moore’s Midwest Chronicle’ in the New York Times, 1 September 2009.
Stephanie Zacharek’s review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘People like Lorrie Moore are the only people here’ at Salon, 1 September 2009.
Ron Charles’ review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘With Novel Twists, Moore Paints Both Darkness and an Age of Enlightenment’ in
The Washington Post, 2 September 2009.
Kelsey Keith’s ‘Mini interview with Lorrie Moore, Patron Saint of Our Bookshelf’ at Flavorwire, 2 September 2009.
Edan Lepucki’s review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me: Thoughts on Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs’ at The Millions, 3 September 2009.
The transcript of Scott Simon’s radio interview with Lorrie Moore: ‘Lorrie Moore On Writing And A ‘Very Crowded’ Life’ on NPR,
5 September 2009.
Glen Weldon’s review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘Moore’s Hallmark Mix Of Wit, Heartache in ‘Gate” on NPR, 5 September 2009.
Geeta Sharma Jensen interviews Lorrie Moore: ‘No longer an exile’ in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 5 September 2009.
Anna Mundow interviews Lorrie Moore: ‘Wry, young everywoman in 9/11 era’ in The Boston Globe, 6 September 2009.
Tom Alesia interviews Lorrie Moore: ”Gate’ expections’ at Madison.com, 6 September 2006.
Tom Nissley’s interview with Lorrie Moore at Omnivoracious,
8 September 2009.
Lisa Moore’s review of A Gate at the Stairs in The Globe and Mail,
9 September 2009.
Megan O’Grady interviews Lorrie Moore at Vogue Daily’s ‘People Are Talking About’, 10 September 2009.
Maureen Corrigan’s review of A Gate at the Stairs: ‘Wonder, Bemusement Reign in Moore’s ‘Gate” at NPR, 11 September 2009.
Amy Hanridge reviews A Gate at the Stairs at Bookslut,
September 2009.

Siri Hustvedt

“I think we all have ghosts inside us, and it’s better when they speak than when they don’t.”
– Siri Hustvedt, The Sorrows of an American (Sceptre, 2009)

Kelly Cherry’s Hazard and Prospect

The Rose
Kelly Cherry

                  A botanical lecture
It’s the cup of blood,
the dark drink lovers sip,
the secret food
It’s the pulse and elation
of girls on their birthdays,
it’s good-byes at the railroad station
It’s the murmur of rain,
the blink of daylight
in a still garden, the clink
of crystal; later, the train
pulling out, the white cloth,
apples, pears, and champagne –
good-bye! good-bye!
We’ll weep petals, and dry
our tears with thorns
A steep country springs up beyond
the window, with a sky like a pond,
a flood.  It’s a rush
of bright horror, a burning bush,
night’s heart,
the living side of the holy rood
It’s the whisper of grace in the martyrs’ wood
from Hazard and Prospect: New and Selected Poems
(Louisiana State University Press, 2007)

Poet Craig Arnold is missing in Japan

“Poet Craig Arnold has gone missing on a small volcanic island in Japan while on a creative exchange fellowship.  Craig, an experienced explorer of volcanoes, never returned to his inn after leaving alone to research the island’s active volcano for the afternoon.  The authorities are on the third day of searching for Craig, and are scouring the small island (of only 160 inhabitants) with dogs and helicopters.  If he is not found by the end of the day, the authorities will call off the search.
We need your help to insure that the search will continue.  The island and areas surrounding the volcano are small enough that an extended search will surely lead to Craig’s discovery.  We need people to contact their local congresspeople and senators to pressure the Japanese State Department to continue the search.  We also need help sparking media attention for this story, which we also hope might increase pressure on Japanese authorities to find Craig.
If any of you have ideas or know people who might be able to help, we’d appreciate hearing from you.  Please, though, take a minute to contact your senator and congressperson via telephone or even email to explain this problem and insist on their help.”
To find out how you can help, read Don Share’s full post on the Poetry Foundation’s blog.
News release from the University of Wyoming.

Bob Hicok

“I don’t think about “my” audience … I don’t know how anyone could write with a group of people in mind.  It’s difficult enough to rummage around in my own head, let alone estimate how my words will enter another life.  Writers should be good at sensing where readers will be more or less confused, angry, emotionally or intellectually involved, in evaluating the content of their writing in general terms.  But to think about readers while writing is to invite the hypothetical into the process in a way that stops me from being open to the actual, to myself.”
– Bob Hicok

Anne Lamott on writing

“Day by day, you have to give the work before you all the best stuff you have, not saving up for later projects.  If you give freely, there will always be more.”
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Burnished wood, paper, glue, ink

“Back in the 1950s in El Salvador, there was only one library in the capital:  la Biblioteca Nacional, an imposing wooden structure that took up an entire downtown block.  When stepping through the huge double doors, you were enveloped by a distinctive smell:  burnished wood, paper, glue, ink – the redolence of stories.  Stories shelved high and low along narrow aisles that creaked when you walked along them.
In la Biblioteca Nacional, I’d slip between the stacks for a visit with the characters living between the covers of Las mil y una noches.  The book was thick, gold-edged, and richly illuminated.  I can still see its magnificent illustrations, all protected by vellum as delicate as dragonfly wings.  I had to stand on tiptoe to pull the book off the shelf.  I’d plop down, right in the aisle, although the light there was dim.  Caught in the spell of stories, I would turn the pages slowly.  I never checked the book out.  I believed its proper home was the library.”

– Sandra Benitez, from ‘Fire, Wax, Smoke’

Julie Checkoway

I believe that a writer’s duty as a writer is first to him- or herself.  That point in inarguable.  A writer has to make a hard-nosed commitment to writing, or the writing won’t happen at all.  A writer has to seek out time to write and then guard that time like a pit bull.  I got married a few years ago, and committing to writing feels like getting married.  Saying yes to the whole enterprise day after day takes a willing and stubborn soul.

But a writer’s first duty as a writer and as a human being, I have also come to believe, is to nurture other writers.  A writer must be midwife at the births of other writers’ voices.  A writer must share the wisdom she or he has learned in her writer’s solitude and give that wisdom away, with kindness and generosity and gentleness.
It is, I am certain, the giving of an heirloom, an absolutely necessary behest.”
– Julie Checkoway