Brooks Sterritt

Writing by Brooks Sterritt appears or will appear in The Believer, Subtropics, Salt Hill, Denver Quarterly, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Chicago.

Dance Around Like Meth Monkeys: A First Date Interview With Rauan Klassnik

Favorite color:

You have such gorgeous eyes!

Favorite food:

And such a brawny chest! And such expensive furnishings!

Favorite restaurant (besides Applebees):

Yeah, I admit it, I dated Adam for a while, but he was just way too demanding, physically, I mean. Always wanting me to act my book out on him. Really it was just too exhausting.

Favorite movie:

Do you live close by??

Favorite place in the world:

How much does your mother weigh? READ MORE >

Author Spotlight / 1 Comment
March 4th, 2013 / 7:00 am

Which books (if any) have had a noticeable effect on your behavior?


On David Markson and Ben Marcus: An Interview with Ben Marcus

[Note: In 2000, Albert Mobilio of Bookforum asked Ben Marcus to interview David Markson. Though questions were sent, the interview was never completed. In 2012, after reading the questions on, I decided to redirect them (with modifications) to Marcus himself. The interview took place via email.]


David Markson (1927-2010) was born in Albany, New York, and spent most of his adult life in New York City. His novels include Springer’s Progress, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Reader’s Block, This Is Not a Novel, Vanishing Point, and The Ballad of Dingus Magee.


Ben Marcus is the author of The Age of Wire and String, among other books. His new book, a collection of stories, will be published in January of 2014.


Interviewer: Do you consider exposition to be deadly, inert territory?

Ben Marcus: There’s the infamous rule fed to beginning writers that you should show and not tell, but telling is one of the great and natural features of language—it’s part of what language was invented to do. It’s just that when telling is done badly—”she felt sad”—it’s conspicuous and embarrassing, it works only to remind us of the insufficiency of the mode. I always dislike hearing this rule, even if I understand why it’s given, but Robbe-Grillet is a perfect refutation of it. Sebald, Bernhard, Kluge, Sheila Heti. And of course Markson himself. Even the great narrative writers use exposition in masterly ways: Coetzee, Ishiguro, Eisenberg. READ MORE >

February 18th, 2013 / 3:19 pm

Lines from Shakespeare Mistaken for 1990s Hip Hop Lyrics

“I’ll teach you how to flow.” (The Tempest)

“He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce.” (King John)

“I have within my mind / A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, / Which I will practise.” (The Merchant of Venice)

“That’s an ill phrase.” (Hamlet)

“Holla, holla!” (King Lear)

Random / 36 Comments
January 29th, 2013 / 10:46 pm

“The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction” by Larry McCaffery

Titles are below; you can read the list, complete with McCaffery’s brief thoughts on each, at LitLine (excerpting from American Book Review, Volume 20, Issue 6, September/October 1999).

1. Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov, 1962.

2. Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922.

3. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon, 1973.

4. The Public Burning, Robert Coover, 1977.

5. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929.

6. Trilogy (Molloy [1953], Malone Dies [1956], The Unnamable [1957]), Samuel Beckett.

7. The Making of Americans, Gertrude Stein, 1925.

8. Nova Trilogy (The Soft Machine [1962], Nova Express [1964], The Ticket that Exploded, [1967]), William S. Burroughs.

9. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955.

10. Finnegans Wake, James Joyce, 1941.

11. Take It or Leave It, Raymond Federman, 1975.

12. Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1986.

13. Going Native, Stephen Wright, 1994. READ MORE >

Excerpts / 39 Comments
January 24th, 2013 / 3:00 am

Kim Kardashian on Writing


“I think my sense of style is evolving.”

“I don’t really have goals as far as, I want to be on a cover or something like that.”

“I play into the perception of me, but it’s not really me.”

“I am hands-on in any project that I am associated with. I just don’t want to put my face or name and lend it to a product that I’m not behind a hundred percent.”

“I always say you shouldn’t weigh yourself. I don’t even have a set of scales in my house.”

“I am fascinated by crime scene investigating. I swear, I wish I was a crime scene investigator sometimes!”

“Botox to me is not surgery.”

“I am really cautious about what I say and do.”

“I want to be a vampire. I kind of want to be evil.” READ MORE >

Craft Notes / 8 Comments
January 21st, 2013 / 3:26 am

Power Quote: Finnegans Wake



Power Quote / 12 Comments
January 6th, 2013 / 3:22 pm


25 Points: Autoportrait

by Edouard Levé
Dalkey Archive Press, 2012
120 pages / $12.95 buy from Dalkey








1. I didn’t intend to write about this book until I finished it just now.

2. Today I read a speech given by Jeffrey Eugenides in which he quoted Christopher Hitchens recalling the advice of Nadine Gordimer, i.e. “A serious person should try to write posthumously.” I think Edouard Levé succeeded in writing posthumously before his death.

3. When I first read the line “I find tips humiliating for the giver and the receiver,” I initially understood “advice” rather than “gratuity.”

4. I read the musings on mortality and suicide in Autoportrait differently than the musings of characters written by other authors who later killed themselves. I’m not sure why.

5. I experienced disappointment (with myself?) whenever a line caused me to think of Twitter. (“I have thought simultaneously: ‘I really should learn the trombone’ and ‘there’s a dead ant.'”)

6. “I am writing this book on a computer, there will never be a manuscript.”

7. The thought “Oh, you too?” occurred to me around 30 times after reading different lines in the book. (“On a trip, I fold my dirty laundry so it will take up less space.” “I rest only against my will.” “At a public urinal the presence of a neighbor delays my micturition.” “I have a fantasy involving female art students.”)

8. In my opinion, the number of pairs of pants Levé owned seems excessive. (60!)

9. It would have taken me longer to pick up this book if it had been called Self-Portrait by Edward Lee. In some way I think this is similar to the author’s fondness for Levi’s 501 Jeans.

10. Probably more than 30 times I would read the first clause of a sentence and think “This is going to be good.” (“Here is how I tell the story of Jesus:…”) READ MORE >

December 27th, 2012 / 12:08 pm