Kyle Minor

Kyle Minor is the author of In the Devil's Territory, a collection of short fiction. Recent stories and essays were published in The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Arts & Letters, Surreal South, Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers, and Best American Mystery Stories 2008.

1163 Audio Files – author readings, interviews, talks about writing — from Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, and from the archives of the University of Iowa Libraries. All free (but not downloadable — you have to use the library’s media player.)

Some Notes on Deformation Zone: On Translation, a Chapbook by Johannes Goransson and Joyelle McSweeney

Deformation Zone: On Translation is the latest installment in Ugly Duckling Presse’s Dossier Series, which is edited by Anna Moschovakis, and which has already distinguished itself as one of the more adventuresome and aesthetically exciting projects in American publishing. (Other titles in the series include Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl, Jon Cotner’s and Andy Fitch’s Ten Walks/Two Talks, and Laura Nash’s Brownfields.)

Deformation Zone might also be considered the latest installment in the intertwined multi-platform and multi-genre project that the careers of Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Goransson have become. Both writers seem to have long ago eschewed any of the preexisting boxes into which literary artists typically confine themselves. Their work routinely crosses the borders that perhaps artificially have separated the practice of poetry, fiction, the personal essay, the scholarly essay, the Internet post, the stage play, the translation READ MORE >

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March 26th, 2012 / 3:31 am

Laura Kasischke v. John McCrae

The rondeau is a fifteen-line poem appropriated from a French form dating to the 13th century. Here is John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields,” the most famous rondeau in English:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Note the straitjacket of the form — the AABBA AAB(refrain) AABBA(refrain) structure, and the refrain itself lifted from the first half of the first line.

Here is Laura Kasischke’s “Rondeau,” from the April 2011 issue of Poetry:

Small and panting mass
Of moonlight and dampness on a log
This glistening tumor, terrible frog
Of moonlight and dampness on a log
My small and panting mass READ MORE >

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October 19th, 2011 / 4:17 am

Some Notes on Kate Bernheimer’s Complete Tales Trilogy

Kate Bernheimer’s Complete Tales of the Gold sisters is a a trilogy of novels published over a ten year period. It is also part of a broader project, a life’s work, that includes not only the practice of reviving and revivifying the fairy tale, but also the tasks of developing a contemporary theory of the fairy tale, of identifying the ongoing subterranean influence of the fairy tale upon the work of writers not ordinarily associated with the fairy tale, and of championing and legitimizing and de-ghettoizing the fairy tale as a literary form.

Bernheimer is probably better known in her critical and editorial roles than as a writer. Her Penguin-published anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (co-edited with Carmen Gimenez-Smith), which includes fairy tales by the likes of Kelly Link, John Updike, Neil Gaiman, Lily Hoang, Michael Cunningham, Kevin Brockmeier, Joy Williams, and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, is the most prominent of these efforts. In her introduction, Bernheimer invokes a line of Nabokov’s: “All great novels are fairy tales.” Then she makes a broader claim: “all great narratives are fairy tales . . . READ MORE >

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June 19th, 2011 / 1:37 pm

A Few Notes on The Necropastoral by Joyelle McSweeney

The Necropastoral is a chapbook by Joyelle McSweeney. It proceeds in five parts. First, “Necropastoral, or, Normal Love,” an essay that sets out McSweeney’s idea of the Necropastoral by examining Jack Smith’s film Normal Love. Second, a series of poems, all titled “King Prion,” which may be read as individual poems, as a cumulative poem, or as parts of a longer poem which isn’t present in its entirety. Third, “Arcadia, or, Anachronism: A Necropastoral Effigy,” an essay or possibly a story in the form of a list which is also in the form of an effigy. Fourth, “Infernal Tributaries of the Necropastoral,” which is an acknowledgements section that we might also read as a deletion of the boundaries of the chapbook. Fifth, ten blank white pages. There are also pages between sections illustrated by black-and-white collage.

The task of the first paragraph of these notes was to describe the contents of the chapbook, but already the reviewer has had some trouble, because questions of genre and form and the place of each section have been blurred in a manner that requires the reader to rethink each how each element works and what each element is.

For starters: The chapbook form. What is a chapbook? READ MORE >

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June 18th, 2011 / 12:57 pm

Catching Up with Garth Greenwell

Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, a novella of sexual passion and transaction in Bulgaria, which calls to mind the richly textured fictions of Imre Kertesz, W.G. Sebald, and Marguerite Duras. Greenwell grew up in Kentucky, studied poetry at Harvard, and taught high school in Michigan, before settling (for now) in Bulgaria, where he teaches at the American College of Sofia. Mitko is available in bookstores, and also through Small Press Distribution, Amazon, and the publisher. We corresponded last week by Facebook messaging.

MINOR: I first became acquainted with you through your poetry, but your first book, Mitko, is a work of fiction, a novella, which reads in some ways like that variety of fiction that hews close to autobiography.

GREENWELL: Until coming to Bulgaria, all of my creative work was in verse, and in some way I don’t fully understand I think that moving to a place so free from things I recognized or understood READ MORE >

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May 29th, 2011 / 11:23 pm

Bill Knott Week: Last Postings

Best Deal on the Internet:

If you send your mailing address to, Bill Knott will send you a one-of-a-kind staplebound edition of his poems, with handmade cover art.

James Wright on Bill Knott, from Wright’s collected letters:

New York City
September 6, 1975

D. Groth,

You kind letter made me happy. Poetry is a strange adventure: at crucial times it is––it has to be a search undertaken in absolute solitude, so we often find ourselves lost in loneliness––which is quite a different thing from solitude. America is so vast a country, and people who value the life of the spirit, and try their best to live such a life, certainly need times and places of uncluttered solitude all right. But after the journey into solitude––where so many funny and weird and sometimes startlingly beautiful things can happen, whether in language or––even more strangely––in the silences between words and even within words––we come into crowds of people, and chances are they are desperately lonely. Sometimes it takes us years––years, years!–to convey to another lonely person just what it was we might have been blessed and lucky enough to discover in our solitude.

In the meantime, though, the loneliness of the spirit can be real despair. A few years ago, when I lived in St. Paul, Minn., I received unexpectedly a short note from a young poet* who was bitterly poverty striken in Chicago. READ MORE >

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May 6th, 2011 / 12:26 am