Thank you for joiningus for the exclusive HTMLGIANT webcast of the Marathon Reading of Barry Hannah’s posthumous Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories. If you were a winner of one of the giveaways from Grove/Atlantic or Square Books, please email your home address to kyle (at) kyleminor.com, to claim your prize.
This reading is courtesy of Grove/Atlantic and the Estate of Barry Hannah. The webcast was not recorded or archived.
Tonight at Midnight, I’ll be reading Long, Last, Happy in its entirety in an exclusive HTMLGIANT webcast. Thanks to the good people at Grove/Atlantic, we’ll be giving away copies of the book and exclusive Barry Hannah bookmarks and stickers manufactured by Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, Barry’s hometown bookstore. The estimated duration of the webcast will be 15-25 hours. Stop by, have a listen, leave a comment about your favorite Barry Hannah story.
Live updates (what story I’m reading, how to win a free copy of Long, Last, Happy) starting at midnight on Twitter: follow @kyle_minor
I enjoyed David Lehman’s Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man so much when I read it in April that I decided to try my luck with another of his several works of nonfiction. I almost picked up Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection, but I’ve been in a gung-ho poetry mood lately, so instead I opted for The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets, a group biography of Frank O’Hara, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch and John Ashbery. I encountered this Ashbery quip earlier today in the book, and was going to share it as a power quote, but that’s not really in the spirit of Ashbery, besides which now I want to talk about something else, too. Anyway the quote goes like this:
Recklessness is what makes experimental art beautiful, just as religions are beautiful because of the strong possibility that they are founded on nothing. We would all believe in God if we knew He existed, but would this be much fun? (p. 39)
Steve Almond, by way of elegy, offers up a reprint of a piece from his book Not That You Asked. “Heart Radical: The Strange, True Flight of Airships.”
So that’s what Airships was about for me: coming out of hiding as an emotionalist. Realizing that, amid the vanities and elisions of the Southern literary tradition, there was a deep, Christian possibility: that confession might actually cure, that love might act as a revolutionary force, that the chaos of one’s past and present, if fully experienced, might portend some glowing future.
Rumpus: Beyond the masturbation issues, Milo Burke is a real sad sack. He keeps fucking up, and he’s very aware of it, and yet he is trying. He’s not giving up on life.
Lipsyte: That’s right. I think you’ve got it. He’s got problems, but he’s definitely putting in the effort. It’s just not clear where the effort should be directed. He’s in over his head.
Also^2, Elizabeth Bastos shares the Last Book [She] Loved, which is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (WARNING: review includes spoilers).
P.S. If this actually ever happens, I’m getting out a gun, Hannah-style.
P.P.S. Here’s Barry editing himself.
If Gary Lutz does it–and he says he does–I don’t know how he does. In an interview with Michael Kimball, Lutz says, “Maybe part of the explanation of why I write the way I write has to do with the way I sometimes read. I sometimes read a book from back to front, sentence by sentence-a practice that, as one might imagine, can give a completely different disposition to a book.” I’ve been trying to read Barry Hannah’s slim marvel, “Ray,” back to front. Sentence by sentence. It won’t work. A book like “Ray” has a certain velocity, speed, force. You’d think that because most sentences here are jewels, are the sharpest of diamonds, that one could isolate them and pick them apart from the bone outward. But it’s become clear to me that Hannah’s sentences sing precisely because they are deeply embedded in a system of voice which, however fragmented the narrative structure of “Ray,” is a system, and therefore, to my mind, necessary.
December 17th, 2009 / 1:48 pm
(for previous installments in this series, click here)
WORK DISCUSSED THIS WEEK: “Two Boys” by Lorrie Moore & “Water Liars by Barry Hannah
Tuesday, 9/29 – “Two Boys.” I’m not a huge Lorrie Moore fan. I don’t dislike her, but I’ve had Birds of America taught to me several times and it just never…grabs me. I think the best experience I’ve had reading Moore was in David Gates’s lit seminar at New School when I was an MFA student. And even at that, what I mostly remember is David’s enthusiasm for “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk.” That, and a single line from the story that’s always struck me as incredibly beautiful and haunting. A blood clot discovered in a baby’s diaper is described as looking like “a tiny mouse heart packed in snow.” Beyond that, I’m content to know she’s out there in the world, making some people very happy. Good for her; good for them.
But a couple summers ago I was teaching a non-credit writing class at the Gotham Writers Workshop, and I was trying to find a way to spice things up.
Geronimo Rex, pg. 142, first full graph:
Other nights Fleece explained to me how he had declared himself–he was going to be a doctor and study how “one suffers in the meat.” “I was always a meatball,” he said. “I’m going to be the best doctor Mississippi ever produced. They’ll bring in some whore whose boyfriend has shot her in the cunt pointblank with a shotgun and alongside her her boyfriend also, who thought he commited suicide putting the last shot into his navel, and I’ll put on my mask, wave my hands with some instruments, and bring them back Romeo and Juliet.”