May 13th, 2014 / 3:00 pm
Author News

Yuriy Tarnawsky visits Chicago

Yuriy, peering through the doorway to Chicago

Yuriy, peering through the doorway to Chicago

This Friday and Saturday, Yuriy Tarnawsky will be reading in Chicago to celebrate the completion of his recent trilogy, The Placebo Effect.

On Friday, he will be reading at Quimby’s Bookstore (1854 W. North Ave.) with Eckhard Gerdes.

On Saturday, he will be reading at 567 Studio & Gallery (1800 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with Eckhard, Jane L. Carman, and myself.

Both readings start at 7pm, and are free and open to the public. A reception will follow the Saturday reading.

Here’s a recent interview with Yuriy regarding The Placebo Effect Trilogy, conducted by Tantra Bensko. And here’s an older interview that I conducted with Yuriy, about his life and work in general.

Since the 1950s, Yuriy Tarnawsky has published more than twenty books of fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism in English and Ukrainian. His most recent work has appeared via FC2, Jaded Ibis Press, and JEF Books. His Three Blondes and Death (FC2, 1993) remains, IMHO, one of the best English-language novels of the past thirty years—indeed, I think it the best book that FC2 has published. (You can read some of it here.)

Hope to see you there!

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  1. Richard Grayson

      He is a really good writer.

  2. Josh Coblentz

      Awesome. Looking forward to this.

  3. deadgod

      This is a principle I follow to this day: “If it doesn’t bring you pleasure, don’t write it!”

      I rigorously contrast entertainment with art. […] I feel that pain, in all its multifarious manifestations, is the most essential part of life, [and] I frequently make it the central element in my writing[.]

      Modus Tollens sounds like a really interesting book of poems.

  4. A D Jameson

      Regarding those two quotes, have you seen the epigraph for Three Blondes?

      Why write about nothing but misery, and misery, and the
      imperfect nature of this life, digging up characters from God knows
      where, from the remotest corners of the world? But what can you do if
      this is what the author is like, if, suffering from the malady of his
      own imperfection, he can write about nothing but misery and misery, and
      the imperfect nature of this life, digging up characters from God knows
      where, form the remotest corners of the world. —N. Gogol

      & Modus Tollens is indeed really interesting.

  5. deadgod

      Yes, that Gogol fragment is quoted by Tarnawsky in the (part of the) interview you did with him and linked to in this blogicle.

      It’s interesting that “misery” is the part or aspect or mode of life that Tarnawsky identifies with ‘art’ as opposed to ‘entertainment’, but “pleasure” is the goal and onliest criterion of his own making of art. How would Tarnawsky tell a story that thematized what he gets or feels in writing it? if a Tarnawsky character were devoted to doing something for pleasure in the way Tarnawsky is devoted to writing (partly) for the pleasure to him of writing? or if the engineering of the story resulted in the reader something like the “pleasure” Tarnawsky felt in writing it?

      The mix of “misery” and “pleasure” in art is an old question: what’s up with us being entertained by tragedy and futility?

  6. A D Jameson

      In Three Blondes, the character I most empathize with is Chemnitz, who is largely concerned with pleasure. I always picture a woman like Elaine in Seinfeld, hair color aside. Or Anne in Why I Hate Saturn (hair color again aside). (Why, yes, I am a child of the 90s. Why do you ask?)

      I can’t speak for Yuriy, but I think I can understand how the making of art can be pleasurable, while life itself is miserable. (I’m reminded here of something Walter Benn Michaels once said—that he was interested in art being perfect precisely because real life couldn’t be.)

      I will say that Yuriy is one of the most experimental writers I’ve met, in the absolute best sense of the term. He’s a real explorer, driven to discover new things that writing can do. And knowing writers like Yuriy has helped me realize that I’m less interested in experimental writing than I once thought I was. It’s like Brian Eno once said of John Cage: some people are polar explorers, others like to live in the south of France.

  7. A D Jameson

      Thanks for coming out, Josh! It was good to meet you. Keep in touch!

  8. Josh Coblentz

      Yeah, great meeting you too. Will do.