Thursday, February 02, 2006

What I'm Reading

I just started reading Anne Michaels' Fugitive Pieces. MB recommended it to me last week as we were talking about fiction and how narratives can be constructed. And to look at it as a guide to how to work my own novel/short stories. Lately I've been really into structure and form, how to do convey subject matter through form. Perhaps too many philosophy and art classes about the relationship between form and content. I think it's quite important to think about it--I tell that to my students. How does what you're writing about feel like and how does that translate to the page? Michaels uses fragmented prose--non-linear and tangental, mirroring the way the mind moves. Writing that needs to be read and re-read. While reading through poems for the anthology, I've come across many poems that are fragmented and where language is cut and then re-strung together. That's how I would describe my poem in BAP. There are some things that we can't talk about or things where language seems to fail. How do you mirror that in a narrative? Michaels asks us how does a child speak of watching his family being killed by the Nazis. How does that child speak of hiding in the forests? How does that child speak of his memories? I suppose I'm drawn to difficult narratives, ones that challenge us to work with the text, when there is just as much unsaid as said. It's these contrasts and tensions that make writing (and life) the most interesting and rewarding.

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