For all who have submitted this year, I want to thank you personally. Well, as personal as one can via a blog. We increased our submissions fivefold – thanks, LuLing, for that less verbose phrasing – and we hope to continue increasing our quantity of submissions, and thus the overall competition to be included in the Owen Wister Review. I believe this philosophy will keep the journal at a consistently high level of quality and circulation.
We will be making a few final decisions over the next couple of days. Our anticipated publication date is April 1, if all goes smoothly. Please do check in periodically with the blog, if you are following at all, because I will be working to maintain interest in the site, even though we will not be reading again until September 1. We will have some witty commentary by the staffers, updates on the publication process, previews of the art work, sneak peaks at our 2011 contributors, one-sentence reviews of miscellaneous objects (both literary and not), and so on.
Come by the University of Wyoming’s table, G5, today and tomorrow. I’ve got back issues of the Owen Wister Review and information about the new issue, as well as other fun writing info at Wyoming. And I’m sleepy. Come talk to me.
University of Wyoming faculty member, Nina McConigley, has a piece up on the interweb! Check out her piece and others @ the Owls — a very engrossing blog.
It isn’t hard to find time to read every good book that comes out. Or all the bad ones I want to read anyway. I will definitely be finishing all these on my list this semester. Oh, and more.
In fact, I only haven’t read these important books which everyone else has already read because I’ve been saving them to savor over.
- Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (novel)
- Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red (verse novel)
- Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (literary uproar)
- John Updikes’ Rabbit series (novels, not about bunnies)
- Philip Roth’s American Pastoral (enough with the novels, eh?)
- John D’Agata’s Halls of Fame: Essays (essays, he says)
- Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek (beautiful essays)
- John Ashberry: Collected Poems
- Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems (work snack)
- Ted Kooser’s Delights & Shadows (place poetry)
Books I planned to read over the break:
- Rebecca Solnit: Field Guide to Getting Lost
- Solnit: Wanderlust
- WG Sebald: Rings of Saturn
- John Hersey: Hiroshima
- Joyce Carol Oats: On Boxing
- Amy Hempel: Tumble Home
What I ended up reading over break:
One Amy Hempel short story. And the whole short story went like this:
She would always sleep with her husband and with another man in the course of the same day, and then the rest of the day, for whatever was left to her of that day, she would exploit by incanting, ‘French film, French film.’
The short story is called “Housewife.”
So even though I was a failure at reading actual books (missive on ADD generation to come at another time) I did read some fascinating things online, and even if you’re not Jewish-ly inclined, I really like this blog– Guilt and Pleasure– with new work by people like Jonathan Lethem and Stephen Elliott.
Check it out at:
And one more thing. A quote a like about writing:
There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith
While this week/end has afforded some time for me to catch up on my football and cooking habits, I find myself longing for some time alone to read the books I picked up over the last few weeks drifting from Wyoming to Colorado to Missouri and back. Shifting through those top ten books of the year from the big-wigs over at the New York Times, or those little-wigs blogging about those books you aren’t quite sure of can be time consuming and a little overwhelming. I tend to reject much of what the big-wigs tell me–a sentiment I just haven’t really been able to shake completely since high school, and honestly, I find what many of the little wigs are telling me about a bunch of (typically lesser-known) authors to be frustrating. So what better way to rectify these lists that I would probably not make it through anyway than by making my own list of books that I want to read, but may not get to once the semester begins.
First, I have a list of books I have had time to read over the last three weeks. I will recommend parts of each book, because all of them have had their high moments and low moments. Some too long, some a little overly narrative, some focus too much on pop culture.
- Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West – Rebecca Solnit
- Practical Gods (poetry)- Carl Dennis
- Man on Extremely Small Island (poetry)- Jason Koo
- Seven Mile (poetry) – Phebe Davidson
- Rock Springs (fiction)- Richard Ford
Below is a shortened version of the list of books I have purchased or have been considering purchasing, either having heard about them from some list or my father, or saw gracing the shelves of any of the various bookstores I visited in December. I am in no way recommending them, only making a list of books that have interested me in some capacity.
- Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel – Gary Shytenghart
- Mr. Hogan, the Man I Knew: An LPGA Player Looks Back on an Amazing Friendship and Lessons She Learned from Golf’s Greatest Legend – Kris Tschetter
- Saul Bellow: Letters – Saul Bellow and Benjamin Taylor
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 – Mark Twain, et al.
- Shadow of Sirius – W. S. Merwin
- One With Others – C. D. Wright
- Middlesex – Jeffery Eugenides
- Where We Think It Should Go – Claire Becker
- The California Poem – Eleni Sikelianos
Who knows, these may all drive me to playing video games, although I doubt it. Reading is something like taking a trip for me: the scheduling and anticipation can be just as exciting as the actual trip. I love the possibility of ideas before they are put into action and books can be very similar at times; they become something of an idea, a possibility that can rest on my bookshelf that I will hopefully pull down soon to see how it looks in reality.
Maybe what I’m reading or want to read is of no interest to you, but I thought it might spur some feedback from the ten or thirteen people who look at the website. If you’ve got a minute, let us know what you are reading or what you want to read, whether you think you will ever get to it or not.
Danielle Pafunda is an assistant professor of gender & women’s studies and English at the University of Wyoming. She has authored such books as Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies, My Zorba, Pretty Young Thing, and the forthcoming Manhater Her poem “The Dead Girls Speak in Unison” is today’s Poem-a-Day offering from Poets.org.
Congratulations, Danielle! You can find out more about Danielle by visiting her blog, or you can just google her name.