Ingrid Winterbach in Little Star

This week in Little Star Weekly we return to the rich, various, demanding work of South African novelist Ingrid Winterbach, published on these shores by the intrepid Open Letter Books. Her recent novel The Road of Excess, so far appearing only in South Africa, returns to many of her preoccupations: tangled relations in adult families, the dark attraction of dissolution, envy and misanthropy, the braided energies of our emotions and our intellect.  Within these themes Winterbach’s work shows startling range: she follows a band of nomads skirting the Boer War in To Hell With Cronje, she inhabits the mind of a melancholy lexicographer in The Book of Happenstance, and in The Elusive Moth, she turns the magnifying glass on the erotic and morphological adventures of a wandering entomologist. Winterbach’s work often features headstrong, independent women bridling against straightened expectations and following contradictory internal directives; her unsentimental, sometimes brutal take on sexual impulse—a source of pleasure, relief, power—and family broadens the language of fictional representation deep into women’s experience. But in The Road of Excess, the protagonists are both men: a pair of brothers who wrestle with a conflicted family legacy and an affinity for absolute experience in, respectively, art and addiction.  This week we conclude the third of three parts from The Road of Excess in Little Star Weekly.  Here is a sampling of Little Star’s Ingrid Winterbach.

From The Book of Happenstance, Little Star #2 (2011) (available as PDF)
From To Hell with Cronje
From The Elusive Moth
From The Road of Excess

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Finally! Selected Poems of Melissa Green

It’s a celebratory week for Little Star because at long last the work of our beloved contributing editor Melissa Green becomes available in a new selected poems from Boston’s adventurous Arrowsmith Press. Melissa’s Squanicook Eclogues (read the title poem here) appeared to rapturous acclaim in 1987 but her subsequent work, like its reclusive author, has been nearly hidden from view. Hence most readers now have an extraordinary opportunity to take in whole poetic career in a single gulp. We urge you to buy yourself a copy of her book, Magpiety, and offer this week in Little Star Weekly three poems from its most recent stage, “The Marsh Poems.”

Here’s a sampling of Melissa’s work from the archives of Little Star:

Melissa Green, artist
Melissa Green Remembers Walcott and Brodsky
Flight Into Egypt,” by Joseph Brodsky, translated by Melissa Green
“Phi” (poem)
“On Earth” (poem)
“In Francesco’s del Cairo’s Herodias with the Head of St. John” (poem), in our current print issue
6 Maudlin Poems, in Little Star #3 (2012)
“Taxonomy (poem), in Little Star #2 (2011)
“Akeldama: Death of the Abbess” (poem), in Little Star #1 (2010)

And elsewhere:

Color Is the Suffering of Light: A Memoir
“Daphne in Mourning” (poem)
“Animal Kingdom” (poem)
Melissa Green in Agni
from The Linen Way: A Memoir of a life among poets and alone
Ann Kjellberg on Melissa Green
Video: Tribute to Melissa Green, with Derek Walcott, Rosanna Warren, David Ferry, Fanny Howe, Frank Bidart, Robert Pinsky, more
“Walcott Introduces the author of Magpiety,” St. Lucia Star, November 1, 2015

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Three Little Star authors: James Stotts, Derek Walcott, Melissa Green, St. Lucia, November 2015

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Tim Parks reinvents literary criticism

At Little Star we consider Tim Parks one of the central writers of the age. His novels—Europa, for instance, and Destiny and Cleaver—forge new literary constructions around narrators who are, on the one hand, intelligent and controlling and, on the other, unstable, revelatory, and self-discovering. His criticism for The New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books has been vital to defining a vigorous modernist aesthetic of the present. His occasional writings for the New York Review blog have reinvigorated (with another NYRB blog regular, Charles Simic) the venerable European feuilleton tradition, with its voice of a literary wanderer, opining with deceptive lightness on the matters of the day. And his ground-breaking memoir Teach Us To Sit Still carried literary reflection on the ancient mind-body problem into startling interior territory.

We’ve been fortunate to publish lots of his work in Little Star (see below) and hope we’ll do more, but for now our attention is mobilized by his highly original, stealthily appearing new book, The Novel: A Survivor Skill.  In it he tosses aside the authorial armor once belittled by new critics as the intentional and affective fallacies—the argument that literary meanings transcend human relations between author and reader.  In The Novel Parks defiantly writes that literature absolutely proceeds from specific human beings and is received by other human beings who respond, not only with our critical intelligence but also with emotions, fears, prejudices, needs, yearnings, fantasies, intuitions, affinities. His analysis addresses many of the writers central to our time from the question of how we respond to them as a vital human relation.

We feature a dip into The Novel in Little Star Weekly this week. Its introduction, in which we imagine real-life encounters with Joyce, Dickens, Hardy, and Lawrence, appeared on The New Yorker web site last month.

And if this leaves you wanting more, here is other work by Tim Parks from Little Star, some of which we’ll open up as a weekly special as the week unfolds.

From Teach Us To Sit Still (2010):
Sitting Still I: Paradoxical Reflection
Sitting Still II: The Skeptic Meditates
About Teach Us To Sit Still

From Sex is Forbidden (novel)(2012)
In the Dasgupta Institute, Part I
In the Dasgupta Institute, Part II
In the Dasgupta Institute, Part III

From Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan (2013)
Italian Ways, Part I
Italian Ways, Part II
Italian Ways, Part III

“The Day Is Coming,” Part I (story)(2014)
“The Day Is Coming,” Part II
“The Day Is Coming,” Part III

“Brotherly Love” and “Mrs. P” (linked stories) (Little Star #6, 2015)
Read two more stories in the series in The New Yorker: “Vespa” and “Reverand

From The Novel: A Survival Skill (2015)
The Novel As Survival Skill

 

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Welcome new Little Star Weekly curator, Jason Stopa!

Our digital version Little Star Weekly would not be itself without the weekly work of art chosen for us by our roving band of Little Star Gallerists.  We are thrilled to welcome a new one on board, painter Jason Stopa.

Jason currently has pieces in the show “The New New” at the Diane Rosenstein Gallery in Los Angeles, through November 29, and “Any Given Sunday” at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center, through December 8. Last Spring he has a solo exhibition at the Hionas Gallery.  He is also a writer, editor, curator, and teacher at Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts. Read a recent interview with him here in Hyperallergic. Watch for Jason’s covers every week on Little Star Weekly.

(Past Little Star Gallery curators have included Mary Weatherford, John Zinsser, and Chris Sharpe.)

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(1) Installation view, “The New New,” Diane Rosenstein Gallery
(2) Jason Stopa, Red Cup, Ice (2014)

 

 

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One-Day Special! All our April Bernard and Anakana Schofield

In honor of their appearance at our Little Star Cabaret tonight, we’re opening up all the work we’ve run in Little Star Weekly by guests Anakana Schofield and April Bernard.

April Bernard
• “Found Sonnet: Samuel Johnson”
from Miss Filler
• “The Nockamixon Road” (Parts One, Two, and Three)
• “The Fixed Idea” (Parts One, Two, and Three)

Anakana Schofield
• from Martin John, Parts One and Two (Three to come tomorrow)
• “Before Arbour Hill”
• from Malarky

Or you can read their stories in our print issues of 2011, 2013, and 2014!

Enjoy! And please come and join us.

Have a look also at the conclusion this week of our Poets’ Correspondence with Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Glyn Maxwell.

 

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A Poets’ Correspondence (VI): Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Glyn Maxwell

This summer, in our digital edition Little Star Weekly, we inaugurated an ongoing series, a correspondence on poetic means in the English of here and there (England and the UK) by Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Glyn Maxwell

Read Glyn’s first installment in Little Star Weekly here  and the ensuing correspondence here in our diary.

Here is letter #6.  

Dear Glyn,

Damn. What an ending! What an exit! What’s left to say? What’s left to say now that Glyn’s gone? I feel suddenly like the ditched voice left to pick up the pieces at the very end of “Lycidas”: “Thus sang Glyn Maxwell to the Oaks and rills / While the still morn went out with Sandals gray …” You are one smooth swain, my friend.

I’m struck by how our chat reveals how that which to an ear would seem the root of our differences, our respective “accented” voices, is actually the hearth from where our devotion to poetry takes root: the sonic sanctity of a poem. I live by the syllable; I can’t help it. Poets find other poets, truly find them, in the pit of the poet’s music. So why then this continual “You’re from there, I’m from here; let’s call the whole thing off”? We’ve seen how rock, pop, the blues, ska, and hip-hop have each grown in America and Great Britain tethered to the same taproot. And before that the border ballads became American ballads. The Atlantic couldn’t shout them down. When you live with poems syllable by syllable you start to hear how our multifoliate language mocks the meager differences between the poetry of America and the poetry of Great Britain, gent lung you into a greater republic … but when we gaze across the Atlantic in search of poetry we tend to see Scylla and Charybdis. We chose the path that leave us to deal with the fewest casualties. Bearable losses. And then we wish we could remember the name of that poet from Plymouth or that poet from Providence; that poet from Essex or that poet from Austin. There’s no cure for this but to be aware of it; to pass by Scylla when going in one direction and then Charybdis when going in the other. You still lose some people on the way and seem ever the fool for the trip. But there’s a feeling far greater than discovery or confirmation in searching for your kin across the water: and that’s finding in the unfamiliar the unexpectedly familiar; the fresh woods instead of Fresh Fields and, despite disaster after disasters, new pastures.

Rowan

Read the rest of the correspondence here.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips’ second book of poems, Heaven, appears this month. Glyn Maxwell’s most recent book is Pluto, and his Collected Poems came out in 2011.

 

 

 

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Welcome Anakana Schofield!

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This week we are thrilled to welcome from the frosty north Vancouverian Anakana Schofield, who comes bearing her soon-to-be-published second novel, Martin John.  We are featuring it this week in Little Star Weekly (here and here) and in the second of our accidentally annual series of Little Star Cabarets, with April Bernard, who will read from a forthcoming book of poems that we also are sampling lavishly in our coming 2017 print issue. Anakana and April will be appearing with us at the atmospherically shadowy Village haunt, Caffe Vivaldi, with food and drink and chat.

Little Star Writers’ Cabaret
With April Bernard and Anakana Schofield
Caffe Vivaldi
Thursday, September 24, 6:30 PM
32 Jones Street, Greenwich Village

We first encountered Anakana Schofield when the whole staff of The Dalkey Archive urged us to meet her publisher, the erudite Dan Wells, of the stellar Canadian independent, Biblioasis.  He passed a copy of her first book Malarky to us with the gleaming eyes of a convert. We were so enraptured we published a swathe of it immediately, and then included her story “Before Arbour Hill” in Little Star #4.

As an Irish lilt and dramatic impersonation are among the book’s wonders, we encourage you to come hear her read it herself!

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Padgett Powell: Thursday Night at Housing Works

FC9781936787319Little Star has been publishing Padgett Powell since our very first issue, which included quite a bit of what became his 2012 novel, You & Me. Then in 2012 we published his story “The New World,” which found its way into his new book of stories, out this week, Cries for Help: Various. We plucked another bit of Cries for Help for our digital weekly last week.

Cries for Help is the first offering of the freshly minted publishing house Catapult, love child of Black Balloon and Electric Literature. The book was acquired for Catapult by Pat Strachan, the pioneering editor who brought Powell’s first book, Edisto, to Farrar, Straus, along with first books by Marilynne Robinson, Lydia Davis, and James Kelman.* Although only bearing hints of the craziness to come, Edisto ventures early into the trademark Powellian territory of wicked formal invention mapped out in a hilarious, earth-bound demotic. (His 2009 novel, The Interrogative Mood, was written all in questions.)

See how he does it when he reads and chats at Housing Works on Thursday.

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*Well, Kelman’s first book in the US, and Davis’s first with a non-tiny publisher, but, seriously, Housekeeping!

 

 

 

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Joy Williams: A New Book and a Little Star Weekly Special

FC9781101874899Today Knopf issues Joy Williams’ first book of stories in ten years, and for the occasion we have opened up all her work for Little Star as our weekly special!

 

 

 

Argos,” the afterlife of Odysseus’s faithful dog, reimagined

Mission,” nine days, or is it forever, behind bars, for desecrating the dead after a few manhattans

Some Stories About God,” just like the lady says

joyAnd by the way, we have Denis Johnson in our digital version Little Star Weekly this week, and she reviewed his last book brilliantly for The New York Times Book Review.

She’ll be reading in Seattle at the Elliot Bay Book Company on September 19, and conversing in New York at McNally Jackson on September 22, and she was profiled last Sunday in the New York Times Magazine Section.

So enjoy a taste of Joy Williams’s inimitably metaphysical puzzlement and then go out and get yourself her book.

Writers:

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Glyn Maxwell on the stage, this summer

Enjoying our poets’ correspondence between Glyn Maxwell and Rowan Ricardo Phillips? Keep it going by buying Rowan’s new book, or taking a dip into Glyn’s work for the stage: Glyn is not only a prolific writer of plays, libretti, and screenplays, but also one of our foremost advocates for verse drama.

“Cyrano de Bergerac,” by Edmond Rostand (adaptation), Grosvenor Park Theatre, Chester, Summer, 2013
• Hear it online at BBC Radio 4 through July 15, 2015571f96275portraitnose
• Guardian review, July 21, 2013
• Read some in Little Star Weekly
• Buy the script (Other plays here)

“Wind in the Willows,” by Kenneth Grahame (adaptation)
Grosvenor Park Theatre, Chester, July 3–August 23, 2015
• Buy the script (Other plays here)

“Time for One More Question,” by Glyn Maxwell (radio play)
A comedy-drama recorded on location at the Hay Festival, with Glyn Maxwell, Ian McMillan, and Simon Armitage as themselves, Hay-on-Wye, UK, BBC Radio 4, May 2015

Coming soon: “The Gambler,” by Fyodor Dostoevsky (radio play)
Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, New York City, January 2016

“Nothing,” an opera composed by David Bruce, from the novel by Janne Teller (libretto)
Glyndenbourne and Royal Opera House, February 2016

Glyn Maxwell’s most recent book of poems is Pluto, and his Collected Poems came out in 2011. He is also the author of On Poetry, a guide to verse, published in the US in 2013.

Writers:

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