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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wreckage of Reason: An Anthology of Contemporary Xxperimental Prose by Women Writers  (Spuyten Duyvil) ed. Nava Renek


This is an interesting anthology that I would like to bring some attention to. I've decided that interviewing the short story writers about the particulars of their stories would be a provocative angle. I and some others will conduct these interviews. To see YouTube interviews with the editor and a few of the writers, go to Debra DiBlasi

The first interview is with Lidia Yuknavitch, author of "Daguerreotype of a Girl."

1. Some may wonder why we need an anthology for only women writers. It seems that women have more publishing opportunities today than ever before.

i'm not sure i'd agree about all these publishing opportunities for women... i would say that more opportunities have opened up for a limited KIND of women's writing--particularly safe, traditional, confessional or market- driven writing.  but not for women writers who are taking the real risks in terms of language and narrative.  those opportunities remain tiny at best.  so books like this are in fact vital.

2. Is there anything specifically "feminine", however you define that term, about "Daguerreotype of a Girl"?

no, i wouldn't use the  term "feminine" per se--at least not in the english sense.  i would, however, be ok with the french inspired ecriture feminine, which has entirely different denotative and connotative implications.  that has a lot more to do with writing through the corporeal experience of being a woman and drawing new narrative forms.

3. What is the significance of using the name of a 19th- century photographic technique in your title?

i am trying to focus attention onto the artistic production of image-making. we live in a time where image-making is seamless and anyone can do it.  i wanted to reference the difficulty of image making — the mode of production being in the hands, that kind of thing.  the book that this piece appears in is partially about how it is we "make art."

4. Menas seems to be the name of a male, Egyptian saint. Were you making an allusion with this name?

well no, because Menas in Lithuanian  means (loosely) art.  The book's title as i say is Making Art.

5. It seems that in a number of places in the story, you imply that both art and desire emerge from either violence, a trauma, or a combination of the two. Am I correct?

yes--though you'd have to open those terms up--violence and trauma--to include the radical violence and trauma of beauty, of language, of sexuality, of biology, of spirituality.

6. You use a tremendous number of similes early in the story. These sentences in particular: "It may be more true that identity is as fully formed as the cosmos, as dna, as geographic actuality in the first moments of life. The open mouth as gaping as a galaxy. The unconscious wail. The physical violence. The irrelevancy of time or space"

are you trying to ask me why i use all those phrasings?  heh.  when i use those kinds of phrasings i'm trying to dislocate meaning from grammar and sentences and relocate  it/revision it in closer proximity to bodily experience and emotional intensities.

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