Gabriel Blackwell’s fiction rarely treads the same ground twice. He has a particular skill at finding ways to turn the margins of stories and genres into thrilling works on their own, whether that’s cosmic horror or the film Vertigo. The last year has seen the publication of two new collections of Blackwell’s short fiction: Babel and CORRECTION. Babel showcases Blackwell’s writing at its most nimble and at its most structurally innovative, while CORRECTION wrestles with contemporary life in unexpected and jarring ways. Taken together, they’re a welcome return from a talented writer. Blackwell answered a number of questions about the genesis of these stories and how they came together in these two volumes.
JON LINDSEY is the author of Body High (House of Vlad, 2021), and his work has appeared at New York Tyrant, Post Road, and Hobart. He lives in Los Angeles.
ALLIE ROWBOTTOM is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Jell-O Girls. She received her BA from New York University, her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. Her work has received scholarships, essay prizes and honorable mentions from Tin House, Inprint, the Best American Essays series, the Florida Review, The Bellingham Review, the Black Warrior Review, The Southampton Review, and Hunger Mountain. She lives in Los Angeles.
The Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai is a trickster, a jester entertaining an unhappy court, his sentences elongated to the point of absurdity, and absurdity is very much the man’s point. In The Last Wolf & Herman, published in English by New Directions Press in 2017 (the translators are George Szirtes and John Batki), the first tale is a long story/short novella, The Last Wolf (published in Hungary in 2009). It unfurls over a single sentence covering seventy pages and conjures thoughts of one of Krasznahorkai’s heroes, the Austrian master Thomas Bernhard. The philosophizing in The Last Wolf recalls not just the tar-black humor of Bernhard but also a more ebullient and insuppressible Thomas Mann. Krasznahorkai is a joker but not a quipster or aphorist.
What does it mean to create a new artistic form? Anna Heflin did just that with her new album, The Redundancy of the Angelic: An Interluding Play. She describes the work, which blends music and text, as having been inspired by “spiders, apocalyptic angels and my encounters in Los Angeles.” The result is a challenging, immersive work that draws on a host of disparate influences. We spoke about its genesis and her own multidisciplinary pursuits via email.
GARIELLE LUTZ’s newest book is Worsted (Short Flight/Long Drive Books, 2021). Previous books include The Complete Gary Lutz (Tyrant Books) and The Gotham Grammarian (Calamari Archive).
MONTGOMERY MAXTON is a poet, writer, photographer, and mixed-media artist. Born and raised in Cincinnati, his photography has appeared on NationalGeographic.com, among other outlets, and his poetry published on numerous websites and in various print anthologies. He is the author of the poetry collections This Beautiful Bizarre (2010), Champagne (2016), and New and Selected Poems: 1999-2018. He released a graphic novel, The Manhattan Man, in 2018. In 2021 he’ll release his short novel, Moonlight on the Sunshine Roses, which he wrote in 2009, as well as his fourth poetry collection, Shipwreck. He lives in New York City.
The projection of self as god works far better as a mantra of living if the reality around you is believable. If the narrative and the plot holds true, and if dreams and assumptions come to fruition, then the little world around you can be one of your own creation. Unless of course, the narrative you have created disintegrates before your very eyes, washed away by every adverse or unexpected event, the true events of life playing out incorrectly according to the preconceived story. Rachel Cusk, star auto-fictional writer of the twenty-first century, wonders at this self-as-god idea, and wars against her loss of attaining it, returns to her dissection of the limits of the self in her new novel Second Place. The story is told by the narrator, referred to as M, to a Jeffers, a therapist-like presence, or maybe a pet. M recants the story of L, a famous artist, coming to stay at her and her husband Tony’s second place, a small artist’s studio near the main residence on the secluded marshland they live on (a Marfa-Marsh if you will.)