Henry Hoke’s new novel The Groundhog Forever tells the story of two film students who find themselves stuck in a time loop on a day when they attend a screening of Groundhog Day. Out of that high concept comes a thoughtful, unpredictable book about life in early-2000s NYC, identity, and art. Of personal interest is the fact that Hoke and I are both graduates of NYU’s film program, and reading this book brought back a host of memories. In advance of Hoke’s book launch at Community Bookstore this evening, we chatted about film school and all things literary.
Reading Quan Barry’s We Ride Upon Sticks, it’s easy to lose yourself in the novel’s genius concept: a group of high school field hockey players in 1980s Massachusetts become obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials and begin to explore witchcraft in their own way. But there’s a lot more going on here, including Barry’s impressive use of a collective voice and a structure that accentuates the novel’s themes even more. The result is a novel that encompasses a huge swath of life experiences, all the while telling a unique and multifaceted story. I spoke with Barry about the novel, its reception, and what’s next for her.
HILLARY LEFTWICH is the author of Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (Civil Coping Mechanisms/The Accomplices, 2019), which was voted one of Entropy’s “Best Fiction Books of 2019.” Her next book, Aura, will be published by Future Tense Books in 2022. She currently teaches writing in Denver, Colorado.
DARRIN DOYLE teaches at Central Michigan University, and is the author of The Big Baby Crime Spree and Other Delusions, his fifth book of fiction, as well as the story collections Scoundrels Among Us and The Dark Will End the Dark (Tortoise Books) and the novels The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo (St. Martin’s Press) and Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet: A Love Story (LSU Press). He lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, with three other humans and a cat.
JOANNA C. VALENTE is an alien from Saturn’s rings. They have written, illustrated, and edited a few books. Sometimes they take photos and bake ugly desserts. Their latest poetry collection, A Love Story, is forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.
HOMELESS is based out of New York City. He is the author This Hasn’t Been a Very Magical Journey so Far (Expat, 2018) and Please Buy This Book So I Can Feel Validated & (Finally) Love Myself (House of Vlad, 2019), and has the personality of a duct-taped Wiffle ball bat. His hobbies include staring into empty McDonald’s bags, blowing his nose into empty McDonald’s bags, and drawing on empty McDonald’s bags. Clash will be publishing his next book, Shithead Laureate, in 2021.
ALEXANDRA NAUGHTON is the author of a novel, American Mary (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016), and ten poetry collections, including a place a feeling something he said to you (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2020), Rapid Transit (Nomadic Press, 2018), and You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself (Punk Hostage Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in Sporklet, Cosmonauts Avenue, Maudlin House, Witch Craft Magazine, Everyday Genius, Expat Lit, and elsewhere. Subscribe to her Substack at talkaboutit.substack.com.
IRA RAT runs Filthy Loot Press, and is the author of Pacifier, a story collection, and Participation Trophy, a novella. He works, writes, and makes music in Ames, Iowa.