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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Stuart Dybek -- Fiction

Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin

Tape order number: V-833

Visit Date: November 10, 1993

Length: 58 minutes

Brief Summary: Dybek talks about his interest in the short form, the "no man's land" between prose poetry and fiction where models are scarce and unpredictability is the norm. He is more interested in the synthesis of the two forms, the ways they overlap, than the differences. Dybek describes a writing process in which form emerges from the work or from the juxtaposition of two works in process. He strives to create narrative situations that justify, at some point, the elevation of language to the lyrical mode, citing Joyce's "The Dead" as an example of this technique. He believes careful, microscopic study of place results in work with macroscopic resonance. He notes the way his imagination "splits off" and asserts itself in the process of writing.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • Brass Knuckles
  • Childhood and Other Neighborhoods
  • Coast of Chicago
  • "Sauerkraut Soup"
  • "Nighthawks"
  • "The Wake"

Work(s) Read:

  • "Lights"
  • "Laughter"

Writers mentioned:

  • Baudelaire
  • Rimbaud
  • Cortazar
  • Calvino
  • Conrad
  • Poe
  • Bradbury
  • Joyce
  • Jane Austen
  • William Carlos Williams
  • Garcia Marquez
  • Joao Ribeiro

When you're in the middle of a great story, it's amazing how much serendipity there seems to be in the world.

-- Stuart Dybek

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