Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is Lia Purpura reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Lia Purpura, author of poems and essays, including the collections King Baby (poems) and On Looking (essays).

Her entry begins:
I'm reading the truly wonderful Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban -- a writer I've known, until very recently, only as the illustrator of the Bread and Jam for Francis books. This is absolutely not the kind of thing I'd pick up on my own; it was urged on me by a trusted novelist friend -- and it's stunning. Set in post-apocalyptic England and written in a kind of rudimentary/exploded/archaic-techno English, young Riddley intuits and listens his way towards wholeness ... there's a warmth and tenderness in this character that's just amazing, and although the language is "diminished," or spliced from many sources, it's expressive and organic, too. I'm attached to Riddley the way I used to attach to characters as a kid -- and I haven't felt that for a very very long time. I used to love them in the way of...[read on]
Visit Lia Purpura's website and sample her poems and essays, and read reviews and interviews about her work.

Among the praise for On Looking:
These lyrical essays, with their precise metaphors and vivid images, demonstrate why so many poets are able to make the leap from verse to nonfiction. Purpura’s essay, “Autopsy Report,” is worth the price of admission alone. After watching a day of autopsies performed in the morgue, Purpura steps outside to discover that “everything looked as it always had—bright and pearly, lush and arterial after the rain.”
--Jehanne Dubrow

I’m completely enraptured by ... On Looking, ... a collection of essays on the ethics and aesthetics of looking that I come back to again and again, re-reading it at least once a year and falling in love with it not just as a text but as a way of seeing the world.
--Steven Church
A graduate of Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching/Writing Fellow in Poetry, Lia Purpura is Writer in Residence at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD and teaches in the MFA program at the Rainier Writing Workshop, in Tacoma, WA.

Writers Read: Lia Purpura.

--Marshal Zeringue