Alan Shapiro has published numerous books of poetry, most recently, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin, 2012), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and just three days ago was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. A Professor of English and Creative Writing at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1995, he has received the Kingsley Tufts Award and a Los Angeles Times Book Award in poetry, and has been a finalist in both poetry and nonfiction for the National Books Critics Circle Award.
His poem “The Host,” which was the opening piece in The Courtesy (The University of Chicago Press, 1983), was first published in CQ 35.1 (Fall 1982). We decided it was time to catch up with him again to discuss 3 a.m. epiphanies, the wisdom of Stephen Wright, and the importance of vaccination. This interview was conducted via email during the month of February.
–Nathan Vail, Intern
Carolina Quarterly (CQ): In Night of the Republic, you seem very interested in private reactions to public spaces. How would you explain this preoccupation? What sparked it?
Alan Shapiro (AS): Several years ago I found myself in a supermarket at 3 a.m. The place was brightly lit and no one was there but a cashier who was half asleep, and I thought what a strange place this is, a place I go to nearly every day and yet never really look at or think about, and the absence of people made it possible for me to see how truly weird it is, as if I were an anthropologist from Mars and was trying to infer from the look of the place the nature of the creatures that had built it. From there it was a natural step to examine other public places at night to see what secrets they’d yield about our way of life.
Continue reading An Interview with Alan Shapiro
Stuart Nadler’s writing touches on the core American themes: vast geography, wealth, racism, individual rights, and baseball. He is the author of Wise Men, a sweeping tale of a family’s rise to fortune and the complications it creates, and the story collection The Book of Life. Nadler has been honored with the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an all-around nice guy.
Nadler’s first novel, Wise Men, was published in February to great acclaim. The Boston Globe found it “genuinely moving,” while People Magazine called it “A historical novel with the gusto of Gatsby.” To read his story, “Airplanes,” check out the Fall 2012 issue of CQ. The Carolina Quarterly recently talked with Nadler about looking at pictures of old Cadillacs, Cape Cod National Seashore, and what it’s like to create a town.
–Nate Young, Fiction Staff
Carolina Quarterly (CQ): You were recently selected for “5 under 35″ by the National Book Foundation for The Book of Life. What does that honor mean for you?
Stuart Nadler (SN): It was a great honor and utterly humbling, especially having been picked by Edith Pearlman, a writer whose work I love and admire—and a Bostonian! And I was especially glad to be part of such a terrific group of writers.
CQ: Your new novel, Wise Men, seems to be very concerned with geography: Cape Cod; New Haven, Connecticut; suburban New York; and rural Iowa, among other places. Do you have any connection to these locations yourself?
SN: I don’t have any particular connection to New Haven, apart from having driven through it for years when going back and forth between Boston and New York. I have, though, lived in Iowa, which is where I went to graduate school, and for the past few years I’ve been spending time in the summers out on the far arm of Cape Cod. It’s an area of the country I love, and one that everyone, at some point, needs to see. President Kennedy made this far edge of the Cape into a National Park (The National Seashore) and so it’s been left alone, and because of that it’s completely empty of all the kinds of beachy bric-a-brac and resort hotels and boardwalk amusements that you find up and down the east coast. Instead you have the trees and the spot ponds and the whole coast, unadorned and beautiful.
Continue reading An Interview with Stuart Nadler
We recently asked CQ contributor Lauri Anderson to record a selection from her story, “Here Come the Carnivores,” featured in CQ 62.1.
Lauri Anderson’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Willow Springs, Meridian, The Greensboro Review, Bellingham Review, Passages North, and on air at NPR’s “All Things Considered” Weekend. She is the recent winner of both the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, as well as The Robert Watson Literary Prize. She lives in Lubbock, Texas, where she is a PhD student at Texas Tech University.
Take a listen:
You can download the mp3 here: http://cqonline.web.unc.edu/files/2013/03/Anderson_Here_Come_the_Carnivores.mp3
Woody Skinner grew up in Batesville, Arkansas, before attending four different universities in three different states. He’s currently an MFA candidate at Wichita State University, where he serves as fiction editor of mojo. Other work of his has appeared or is forthcoming in Necessary Fiction, NANO Fiction, and Euphony.
The Carolina Quarterly recently talked with one of our favorite contributors, Woody Skinner. With a name like a Jack Palance character, this word-wrangler sings of the Ozark plateau and the lonesome call of a life on the road. To read his story, “The Knife Salesman,” check out the Winter 2011 issue of CQ (http://cqonline.web.unc.edu/past-issues/61-3-winter-2011/). If you’re into Ted Nugent and the Parnassian properties of late-night infomercials, read our interview below.
–Jerrod Rosenbaum, Fiction Staff
Carolina Quarterly (CQ): I don’t want to sound weird, but you have a pretty great name.
Woody Skinner (WS): My real name is William Wood Skinner. Wood is my mom’s maiden name. But I’ve been Woody all my life.
CQ: How did the kids in grade school react to a name like Woody Skinner?
WS: There was a fair amount of good-natured teasing, but it was character building, I’d say.
CQ: So you’re an Arkansas native, but you’re living in Wichita these days. What brought you up the river?
WS: Right. I grew up in rural-northeast Arkansas. In the Ozark foothills. When I finished undergrad it took me a few years to figure out what I wanted to do. I didn’t take any creative writing classes in college, so when I sent out applications to graduate school I didn’t have a portfolio or anything. Wichita State University accepted me and their program looked good, so here I am.
Continue reading An Interview with Woody Skinner
by Craig Beaven
Put the days behind glass
and hold them there forever, this one
brought into relief
by drought and heat,
enters the museum as the hottest
and driest day of all time, even more
than 31 years ago, which was
the record. I was 5. The events
that would lead to the Brady Bill
were recorded inadvertently.
We imagine an angel with a quill pen
gazing out the window at all of history, but here
it’s Norm the Weatherman saying
we did it, beat the record going
back to 1981. News ratings are up,
everyone watching to see
how famous the day was.
Norm is keeping track.
By the end of August
everything is broken—most days
over 100, longest streak without rain,
hottest day ever. Days that will live forever
in the hall of days. When people meet our son
they say to us you got so lucky.
Here, in historic drought,
signs in front of churches say
Pray for rain. Are we asking the weather
or the clouds? We prayed
for a baby, which means we asked
that someone would get pregnant
and feel overwhelmed, would find
our agency, our name.
Craig Beaven is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. Poems and reviews are out or forthcoming in Rattle, Copper Nickel, Third Coast, Southern Humanities Review, and others.