I was honored to join Lorin Cuoco last week on Don Marsh's "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the life and work of William H. Gass. The audio is embedded in the station's obituary.
I wrote a short piece for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this past Sunday.
A great fortune of my life has been to know this once-in-a-generation writer and be transformed by his work. At ReadingGass.org, I've begun sharing the many memorials coming in, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary, which includes a few comments from me. I send my deepest condolences to Bill's wife, Mary, and their entire family.
In September of this year, I was honored to be part of “The William H. Gass Symposium: International Writing” at Washington University in St. Louis. I joined Lorin Cuoco, who co-founded the International Writers Center with Gass in 1990 and was its associate director until 2001, in giving some opening remarks, then discussing Gass’s work with William H. Gass Fellow Matthias Göritz and Ignacio Infante, associate professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish at the university.
I spoke about my work editing and publishing ReadingGass.org, The Ear’s Mouth Must Move: Essential Interviews of William H. Gass and Abstractions Arrive: Having Been There All the Time. To say I was in impressive company is an understatement. Don’t miss the other videos all housed here together.
I’m honored to be taking part in a roundtable discussion as part of this special event hosted by Washington University Libraries. Near St. Louis? Please join us on September 23.
A very happy 89th birthday to the great William H. Gass, with whom I’m pictured here in 2007. I’m incredibly glad he’s still writing every day.
Lots going on at my other blog, perhaps most notably Cynthia Ozick’s review of Middle C, which carried the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
From William H. Gass’ forthcoming novel, Middle C:
Joey … rails ran across France then, rails ran through the mountain passes and through tunnels into and out of the mountains, rails ran along the Mur, through forests of fir trees, because the war was over, the sirens had hoarse throats, all the bombs they’d dropped on one another had gone plode, and so we could have traveled home together, because there were no more warplanes, no more lights fingering the sky, no more Nazis; it was, we used to say when we slunk from our underground huddle, the large lot of us, and looked to see if our rubble was still standing, we used to say that the sirens said — the sirens said, All clear.
I’m still at work editing The Ear’s Mouth Must Move: The Essential Interviews of William H. Gass. While I’d love for this to be published in a gloriously beautiful print version, I haven’t yet found an interested publisher. So it’s likely that, as with Abstractions Arrive, I will publish it myself as an iPad e-book using iBooks Author. Life is short, and I get restless waiting for traditional gatekeepers. We’ll see, though.
Here are a few screenshots of the in-process project, posted here mainly to show what’s possible in terms of tappable footnotes. More in time…
Hey, there’s The New York Times covering Abstractions Arrive! The piece, written by David Streitfeld, includes a new interview with Gass about books and technology. Thanks for the nod, Paper of Record!
Today is William Gass’ 88th birthday. For the Big Other website, John Madera asked some writers, readers, and publishers to name their own “literary pillars,” as a tribute to Gass and his “50 Literary Pillars” project from the early 1990s. After being invited to contribute, I went in a slightly different direction.
Reblogging myself from a new microsite for Abstractions Arrive:
On a Saturday morning in July 2012, the esteemed writer and internationally collected artist spoke about the release of Abstractions Arrive: Having Been There All the Time. The video was made by Stephen Schenkenberg and recorded in Gass’ St. Louis home (which holds 15,000 books).
At Open Letters Monthly, Greg Gerke and Gabriel Blackwell have a long and interesting discussion about William Gaddis’ masterful novel.
Tonight I spent some lovely time interviewing William H. Gass and Michael Eastman about our Abstractions Arrive project. I’ll be integrating some of the best video clips into the e-book in the coming week. (Anyone who already purchased it will see an updated version on their iPad when it happens.) Off to edit…
The Bookworm host has previously referred to Gass as “our greatest living writer of prose in America.” Here, he calls him "one of my true living heroes.”
Speaking of admiration, I love this interview bit from Gass about Henry James:
James’ world is not to be found anywhere in the world. It’s too wonderful for that.