Cover image for The empty quarter : stories
Title:
The empty quarter : stories
Author:
Mesmer, Sharon.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Brooklyn, New York : Hanging Loose Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
73 pages; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781882413676

9781882413669
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Fiction. Sharon Mesmer's first fiction collection follows the 1998 publication of her first book of poems, Half Angel, Half Lunch, which Allan Ginsberg called beautifully bold and vivaciously modern. Her work has appeared in such publications as New American Writing, Lingo, The World and Poets & Writers. Sharon's poems sweep the reader up in suppositions of identity and purpose. Who are we and what's going on here, and couldn't we and it be more luxuriant, astute and sexy than anyone could possibly imagine. The poet is vulnerable (but definitely not wimpy) as she flexes her mind and body in words over (and through) matter to produce multiple revelations over and over again. -- Ed Friedman


Summary

Fiction. Sharon Mesmer's first fiction collection follows the 1998 publication of her first book of poems, Half Angel, Half Lunch, which Allan Ginsberg called beautifully bold and vivaciously modern. Her work has appeared in such publications as New American Writing, Lingo, The World and Poets & Writers. Sharon's poems sweep the reader up in suppositions of identity and purpose. Who are we and what's going on here, and couldn't we and it be more luxuriant, astute and sexy than anyone could possibly imagine. The poet is vulnerable (but definitely not wimpy) as she flexes her mind and body in words over (and through) matter to produce multiple revelations over and over again. -- Ed Friedman


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fifteen abrasive stories exploring identity and reality constitute Mesmer's slight first collection of short fiction. She uses, with uneven success, the vivid language that characterizes the verse and prose poems of her debut poetry collection, Half Angel, Half Lunch. These tales, many as brief as a single page, usually feature a troubled narrator--often a writer--whose bitter, low self-esteem and lack of a psychological compass often land her in a moral or literal gutter. Both the title story, a heavy-handed recollection of the narrator's development as a writer, and "I Married a Bay City Roller," which details the narrator's downward spiral in Glasgow among drug-addicted rockers, are addressed to specific listeners: "I met you in a gallery on a national holiday." Other stories aim for dreamlike weirdness. In "Harm," a woman witnesses a man kill his wife and is then asked by the police to raise the man's daughter, but there is little resonance to a story that barely hints at the motives of its characters. "My Life in Yonago" riffs off of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons; "The Hours of a Transfigured Night" uses the eight three-hour prayer periods of Catholic monastic orders to organize the memories of the speaker, a nun; and "As If" is an amusing pastiche of bad similes written by high school students. These tales illustrate Mesmer's intention to determine the best way to convey meaning through language, but in general her short fiction is indistinguishable from her prose poetry, except that the stories are longer. Readers may be frustrated with the truncated tales, none of which develop their premises to completion. Yet Mesmer's evocative poetic language provides refreshingly clear images and clever turns of phrase. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Publisher's Weekly Review

Fifteen abrasive stories exploring identity and reality constitute Mesmer's slight first collection of short fiction. She uses, with uneven success, the vivid language that characterizes the verse and prose poems of her debut poetry collection, Half Angel, Half Lunch. These tales, many as brief as a single page, usually feature a troubled narrator--often a writer--whose bitter, low self-esteem and lack of a psychological compass often land her in a moral or literal gutter. Both the title story, a heavy-handed recollection of the narrator's development as a writer, and "I Married a Bay City Roller," which details the narrator's downward spiral in Glasgow among drug-addicted rockers, are addressed to specific listeners: "I met you in a gallery on a national holiday." Other stories aim for dreamlike weirdness. In "Harm," a woman witnesses a man kill his wife and is then asked by the police to raise the man's daughter, but there is little resonance to a story that barely hints at the motives of its characters. "My Life in Yonago" riffs off of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons; "The Hours of a Transfigured Night" uses the eight three-hour prayer periods of Catholic monastic orders to organize the memories of the speaker, a nun; and "As If" is an amusing pastiche of bad similes written by high school students. These tales illustrate Mesmer's intention to determine the best way to convey meaning through language, but in general her short fiction is indistinguishable from her prose poetry, except that the stories are longer. Readers may be frustrated with the truncated tales, none of which develop their premises to completion. Yet Mesmer's evocative poetic language provides refreshingly clear images and clever turns of phrase. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved