Cover image for A fine excess : contemporary literature at play
A fine excess : contemporary literature at play
Gann, Kirby, 1968-
First edition.
Publication Information:
Louisville, Ky. : Sarabande Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
255 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS536.2 .F56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A collection of poetry, fiction, and essay where language isn't strictly functional but comes at the world in its most intense states-in reverie, in revelry, in fine excess; writers who must have, as Paul West once termed it, the world written 'up'. These are minds unavoidably alive on the page. And there they move freely, in particular musical fashion, often making unlikely connections, sometimes jutting their sentences into odd and disproportionate rhythms, creating a vivid, sensory whole. Marketing plans: o Advertisements in writer's magazineso Large brochure and postcard mailings 'A Fine Excess' is the second title to be included in Sarabande's new series, 'The Writer's Studio,' which features books that challenge, stimulate, and support the 'writer' of poetry and short fiction. Kirby Gann is the Managing Editor at Sarabande Books. His fiction has appeared in 'Witness, American Writing, The Crescent Review,' and many other journals. He also has a Special Mention in 'The Pushcart Prize'. Kristin Herbert is the former Marketing Director of Sarabande Books. She now lives in San Francisco. She has won an Academy of American Poets Prize, grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and Kentucky Foundation for Women.Contributors include:Maggie AndersonE.E. CummingsBarbara EdelmanAlice FultonWilliam GassAmy GerstlerMichael GraberSunetra GuptaJack HeflinWilliam KistlerYusef KomunyakaaJeffrey McDanielSharon McDermottKristina McGrathSusan MitchellRick MoodyE. StallingsBelle WaringEdmund Whiteand many more

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In response to what writer Tom Wolfe has dubbed "K-Mart realism" --the preponderance of drab, uninspired prose as the prevailing contemporary literary style--the editors of this volume have assembled a collection of poetry and prose authors who have defied that trend. Many contributors to numerous fiction journals and independent presses from around the country wrote the works in this volume and employ a more dynamic and inventive choice of language and structure. Rick Moody and Patrick Chamoiseau are among the up-and-coming writers showcased. Moody's "The Mansion on the Hill," the story of a power-mad wedding planner and her assistant, veils the pathos of coming to terms with the death of a loved one. Chamoiseau's "The Eighteen Dream-Words That Afoukal Gave Him" is a formally eclectic experiment, combining a variety of Western and non-Western literary traditions. The poetry in the collection also expands the boundaries of form and language while retaining some traditional elements to keep them accessible, thus the title "A Fine Excess," borrowed from Keats. A worthy collection and refreshing for those tired of popular conventions. --Ted Leventhal

Publisher's Weekly Review

This unusual collection of 36 writings is unlike most anthologies of mixed genres; its common element, claim editors Gann and HerbertÄthemselves writersÄis a sense of "play," by which they do not mean "merely lighthearted, whimsical riffs," but rather works by "writers who show creative delight, who explore the possibilities within the compound sentence, within composed phrases." The editors are not opposed to what Tom Wolfe calls "K-Mart Realism," they are simply on to something elseÄand although their selections may seem curious, there is much here to enjoy. Pieces by such well-known writers as e.e. cummings, William Gass and Edmund White are included, along with those by newer names such as Valerie Wohlfeld and Connie Voisine. Poetry, short fiction, essays and other writings that defy easy labeling, such as Lynn Emanuel's "Who Is She Kidding," appear without following any pattern. Overall, the short fiction is especially memorable. In "Give the Millionaire a Drink," Mike Newirth, without using the conventions of plot and character, captures the aimlessness and emotional underdevelopment of the very rich partying in East Hampton. Rick Moody demonstrates his eye for plaintive eccentricity and surrealism in "The Mansion on the Hill," about a poor soul working for a wedding banquet hall. And Peter La Salle's "The Latin Ice Kings" is an energetic, free-associative, first-person narrative by a "pasty-faced Anglo" underachiever playing street hockey in Texas with the Mexicans, reflecting on crack, his girlfriend and Martha Stewart. (Jan.) Forecast: This miscellany will appeal only to the literarily adventurousÄa small but discrete market. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

From e.e. cummings to William Gass to Susan Mitchell, this anthology brings together works by assorted authors whose writing truly is at "play"Dwhere the very words on the page seemingly have a life of their own and conjure up dramatic illusions. By placing this tapestry of essays, fiction, and poetry as they have, Gann (managing editor, Sarabande Books) and Herbert, a poet, have created a work that flows from piece to piece. Vivid images continuously evoke thoughts and feelings, at times harshly realistic, allowing the reader to be enveloped in sensations. Some of the strongest images deal with injustices toward women, whether it be the cheating husband in Sunetra Gupta's "From Memories of Rain," the dead sister in Rick Moody's "The Mansion on the Hill," the woman writing under the pseudonym of a man in Kristina McGrath's "From a Scribbler's Life," or the beaten slave girl in Patrick Chamoiseau's "The 18 Dream-Words that Afoukal Gave Him." Throughout, the descriptive language breathes life into words, giving them dimensions all their own. Recommended for all libraries.DStacy Voeller, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Kirby Gann and Kristin HerbertWilliam GassLynn EmanuelDean YoungSharon McDermottSunetra GuptaHeather McHughMarjorie MaddoxC.K. WilliamsGabriel GuddingRick MoodyJeffrey McDanielKristina McGrathBarbara EdelmanJack HeflinMike NewirthAmy GerstlerBelle WaringPeter La SalleSusan MitchellMichael GraberJohn DrexelTerrance HayesEdmund WhiteConnie VoisineSean Thomas DoughertyAlice FultonValerie WohlfeldE.E. CummingsTimothy GeigerMaggie AndersonPatrick ChamoiseauYusef KomunyakaaA.E. StallingsJohn HawkesBilly CollinsWilliam Kistler
Introductionp. 9
The Music of Prosep. 21
Inside gertrude steinp. 36
Who Is She Kiddingp. 38
Ready-Made Bouquetp. 40
Feastp. 44
from Memories of Rainp. 46
Language Lesson 1976p. 67
The Other Handp. 68
My Mother's Lipsp. 70
One Petition Lofted into the Gingkosp. 73
The Parenthesis Inserts Itself into the Transcripts of the Committee on Un-American Activitiesp. 75
The Mansion on the Hillp. 77
Hunting for Cherubsp. 121
The Jerkp. 122
from A Scribbler's Lifep. 124
Geometry Problemp. 139
Local Hopep. 141
Give the Millionaire a Drinkp. 143
Lucky Youp. 150
Baltazar Beats His Tutor at Scrabblep. 152
The Latin Ice Kingsp. 154
The Hotel by the Seap. 176
Furry Lewis Ponders Life and Death as a Blues Manp. 179
Music Survives, Composing Her Own Spherep. 181
Boxcarp. 183
Record Timep. 185
Psalmp. 197
Labor Dayp. 200
Babiesp. 201
The Blank Notebookp. 203
67p. 207
A Note on the Typep. 208
Country Wisdomsp. 209
The Eighteen Dream-Words That Afoukal Gave Himp. 211
False Leadsp. 221
Venus's-flytrapsp. 223
The Man Who Wouldn't Plant Willow Treesp. 224
The Martyr of La Violainep. 225
Consolationp. 242
And Then There Were the Feetp. 244
Biographical Notesp. 245
Acknowledgmentsp. 254
The Editorsp. 256