June 14, 2004


Dan Wickett

Great interview Mark. Sounds like they've got some interesting things going on within their pages. Appreciate your effort with the transcribing!


Dan Wickett

Whoops. Forgot to mention, interesting with M.I.T. That's where Karl Iagnemma went to school as well - great debut short fiction collection last year "On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction." He's working on a novel now. Who'd have thought?

Enjoy (again),


Great interview, thanks for posting.

Jimmy Beck

Another home run. Surely she wins the award for Most Amazing Thing To Emerge From Both Bulgarian parents and MIT.


Ring-a -ding-ding,

I feel like I am part of the rat pack...

Karl Iagemmna went to the U of Michigan and studied briefly with Chartes Baxter. Dan is correct—Karl's debut story collection isbrilliant

But what's t he big surprise about MIT—Alan Lightman, Elizabeth Cox , Eva Hoffman, this year Junot DIaz—they are all teaching at MIT
are there.

Old Hag

As an old, trembling, hagglish woman, I also feel perfectly free to comment on the subtext of all the men's comments-- so pretty! Woo-hoo!

I'm "submitting" right away.

Robert Nagle

Sorry if I sound like a nitpicky whiner, but would it have killed you to include a link to swink magazine at the very top of the article? http://www.swinkmag.com/index.html
Thanks for letting the blogging world know about this interesting person and journal.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."