Monday Aug 02

W.F.Lantry W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, received his Licence and Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He is the recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award, and in 2010 won the Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), the Crucible Editors’ Poetry Prize and the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize. His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Anemone Sidecar, Literal Latté, Istanbul Literary Review, Blip and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC and is a contributing editor of Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.

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W.F. Lantry interview with Meg Tuite

 

Is there anything you would like to share with our readers about the inspiration for these stories?

Thanks for asking! This is great. I'll tell you a secret, if you promise not to tell anyone else! These are three chapters from what is going to be the most unusual novel anyone has ever seen. Honestly: things never attempted before in prose or rhyme. A novel in flash. Each chapter a thousand words. But not just any flash: every paragraph is a stanza. A metrical poem. No one has noticed, yet, that every paragraph can be scanned and I'm not telling a soul. Besides, of course, you!

And it's all real. Nothing is made up. Yes, there's a little editing, but not much. I have to rearrange a few details, but most fall right into place. I have said elsewhere "We only call it fiction because the language fails us," and I really believe that.

The coffee shop meeting, the aquarium, Miranda brushing the snow off her car: all true, and even more beautiful in life than I can recreate them in words. If mystery and magic don't exist in our actual experiences, then they don't exist anywhere. And I'm positive that they do. If only I could find the words to recreate that experience in every reader!

Do you have a writing schedule you adhere to and/or any tricks you might want to share with your readers?

There's only one answer to this: write every day. Every day, no excuses. And don't worry about whether it's wonderful: you promised yourself you were going to write, you didn't say anything about writing brilliantly. Don't think, just throw.

But keep throwing. There was some old Roman who said 'Nulla Dies Sine Linea.' No day without a line. Fifty lines of poetry, or a thousand words of prose. Every day. Your choice. Don't try to be great. Just try to make love to your reader, at every moment.

What books are you reading at this time?

Darn. You would ask that! I don't read much straight through, I just read whatever's at hand, or on my desk. Let me look. There's a copy of Attar, an ancient Sufi mystic. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. An anthology of modern french poetry. An old copy of Snow White, so over-read the spine's broken. You get the range!

Name the top two or three most influential writers of your writing career and maybe a line or two telling us why.

Carolyn Forche changed my life, and introduced me to this world. I'll always be grateful to her. Derek Walcott grabbed hold of me when I was ready to jump and told me it was OK to write in my own direction. Don Barthelme helped me merge the genres. Jim Robison's encouragement re-centered me when I wobbled.

But someone I never met guides me. Nabokov is my real flame. He casts the light beneath which I measure my paragraphs. Look at the Harlequins cannot be matched. Remember that scene where he's walking along the alley in Cannes, and he gets to the end and tries to turn around, but can't, because he can't get the landscape to turn with him? Someday I will build a machine with words that will turn the entire landscape around for me and the reader. And we'll both stand there watching, in dazed awe!

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