Saturday, February 27, 2010

Those who braved the weather to walk against 55-mph winds and sideways rain and make their way to Suffolk University's Poetry Center in the Sawyer Library, overlooking Boston's Granary Burying Ground (one of my favorite views in the city), this past Thursday evening were rewarded with J. Robert Lennon's lively reading of stories from Pieces for the Left Hand, Oulipean exericses (e.g., sentences made out of every letter of the alphabet), and, the main event, a brand new and very funny short story about a college campus tour. Lennon is an engaging and inspiring speaker, and a great guy all around. I had a wonderful time chatting with him about our mutual love of David Foster Wallace, our interests in genre fiction, and hobbies such as music, cooking, photography, and raising chickens. Those hobbies are mostly his, by the way. How he has time to get any writing done is a mystery to me. He was also an excellent additional voice in that day's fiction workshop, which I'm sure the two students whose stories were discussed especially appreciated, and we all learned from.

If you don't already know Lennon's work, I urge you to seek it out. Pieces for the Left Hand, his collection of 100 (!) short short stories about a small town in upstate New York, and Castle, a haunting gothic novel that becomes a surprisingly relevant commentary on our post-9/11 world, are his most recent, and his best, in my humble opinion.