Tuesday, June 15, 2010

John Domini, On Reading

"Reading happily, engaging both the spine and the boneless complexity at its top, takes me down through the layers of an old city dig, so that under one plaster surface I’ll discover the European stateliness of Beckett or Conrad, then under another the American restlessness of Cather or Hawkes, and then deeper still the sketchy figures of Christ or Achilles or Enkidu; and while these discoveries feel genuine and worth pointing out, and while in essays and reviews I’ve pointed them out, the eternal shapes in the textures of narrative, at the same time those figures also seem personal, I mean the archeology also reveals the clear traces of my own rise and fall (and fall, and fall), so that if I’m thinking of Achilles I’m also thinking of some Stories of Greek Heroes compiled by some anthologist I couldn’t possibly remember now, or if I’m thinking of Conrad I’m also thinking of how I tried to share my enthusiasm for Nostromo with a girl from the next borough, a lover more or less; and so reading now also stirs me like a long marriage, in which the whisper of a well-made sentence can reanimate hurts or pleasures I’d have believed were fossilized themselves, but in fact nothing’s ever finally a fossil, it’s all telling stories, and around me they rise again, clamoring, numberless, invisible cities."

John Domini has won awards in all genres, publishing fiction in Paris Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies, non-fiction in GQ, The New York Times, and other journals, and poetry in Zone 3, Meridian (Editors’ Prize, 2006), and elsewhere. Grants have included fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram-Merrill Foundation. The Emerging Writers Network, in a four-and-a-half-star review, called his novels from '07 and '08, Earthquake I.D. and A Tomb on the Periphery, "back-to-back stunners." Tomb on the Periphery also made the '09 short list at the London Book Festival for "the best of international publishing," and Earthquake I.D., in Italian translation, was runner-up for the Domenico Rea prize. Please visit his website here for more information.}

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