Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eula Biss

Eula Biss holds a BA in nonfiction writing from Hampshire College and an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Northwestern University, where she teaches nonfiction writing, and she is a founding editor of Essay Press, a new press dedicated to innovative nonfiction. Her essays have recently appeared in The Best Creative Nonfiction and the Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction as well as in The Believer, Gulf Coast, Columbia, Ninth Letter, the North American Review, the Bellingham Review, the Seneca Review, and Harper’s.

Her latest book is Notes from No Man’s Land.

Recently, I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I just read Sarah Manguso’s The Two Kinds of Decay for the second time. “This is the usual sort of book about illness. Someone gets sick, someone gets well,” she writes, but that’s not true at all, except for the “someone gets sick” part, which is a grand understatement. Manguso make an art of understatement, and she refuses to allow her account of a long illness to become a narrative of redemption or a narrative of triumph. In fact, she resists allowing her meditations on suffering and “spacetime” to cohere into one continuous narrative of any sort. She offers instead a work of accrual, a series of observations that testify to the mundanity of suffering even as they open extraordinary questions. “Most people consider their own suffering a widely applicable model, and I am no exception,” she writes. And, “those who claim to write about something larger and more significant than the self sometimes fail to comprehend the dimensions of a self.”
Visit Eula Biss' website.

--Marshal Zeringue