Friday, June 25, 2010

Nic Pizzolatto

Nic Pizzolatto's fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Best American Mystery Stories and other publications. His work has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and his story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea was named by Poets & Writer’s Magazine as one of the top five fiction debuts of the year.

His new novel is Galveston.

Recently I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Most of my reading is done in bed lately, and at the moment, on my night stand is kind of a grab bag which speaks to my usual tastes:

The Collected Poems of Kenneth Fearing- Most people know Fearing for his seminal crime novel The Big Clock, but his poetry is drenched in atmospherics and the particular existential dread dramatized by noir. It's far ahead of its time, anticipating the media and informational saturation of the present age, and the language that contains these revelations is elegant, sly, and darkly evocative.

The Complete Stories Finca Vigia Edition by Ernest Hemingway- always near at hand for their stylistic mastery. Sometimes I go months without reading it, then it'll be all I want to read for a couple weeks. I started to write a long paragraph about how important the writing in these stories is, but I've decided I'm not going to apologize for Ernest Hemingway anymore.

Occultation by Laird Barron- One of my favorite writers, period. Barron's work is classified as 'horror' but anyone who enjoys literature, poetry, or short stories owes it to themselves to discover one of the most unique and accomplished prose talents now working in America. He writes dangerous stories, in something I've described as like a cross between H.P. Lovecraft and James Dickey, and in his new collection his range expands into a wider variety of characters and deeper, more nuanced emotion. Very much like crack to my brain.

The Rare Coin Score by Richard Stark- I'm in love with the University of Chicago's re-issues of the Parker novels, and I'm reading them in order as they come out. I've fallen a bit behind with all the writing I've been doing, but getting to spend an afternoon sipping drinks and reading a Parker novel is pretty close to bliss for me.

The Trouble with Being Born by E.M. Cioran- for my tastes, Cioran is the uncontested master of style, and the greatest aphorist since Nietzsche. His mind unfolds in nuanced, complex ways, expressed in terse, precise language, drawing subtle connections, giving the reader new eyes with which to see. Darkly honest and darkly funny. A perennial favorite.

All of these books appeal to me in ways both aesthetic and emotional, by which I mean I'm impressed by their craftwork while being moved to feeling by that craft's expression. I have a fairly dark imagination, one attracted to the moments where our inner-lives and outer-lives collide against one another, perhaps too fixated on the transformative possibilities of violence, and to characters who live outside the routines established by mainstream society. All of these writers speak to that sensibility, and so feed my own obsessions. My goal as a writer is to produce something which can be inclusive for a wide audience without sacrificing the depth or craft one expects from serious literature, and in one way or another, each of those authors speaks to at least part of those concerns.
Visit Nic Pizzolatto's website.

--Marshal Zeringue