Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stephen Policoff

Stephen Policoff has taught writing at Wesleyan and Yale and is currently Master Teacher of Writing in Global Liberal Studies at NYU. His books include the novel Beautiful Somewhere Else, the memoir Sixteen Scenes from a Film I Never Wanted to See, two YA books, The Dreamer’s Companion and Real Toads in Imaginary Gardens (co-authored with Jeffrey Skinner), and the children’s book Cesar’s Amazing Journey.

His new novel is Come Away.

Earlier this month I asked Policoff about what he was reading. The author's reply:
Actually, right now, I am mostly re-reading. I have to put together a syllabus for a creative writing class I am teaching in the spring in Global Liberal Studies at NYU, so I am looking over some books I have taught previously to decide if I still plan to teach them or not. I re-read and loved Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, her best book, I think, and a wonderful, unusual, coming-of-age story, full of vivid details of childhood in Antigua, and sharply held-back emotions.

I have also recently re-read The Bride Groom by Ha Jin (strange short stories, quite different from most contemporary short fiction), Angela Carter’s wonderful collection of revisionist fairytales, The Bloody Chamber, and Denis Johnson’s enigmatic novella The Name of the World, with its enticing blend of melancholy and sex. I try to find work that can be construed as “global” (this is part of the mandate of my program), work which my students are unlikely to have read, work which does something a little different with voice and narrative point-of-view.

I have also been reading Anya Ulinich’s Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel. I am not a huge fan of graphic novels but this one is funny and weird and rather dream-like, and that is definitely my cup of tea.
Visit Stephen Policoff's faculty webpage and Facebook page, and learn more about Come Away.

--Marshal Zeringue