Thursday, May 19, 2016

Samantha Mabry

Samantha Mabry was born four days before the death of John Lennon. She grew up in Dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.

Mabry's debut novel is A Fierce and Subtle Poison.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
For a few weeks now, I’ve had In the American Grain by William Carlos Williams on my nightstand. I go back and forth to it because it’s dense and difficult and…strange. In the American Grain is officially referred to as a collection of essays written in (I believe) 1922, but, to me, they read like Modernist prose poems/alternate histories of major events in the formation of the Americas (according to Williams), from the explorations of the Vikings to the deaths of Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln.

The opening lines of one of the essays entitled “The Fountain of Eternal Youth” goes like this: “History, history! We fools, what do we know or care? History for us begins with enslavement, not with discovery.” I love this so much: the exploration of who controls history and how it can be viewed by different angles. And the way that Williams writes about history –with exclamation points and dashes and odd, impressionistic phrasing –makes it all so angry and beautiful and alive.
Visit Samantha Mabry's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Fierce and Subtle Poison.

--Marshal Zeringue