Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches in the English Department at DePaul University, and her recent books include the national best-seller, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (2017) and the novel Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey (2020). Where Are the Snows, her latest poetry collection, was chosen by Kazim Ali as the winner of the X.J. Kennedy Prize and will be published by Texas Review Press in Fall 2022. Her latest novel, based on the life and work of the silent movie star Colleen Moore, will be published by in September of 2023.

Recently I asked Rooney about what she was reading. Her reply:
Earlier this year, I read (and reviewed) Nuar Alsadir’s Animal Joy: A Book of Laughter and Resuscitation, a fantastic exploration of how honest, uninhibited laughter connects us to our truest selves.

In it, she mentions Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers by Janet Malcolm, so I’ve gotten around to reading it myself and it’s great. Malcolm’s perceptive, deadpan, voracious critical intelligence makes it a thrill to see her analyses of everything from the cottage industry of writing that’s sprung up around Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell’s Bloomsbury to the poorly-aged 1909 sentimental children’s novel A Girl of the Limberlost.

The title essay alone—in which she really does present 41 possible beginnings of a feature on the postmodernist American painter and 1980s art world superstar David Salle, and which ultimately becomes the whole feature itself—is worth the price of admission. I mean, just look at this passage where she shows him some of her own collages:
Looking back on the incident, I see that Salle had also seen what any first-year student of psychology would have seen – that, for all my protests to the contrary, I had brought my art to him to be praised. Every amateur harbors the fantasy that his work is only waiting to be discovered and acclaimed; a second fantasy – that the established contemporary artists must (also) be frauds – is a necessary corollary.
Her assessments spare no one, including herself.
Visit Kathleen Rooney's website.

The Page 99 Test: Live Nude Girl.

The Page 99 Test: For You, for You I Am Trilling These Songs.

My Book, The Movie: For You, for You I Am Trilling These Songs.

My Book, The Movie: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.

The Page 69 Test: Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey.

My Book, The Movie: Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey.

--Marshal Zeringue