Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Stephen Policoff

Stephen Policoff is the author of Beautiful Somewhere Else, which won the James Jones Award, and was published by Carroll & Graf. His second novel, Come Away,
won the Dzanc Award, and was published by Dzanc Books in 2014. He was writer-in-residence at Medicine Show Theater Ensemble, with whom he wrote Shipping Out, The Mummer’s Play, Ubu Rides Again, and Bound to Rise, which received an Obie. He was also a freelance writer for Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, New Age Journal, and many other publications. He helped create Center for Creative Youth, based at Wesleyan University, and has taught writing at CUNY, Wesleyan, and Yale. He is currently Clinical Professor of Writing in Global Liberal Studies at NYU, where he has taught since 1987.

Policoff's newest novel is Dangerous Blues.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Policoff's reply:
Like my taste in music, my reading list is extremely eclectic.

I recently read two books by acquaintances of mine. Funeral Train by Laurie Loewenstein is a wonderful, atmospheric mystery set in the Great Depression; I rarely read mysteries but Loewenstein writes such great characters and creates such a vivid picture of life in the Dust Bowl that I was immediately drawn in. Ghosts of the Missing by Kathleen Donohoe is a lovely, elegiac novel about love, loss, and being haunted, subjects of particular interest to me. It’s a beautiful novel and should be better known.

Meanwhile, I have just re-read Train Dreams by Denis Johnson because I am teaching it in my Creative Writing class this semester. I admire and have sometimes sought to emulate Johnson’s ability to write melodically about horrid human behavior, to intertwine melancholy and dark laughter. I also have been reading Ling Ma’s first story collection, Bliss Montage. I am always looking for fiction which my students will not have read already (not that they read that much anyway), stories which show different ways of approaching the idea of writing fiction. Ma’s stories are intriguingly odd—surreal at times, science fictionish at times, beautifully detailed and truthful at times. She is a useful model, I think, for anyone seeking to write stories which do not necessarily fit into any preconceived
Visit Stephen Policoff's website.

The Page 69 Test: Come Away.

My Book, The Movie: Come Away.

--Marshal Zeringue