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An old favorite

I wrote this essay, "The Colossal Colon," a long time ago and the journal, Waccamaw was kind enough to publish it a couple of years ago. It's still one of my favorites, even if it is quite different from some of my other essays: 

"One day not long ago at a suburban mall, my three-year-old son and I crawled through the Colossal Colon. It was forty-feet long, pink, and riddled with cancer. At the puckered entrance a smiling nurse asked us to don a pair of blue sanitary booties."

Read the rest of it here 

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Crowd Sourced List of Experimental Prose

A Partially Crowd-Sourced and (obviously) Incomplete List of “Experimental” Prose, volunteered (and expanded upon) after the following Facebook status update:

 “Dear FB Hive, I'm teaching an "experimental" (yes, I sort of hate that term, too) lit class in the Fall that's pretty heavy in essays and lyric essays, prose poetry, etc., (D'Agata, Shields, Carson, Nelson, Ruefle . . . ) and I have a seemingly endless list of ideas for nonfiction books that are "boundary blurring," but I'm looking for more suggestions at the fiction/nonfiction boundaries. Ideas? (and I don't mean fictionalized memoirs like James Frey's turdbucket). Thanks, awesome people.”

 

So then I combined my syllabus list with the list generated in response to the FB update (which drew over 70 responses) and I came up with this. I probably missed a few and misspelled some, definitely repeated some books and/or authors. But here it is  . . .

Anthologies and Selections from Anthologies: (partially crowd-sourced and incomplete)

THE NEXT AMERICAN ESSAY, ed. by John D’Agata

NO BOUNDARIES, ed. by Ray Gonzalez

BLURRING BOUNDARIES, ed. by BJ Hollars

BENDING GENRE, ed. Margot Singer and Nicole Walker

 

The following pieces focus on the blurred boundary between short stories and narrative essays, and they are all by Doug Hesse:

 "ESSAY FORM AND AUSKOMPONIERUNG." Essays on the Essay, ed. Alexander Butrym. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990. 289-306.

"A BOUNDARY ZONE: FIRST-PERSON SHORT STORIES AND NARRATIVE ESSAYS." Short Story Theory at a Crossroads. Ed. Susan Lohafer and Jo Ellyn Clarey. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989. 85-105.

"DEFINING THE SHORT STORY: A DEMONSTRATION USING WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS' THE DOCTOR STORIES. La Nouvelle De Langue Anglaise: The Short Story. Visions Critiques V. Ed. Claire Larriere. Paris: Sorbonne, 1989. 275-286.

 "STORIES IN ESSAYS, ESSAYS AS STORIES." Literary Nonfiction. Edited by Chris Anderson. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. 176-196.

Nonfiction (partially crowd-sourced and incomplete)

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED, by Ann Carson

HALLS OF FAME, by John D’Agata

LYING: A METAPHORICAL MEMOIR, by Lauren Slater

BLUETS, by Maggie Nelson

THE MOST OF IT, by Mary Ruefle

REALITY HUNGER: A MANIFESTO, by David Shields

VANISHING POINT, by Ander Monson

PREPARING THE GHOST, by Matthew Gavin Frank

FUN HOME, by Alison Bechdel

BJ Hollars, DISPATCHES FROM THE DROWNINGS

CARRIER, by Bonnie Rough

Fiction: (almost entirely crowd-sourced and incomplete but more comprehensive)

THE GANGSTER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR, by Le Thi Diem Thuy

Nabokov's PALE FIRE.

Rick Bass' FIBER

Tobias Wolff's OLD SCHOOL

Edouard Leve's SUICIDE and AUTOPORTRAIT.

Patrik Ourednik's EUROPEANA.

Salvador Placensia's THE PEOPLE OF PAPER

RINGS OF SATURN, WG Sebald

SPEEDBOAT and PITCH BLACK, by Renata Adler

Philip Roth's THE FACTS and AMERICAN PASTORAL

NIGHTWOOD, by Djuna Barnes.

BLOOD & GUTS IN HIGH SCHOOL, by Kathy Acker.

SEXING THE CHERRY, by Jeanette Winterson.

BLOODY CHAMBER or SAINTS AND STRANGERS, by Angela Carter, or any of her novels.

SNOW WHITE, by Donald Barthelme.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS, by Gertrude Stein

Amy Leach, THINGS THAT ARE

ATLAS, William Vollman

Virginia Woolf's FLUSH and/or ORLANDO.

EDWIN MULLHOUSE: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF AN AMERICAN WRITER 1943-1954 BY JEFFREY CARTWRIGHT by Steven Millhauser (Apr 16, 1996)

Eduardo Galeano BOOK OF EMBRACES

Georges Perec's W: OR THE MEMORY OF CHILDHOOD.

Charles Lamb, esp. "CHRIST'S HOSPITAL, FIVE-AND-THIRTY YEARS AGO."

Michael Martone's THE BLUE GUIDE TO INDIANA 

Maxine Hong Kingston, THE WOMAN WARRIOR.

NOV. 22, 1963, by Adam Braver

Kyle Minor's PRAYING DRUNK

Carol Maso's THE ART LOVER.

Samuel R. Delany's THE MOTION OF LIGHT IN WATER.

THE PROFESSOR OF TRUTH by James Robertson

Geoff Dyer's BUT BEAUTIFUL: A BOOK ABOUT JAZZ.

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, and IN THE LAKE  OF THE WOODS, by Tim O’Brien

IN COLD BLOOD, by Truman Capote

Dufresne's REQUIEM, MA

Jamaica Kincaid, SEE NOW THEN. 

Kurt Vonnegut, SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5

Jean Paul Sartre, SAINT GENET: ACTOR AND MARTYR

Jenny Offill's DEPT OF SPECULATION and Mary Robison, although I preferred ONE DOA, ONE ON THE WAY to WHY DID I EVER,

Rachel Carson's SILENT SPRING

Sheila Heti's HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE

Knausgaard's MY STRUGGLE.

Diane Di Massa's JOKES AND THE UNCONSCIOUS (graphic novel)

Phoebe Gloeckner's A CHILD'S LIFE 

Milan Kundera's SLOWNESS and THE BOOK OF LAUGHTER AND FORGETTING,

John Edgar Wideman's WEIGHT,

Rivka Galchen's ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES

Aleksandar Hemon's THE QUESTION OF BRUNO

Pam Houston's CONTENTS MAY HAVE SHIFTED 

Barry Lopez's RESISTANCE. 

IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN, William Carlos Williams. 

LIFESPAN OF A FACT, Jim Fingal and John D’Agata

HOW TO GET INTO THE TWIN PALMS, by Karolina Waclawiak.

THE VIRGINS, by Pamela Erens.

SOPHIE'S CHOICE, by William Styron.

STORYTELLER, by Leslie Marmon Silko

THE WAY TO RAINY MOUNTAIN, by N. Scott Momaday

Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN AND RESISTANCE TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT

W. E. B. DuBois, THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK

E. B. White, ONE MAN'S MEAT

Truman Capote, IN COLD BLOOD

Jo Ann Beard, BOYS OF MY YOUTH

Dave Eggers, A HEART-BREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS

Joan Connor's THE WORLD BEFORE MIRRORS

Harvey Pekar’s AMERICAN SPLENDOR, THE QUITTER, or MY CANCER YEAR

Marjane Satrapi's PERSEPOLIS

THE AGE OF WIRE AND STRING by Ben Marcus
TREE OF CODES by Jonathan Safran Foer
NOX by Anne Carson
ELECTRONIC LITERATURE by N. Katherine Hayles

Carole Maso's AUREOLE or AVA

David Markson VANISHING POINT or THIS IS NOT A NOVEL

Anais Nin CHILDREN OF THE ALBATROSS

Fanny Howe LIVES OF THE SPIRIT and GLASSTOWN.

BETTY SUPERMAN by Tiff Holland

SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW by William Maxwell

Hardwick's SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

 

Subset of Main List: Short Stories or Collections of Short Stories that Behave in Some Way like Essays or Collections of Essays, or Essays and Collections of Essays that Behave like Stories or Collections of Stories:

 Thom Jones’ story, “A PUGILIST AT REST”

Jo Ann Beard, her story/essay, “COYOTES,” and her essay, “WERNER”

Lydia Davis’s short stories

Amy Hempel’s short stories

BIRDS OF AMERICA, by Lorrie Moore

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, by Tim O’Brien

Ernest Hemingway, THE NICK ADAMS STORIES

NEBRAKSA, by Ron Hansen

Geoff Dyer's "BUT BEAUTIFUL"

Scott McClanahan's "HILL WILLIAM" and "CRAPALACHIA."

 

 

 

 

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