Neck Deep and Other PredicamentsPaperback
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- Publisher: Graywolf Press,U.S.
- Format: Paperback | 191 pages
- Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 18mm | 295g
- Publication date: 8 April 2007
- Publication City/Country: MN
- ISBN 10: 1555974597
- ISBN 13: 9781555974596
- Sales rank: 745,197
Ander Monson uses unexpectedly non-literary forms - the index; the Harvard Outline, the mathematical proof - to delve into an equally surprising mix of obsessions: disc golf; the history of mining in northern Michigan; car washes; snow; topology.
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Ander Monson is the author of the novel "Other Electricities" and the poetry collection "Vacationland." He lives in Michigan and is editor of the magazine "DIAGRAM" and of the New Michigan Press.
"Elizabeth Bishop often remarked that she wanted poems and prose that register the mind in motion rather than at rest. Bishop would have loved the work of Ander Monson, as much for his yearning mind as his quick, restless, precise motion. 'I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT SNOW, ' Monson writes in "Neck Deep." Yes, indeed, and one of the many copious and surprising things he's also obviously been thinking about is the new American essay, of which he is the latest Edison, to touch on the title of his earlier novel, "Other Electricities." For Monson the essay is something like a schematics for our fiercest longings and most ecstatic inventions. Every time I turn to it I'm astonished all over again by the majesty of this book." --Robert Polito, Judge
An eccentric, idiosyncratic collection of essays, most previously published (some online only), on topics ranging from car washes to high-school felonies to the nature of prose itself, from Monson (Other Electricities, 2005).Some of these pieces have the structure of traditional essays; others experiment with the form. One piece is merely an index. Another, about snow, has words scattered to resemble a blizzard. Yet another, a meditation on failure, features words competing for space with rows of periods. Says the author, "I love the idea of failure in art-the failed experiment." And some of these pieces qualify. But there are some goodies here, too. In one piece, an attempt to come to terms with his younger, more tormented self, the author-booted from Cranbrook School for assorted teen screw-ups-returns some years later to walk the grounds, to sit and ruminate. There are a few genial pieces, about car washes and disc (Frisbee) golf, though a talented undergraduate could have produced them. Monson shares a bit of trivia along the way, including why STOP is a feature of telegrams and who invented the first automatic car wash. And we learn a little of his family history in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. One grandfather operated ferries that ceased operations when the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1957. The author, who notes that he teaches at the same school (Grand Valley State Univ.) as James Frey's father, references Melville and Twain, among others. Poetic quality aside, there is not enough that informs the mind or heart. (Kirkus Reviews)