I've had the pleasure of being interviewed by the amazing writer Sonya Chung, Founding Editor of Bloom. In "Hybridity, Compression, and Shimmer" Sonya writes "Show Her a Flower is a gorgeous collection of short prose that lives in that maddening and exciting liminal space between prose, poetry, and something altogether its own. Each piece is like a crystal—complex, compressed, luminous. As Heather Scott Partington writes at Entropy: 'Pursell keenly and judiciously reveals concrete details of each character’s life so that what transgresses in these fleeting moments is enough to convey a full history; these are stories to be savored and considered one at a time.' Indeed: it took me a few months to read the slim collection, and this, to my mind, is high praise for the book. I experienced what Joan Silber called its 'long, shimmering after-effect.' "
How glad I am that Sonya took the time. She is an astute and perceptive reader and interviewer, and I'm deeply grateful for her engagement with my book. A good interviewer--and reader--keeps me thinking long after the dialogue, helping me to understand and develop my writing. Please take a read to discover what emerged from this Q & A.
Very happy to see my book, Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow, listed as a finalist in the literary category for this award, the 2017 Foreword Indies Book of the Year. And proud, too, to see the book of one of my WTAW Press authors a finalist in the short story division. Louise Marburg's The Truth About Me: Stories is such a fine book. If you don't have a copy yet, snag one here, and you'll see what all the hoopla is about!
Thank you to editor Erin Stalcup of Waxwing, a journal I've long admired, for publishing four shorts of mine in the latest issue, February 15. I savor reading each issue of Waxwing, and this latest is just so very good. I'm proud to share pages with writers like Diane Seuss, Brian Komei Dempster, Michael Martone, and oh so many more. "A Girl Goes Into the Forest" is the title story of my newest manuscript, so naturally, I was very careful about where I'd like the story to appear.
Please read my stories here, and the rest of the publication, too, and you'll understand why I couldn't be happier with this home for all of these pieces.
Since I arrived back home to Sonoma County a few nights ago, I've had to evacuate my home because of the wild fires that are devastating the area. Uncontained, these fires have everyone on edge. Some friends have lost everything. I don't know what the outcome is for my house, for me, yet. The uncertainty is hard.
So I'm happier than ever that this issue of Poets and Writers magazine has come out today. I'm thrilled to be one of the 5 over 50 in this feature. My essay is in the print edition, but you can read an excerpt from the book here.
I had a wonderful afternoon recently visiting the University of Pittsburgh's The Writers' Café and teaching from Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow. The students were engaged and engaging, and wrote some powerful pieces. Tom McWhorter's lesson, following mine, was insightful and I'm looking forward to returning to the writing I started in class that day. My experiences visiting classrooms and writers' groups have reminded me how much I enjoy teaching and talking writing. Do get in contact if you'd like to invite me to your class or workshop!
Grateful to Linda Michel-Cassidy and The Rumpus for this interview.
"Lyricism played against the narrative arc of fiction produces a satisfying tension at the line level, for me. That tension can express the sense of yearning you speak of. Yearning, in one form or another, is the human condition, our shared story."
Please check out the whole thing. Linda Michel-Cassidy is so thoughtful, in all senses of the word, and I appreciated the chance to think about my book in new ways.
A few months ago I enjoyed answering questions for Hamline Lit Link about publishing Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow, my first book, and about my work as a publisher and editor with WTAW Press. The Q & A is now published at Hamline Lit Link site, a writers' resource from the Hamline English Department.
Here's a snippet: My approach to writing very short prose is varied. Sometimes it’s a matter of distilling a much longer story into one substantially shorter in length than the original, through a process of culling and refinement again and again until I’m satisfied that the story can’t be any further pared away at without consequence. I enjoy that challenge of crystallization, which involves thinking deeply about the reader, imagining what she may fill in with her intelligence, intuition, and empathic imagination and invention.
Check it out here.
I'm so pleased with this review from Libby Maxwell and published by Mom Egg Review. MER has long been one of my favorite literary journals, so this is especially thrilling. I could easily quote the entire review, but I'll limit myself to this: "Pursell’s honesty encompasses not only the truths that aren’t told, but the ones that can’t be known, and yet touch our lives all the same." And ask that you check out the astute attention Maxwell focuses on my book at the journal.
Side note: MER is open for submissions. Mom Egg Review seeks your best poetry, fiction, and creative prose for the 16th annual print issue. We publish work by writers who are mothers or by others about motherhood. This is themed issue —the theme is MOTHERS PLAY/MOTHERS WORK— we will only publish work that relates to this theme. Deadline is August 15, 2017.
Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow is now catalogued at WorldCat! Thank you to Rachel Boyd, cataloger in the libraries at Notre Dame, who asked first to catalog it there and was careful about my name. What a thrill to see holdings there, in Harvard, in Johns Hopkins, Texax A & M, the New York Public Library, and others.