Monday, July 7, 2008

The Morning Reading: Dagoberto Gilb

Check out this far-ranging and exhilarating interview with Dagoberto Gilb from identity

Among the authors mentioned: Cormac McCarthy, Joanna Scott, Stanley Crouch, Denis Johnson, Annie Proulx, Ruben Martinez, Dale Peck, Jim Harrison, Juan Rulfo, Pablo Neruda, and Stendahl.


Gilb is a wise and generous writer and thinker – some may recall his recent visit to Libreria Martinez during his book tour for his latest novel, The Flowers.

Gilb read and talked and hung out and read some more – for nearly three hours to the delight of the crowd, myself included.

If you were there, you'll want to read this – and if you weren't, well, this interview may make you wish you had been.


DG: Lately I have been in this strange place where I am reading nonfiction—like reading magazines in Mexico and just not wanting to read the normal—but I am not always reading. Sometimes it's about my walking. About my note taking. I do find—just recently, I'm sure many people have said this much better, but I was thinking about this because I knew it would come up, like, "What have I read?" When I have taught, students talk about their history as if it's the history of the books they've read—that is completely not my story. I am described as a physical writer—it's about my physical experiences, whether they be tactile or something like that. They are not out of my imagination or not out of my intellect, necessarily. It's about what things have slapped me around. It's about what things have struck me—and I mean physically struck me in movement and in motion. I kind of have been enjoying that in the last year. Just my physical life—and that could just be walking and encountering strange...I have been reading Neruda's poetry. I was in this poet's office, his departemento in Mexico City, and I'd never read Neruda. So I decided to read him in Spanish. And I'd read like two poems a day and just ponder that and move along.

RB: Besides the log rolling for your friends, are you resisting the competition that seems implicit? "You read this?" "Well I read that."

DG: Right.

RB: There is also a way of speaking about reading that makes it exalted and separate from our lives.

DG: You go through phases. Like I said, I feel graced that I get published at all. Part of it is that I am like a literary reporter—I don't report the same kind of journalism that comes out as fiction or non-fiction. But I am just on this, whatever my little version of an adventure is, as much as I can afford. [laughs] And just logging it.

For the rest of the interview, click here.

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