Poetry News

Miranda Mellis + Robert Glück Rock-Out In The Believer

By Harriet Staff


Any treats inside the newest issue of The Believer?

You bet!

Scoop up the newest issue (number ninety-nine, to be exact) to read Miranda Mellis's brilliant and contemplative interview with poet, fiction writer, editor, and New Narrative theorist Robert Glück.

As they say in The Believer: "Significant objects mentioned herein: a nineteenth-century porcelain pap feeder, a copy of The Waves, the china collection of a seven-year-old Glück, a white Pyrex cup."

Still want more? We'll excerpt our favorite part for you here:

THE BELIEVER: Your writing is often grounded in place. What are your decorating/homemaking influences?

BOB GLÜCK: This is a good place to start, because at present I am hiding out at home, endeavoring to enter my writing while undertaking the secretarial chores of assembling a book of essays. Yesterday I got to “Yoko” in my documents folder, the last item. Now I will start going through file cabinets. Being at home without outwardly directed work, like classwork, is a great pleasure. Sometimes I abandon my writing and settle into a movie. Daytime TV—forbidden fruit! I am particularly fond of precode films from the early ’30s. Sometimes I go online and look for dates or hookups—the fascination of the hunt, or is it the fascination of shopping?—or I just witness the broad, mighty river of sexual self-description that is craigslist. One day I will write an essay called “Carpal Tunnel as an STD.”

But there is more to domesticity than screens. I have often written about the objects that touch me physically. The wooden spoon I eat with, which has been worn away over the years—its humility and loyalty are moving to me. I have a white glass cup that has often appeared in my fictions. It is the simplest of shapes, nothing fancy, more the idea of a cup, tipping in and out of existence. It’s in “Purple Men 2000,” and the book I am writing now, and lord knows where else.

It is a kind of language of the body, these objects that are worn by use, by touching, washing. I got rid of my dishwasher—I never ran it, I just stored china in it. That’s because I want to touch dishes—washing them connects me to a benign history, an ancient activity, like pouring tea. These objects have a humility that is also a kind of glory, shoes rubbed by our feet into different shapes, a triumph of the vernacular shaping and subverting the mass-produced. As [the Jesuit scholar] Michel de Certeau might put it: a music of hosannas. That they are ephemeral, that they do not appear on the stage of history, only increases their splendor. Let’s say it is part of the ongoing discovery of the irreversible. Rubbed smooth, abraded, softened, torn. Processes that work against conservation, that give an object an opposite valence. A story of decay and death and transformation. I mend my clothes and I turn the collars on my favorite shirts in gratitude. When I die, some of these objects will find a place in other households and lives, and help define what is normal and even invisible.

Read a little more here, and boogie-down to your nearest newsstand in order to read their interview in its entirety.

Originally Published: June 20th, 2013