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Posts Tagged ‘Gregory Maguire’

This “3 Questions” features Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and other novels.


Mr. Maguire will be visiting the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, December 9th to discuss his latest book,  After Alice.  In it, Mr. Maguire spins Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into a tale about Ada’s (a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Carroll’s story) quest to find Alice and see her safely home from Wonderland. Or, as a Kirkus Reviews stated, After Alice is “a brilliant and nicely off-kilter reading of the children’s classic, retrofitted for grown-ups, and a lot of fun.”

The event with Mr. Maguire is free and open to the public. However, reservations are recommended as space is limited.  Call 802-649-1114 or email info@norwichbookstore.com to save your seat.

  1. What books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

The Once and Future King, because T H  White bravely took the story of King Arthur and decided to tell it all over again as if it had never been told before (by, say, Malory, and Chretien de Troyes, etc). After the fact I realized this book was my prototype and encouragement at trying to do something similar in Wicked.

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  1. What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

Ah, but did Emily Dickinson drink coffee? “I taste a liquor never brewed / from Tankards scooped in Pearl.”  “Not all the Vats upon the Rhine / Yield such an Alcohol!”  “Water is taught by thirst.” I guess I would have to pass over good old Emily, who professed that her eyes were like the color of the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves behind (did she drain that goblet after the door closed?). Since coffeehouses were in vogue at the time he was alive, I feel safer proposing that I would like to have coffee with Franz Mesmer, who pioneered hypnotism, to see if I could ferret out how much he was a charlatan and how much a psychologist. He is showing up in a book I’m working on now though he wasn’t invited. Coffee makes people nervy, doesn’t it?

  1. What books are currently on your bedside table?

Anna Karenina.  Stalled at page 166 and may never be finished.  Selected Poems of Robert Lowell. And Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, sent me by a friend as a “must read NOW!” It’s been there a little bit but I will get to it when now finally becomes NOW!

 

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Peter Money Interview (Click to Listen)

We were lucky enough to spend a long, rainy lunch hour with Peter Money, a Vermont poet who hails from such diverse places as Napa, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Cape Cod, Ohio, Dublin and currently Brownsville, VT.  The conversation was truly delightful (and eating Lisa’s pizza and sipping tea didn’t hurt either).

A favorite

Peter’s description of himself as a scavenger in life and in reading led our conversation through a diverse array of topics including:  reading for the purpose of writing, the power of a gift of a book, the Cape Cod Melody Tent, travel in India and Australia, the difference one person can make in the events of the world – in particular Rachel Corrie to whom Peter’s latest book Che is dedicated – the things we use and keep as bookmarks, empty spaces,  the difference email and the internet make in the serendipity of life and reading as a means of developing empathy.

Sprinkled throughout the conversation were quotes by a former teacher of Peter’s –  Allen Ginsberg (“ordinary is made extraordinary by your attention to it” or  the buddhist reminder “Ground Path Fruition” or thinking of writing as “funky independent thought“).   Peter also modeled a superb teaching technique of being able to circle around and tie seemingly unrelated thoughts together.

Speaking of circling back around: we end this episode by playing a little ditty by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler that not only alludes to one of the themes of our discussion (beach combing) but also provides a mellow finish to a lovely talk.

Actual books we dicussed ranged from:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses – First published in 1885, A Child’s Garden of Verses has served as an  introduction to poetry for many generations. Stevenson’s poems celebrate childhood in all its forms.

E.B. White’s works – A writer at The New Yorker and the author of many books of essays, E. B. White also wrote the children’s books Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan.

Gregory Maguire’s Matchless – Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl”.

Justine by Lawrence Durrell – Set among the glamour and corruption of 1930s and 1940s Alexandria, the novels of Durrell’s “Alexandria Quartet” (Justine is the first) follow the shifts in allegiances and situations among a diverse group of characters. Peter carried a copy with him while traveling 30 years ago and had that copy with him when we spoke (complete with original bookmarks).

Iraqi Writer Saadi Youssef who has translated Leaves of Grass and Little Prince into Arabic and whose own work is carried by University of Minnesota Press.

The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard – from the foreword by John R. Stilgoe – A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics to carpentry take on enhanced-and enchanted-significances. Every reader of it will never see ordinary spaces in ordinary ways.

Collected Poems of George Oppen – Oppen, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969, has long been acknowledged as one of America’s foremost modernists.  He was hailed by Ezra Pound as “a serious craftsman, a sensibility which is not every man’s sensibility and which has not been got out of any other man’s book.”

A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel – From tablets to CD-ROM, from book thieves to book burners, bibliophiles and saints, noted essayist Alberto Manguel follows the 4,000-year-old history of the written work whose true hero is the reader.

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde – The Gift defends creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money. This book is cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers.

Hear Peter read some of his work set to original compositions.

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