Last night, I went to…

Last night, I went to hear Grace Paley read. Her poetry didn't do much for me, but her stories -- oh my god, they were good. Smart and funny and vibrant; quite possibly it was the best short story reading I've ever been to. She may be one of the strongest short story writers working in America today, and if you aren't familiar with her work, go read some. You'll like it.

There is no one like Kitty Skazka. Unlike other people who have similar flaws that doom, she is tolerant and loving. I wish Kitty could live forever, bearing daughters and sons to open the heart of man. Meanwhile, mortal, pregnant, she has three green-eyed daughters and they arent that great. Of course, Kitty thinks they are. And they are no worse than the average gifted, sensitive child of a wholehearted mother and half-a-dozen transient fathers.

an excerpt from Faith in a Tree, by Grace Paley
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux,  1960)

She's also 81, and passionately committed to confronting political and social issues in her work, and in the streets. She's been arrested for protesting (and read a marvellous story last night based on that). She was inspiring -- she made me want to put together a chapbook of war-related poems, like the one I wrote a few weeks ago, from a bunch of the writers I know, and then do a limited edition print run and distribute it at WisCon and other cons. Charging just enough to make back part of my costs. I think I could do it for $500 or so -- less if I didn't pay the poets. And if someone volunteered to help me with the graphic design. I feel like I want to do something, to at leat help raise consciousness, raise questions, about this war. I don't have any answers; maybe poetry will help me (and others) figure some of them out.

Goofy idea? Let me know what you think. Also if you happen to know if I'm way off on my cost estimate.

I'm also tempted to put together a sf war anthology, but I don't even know who in sf one talks to if one wants to do anthologies. Is there a person to call or e-mail?

3 thoughts on “Last night, I went to…”

  1. There was a series of anthologies in the ’80s edited by Jerry Pournelle called There Will Be War (one review online says that not all of the stories glorified war and warriors); there was also an anti-war sf anthology called When the Music’s Over, edited by Lewis Shiner (Bantam, 1991) and another one called There Won’t Be War, edited by Harry Harrison and Bruce McAllister (Tor, 1991). I had mixed feelings about the Shiner, and am unfamiliar with the Harrison/McAllister.

  2. tobias s buckell

    Marty Greenburg (the major antho dude)?

    I have ‘There Won’t Be War’ in my library if anyone wants it I can send it along. The main reason I kept it was because it was Stross’s first appearance with a somewhat now dated cold-war-esque story. Overall that anthology was disappointing because despite the theme most of the stories seemed to be about ending war through fighting. I would have thought maybe more stories would have looked at Ghandi-esque approaches.

  3. The Man-Kzin Wars is an anthology series
    which I like very much. So, maybe Larry
    Niven would be a person who could put
    you in touch with an agreeable publisher.

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