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Alaska Quarterly Review

VOLUME 15 - NO. 3 & 4

Spring & Summer 1997



William H. Gass

Something in the World Worth Having:
An Inteview with William H. Gass

The Pedersen Kid (a novella)

The Test of Time

WILLIAM H. GASS is the David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the International Writers Center at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of three highly acclaimed novels, Omensetter's Luck, Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife, and The Tunnel, a major collection of short fiction, In the Heart of the Hearth of the Country, and five influential collections of essays, Fiction and the Figures of Life, On Being Blue, The World Within the Word, The Habitations of the Word, and Finding a Form. In addition, his uncollected fiction, essays, poetry, and translations have frequently appeared in such publications as Harper's, The Nation, Granta, Esquire, The New Yorker, TriQuarterly, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as in an extensive number of anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and the Norton Introduction to Literature. He has been the recipient of grants from both the Rockefeller Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also received the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. As a stylist, his fiction has often been compared to that of Joyce and Faulkner. "Enthralling," "remarkable," "brilliant," are various ways The New York Times Book Review has described his fiction -- stories that "replenish the language."

In addition to this interview, AQR is featuring Gass' new essay "The Test of Time" along with his novella, "The Pedersen Kid." Although still in print, "The Pedersen Kid" does not appear in anthologies as often as AQR believes it should. Written 35 years ago, it is both an exemplar of the form of the novella -- John Gardner deemed it "a more or less perfect example"-- and an extraordinary work of fiction, retaining all of its power and relevance over the years. "The Pedersen Kid" takes its place among the major works of American letters, one that will endure because it defines an essential aspect of our culture. For some, it is simply in a class of its own. Jerome Charyn, writing in The Contemporary Review of Fiction, put it this way: "The Pedersen Kid is the single most important piece of fiction published in America since World War II. It tells more of the particular 'wound' of the American psyche than anything I have ever read, that inability to define who we really are as we hurdle through the nights and days of our existence."


Painting Bryant Gumbel

David Kranes

David Kranes' recent fiction appears in Esquire, Manoa, and Gulf Stream. His collection of Nevada stories, Low Tide on the Desert, was published last August. "Painting Bryant Gumbel" comprises the final chapter of his new novel, Hunting Gallery.

Frozen Blood

Patrick Roscoe

Patrick Roscoe is the author of two story collections and three novels. His fourth novel, The Reincarnation of Linda Lopez, will be published by Knopf in fall 1997. Last year he was the recipient of two major Canadian awards in fiction: a Western Magazine Award (his second) and a National Magazine Award. Roscoe lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is his second appearance in AQR.


Theresa Coty O'Neil

Theresa Coty O'Neil is the fiction editor of Third Coast. She is in the Creative Writing Program at Western Michigan University.

The Chimpanzees of Wyoming Territory

Don Zancanella

Don Zancanella's stories have appeared in New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and Mid-American Review.


In Which We See Our Captain Embrace the Indians and Give Them Beads. The Indians Present Their Conquerors with Gold Ducks

Rachel M. Resnick

Rachel M. Resnick is a playwright and a fiction writer. In Which We See Our Captain Embrace the Indians… premiered June 28, 1996 at the Glaxa Studios in Los Angeles, starring Juanita Jennings and directed by John Steppling. It was produced by Empire Red Lip (ERL) as part of Conquest of the New World. The L.A. Reader called it "remarkable…full of questions that gain power from being unanswered and unanswerable." Resnick's previous play, Body After Body, was part of the 1995 ERL production Aftershock. Resnick's recent fiction has appeared in The Ohio Review, Chelsea, The Crescent Review, and in the Dove/Penguin anthology, Absolute Disasters. She teaches fiction writing at the UCLA Extension.

Bad Evidence

Terry Quinn

Terry Quinn is a novelist, biographer, and playwright, who lives in New York City, where his plays, Love Hurts, Rasputin, A Second Chance, Georgette's Last Rehearsal, A Match Made in Brooklyn, and Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya have been produced on stage and radio. Bad Evidence premiered on WBAI radio last year. An excerpt of his recently completed novel, A Death in Brooklyn, appeared in AQR's anthology, Long Stories, Short Stories & True Stories.

Guest Editor:
Maxine Kumin

Life of a Moon Jelly

Elizabeth Jacobson

Elizabeth Jacobson's poems have appeared in the Blue Mesa Review, Mothering Magazine, A Poet's Cookbook, and the Santa Fe Sun. She teaches poetry at the Center for Contemporary Arts Warehouse in Santa Fe.

Beginning and Ending with Mahler's Kindertotenlieder

Definition: Northern California Autumn

Carole Simmons Oles

Carole Simmons Oles has published four collections of poems, most recently The Dead, from Louisiana State University Press. She teaches at Chico State University in Chico, California.


Kim Miller

Kim Miller's poems have appeared in Potato Eyes, Hanging Loose, and The Cream City Review. In the past two years, she has received grants from The Kentucky Foundation for Women and The Money for Women Fund to conduct research for a series of poems on the history of lay midwifery in east Tennessee. Her poem "Revelations" is part of this series.


Laura Henrikson

Laura Henrikson is currently on the English Department faculty at DePaul University in Chicago. She was a recipient of the 1996 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award.

Large Plastic Lawn Creche

Amy England

Amy England's poems have appeared in Chicago Review, Hawaii Review, The Seattle Review, International Poetry Review, and TriQuarterly.

Sharp Shooter

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok is the author of two books, Bearing Witness and Legend of Light, the 1995 winner of the University of Wisconsin's Felix Pollak Poetry Prize. He has recent poems forthcoming in Boulevard, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Shenandoah, and The Best American Poetry 1997.

In the Middle of the World

Jean Hollander

Jean Hollander's second collection of poems, Moondog, has recently appeared in the Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Series. Her first book of poems, Crushed into Honey, won the Eileen W. Barnes Award for 1986. She has also been awarded three poetry fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


Alison Kolodinsky

Alison Kolodinsky has published poems in a range of journals including Poetry, The Cream City Review, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Kalliope, Kansas Quarterly, and The Florida Review. The is her second appearance in AQR.


Sharon Kraus

Sharon Kraus' book of poems, A Pardon, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in September. Her recent poems have appeared in Agni, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, The Mississippi Review, and Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose.

The Underground Tour (from Doc Maynard's Public House, Seattle)

Perri Dowell

Perri Dowell has a recent poem in Fireweed. She works for an architectural firm in Portland.

Cesar Vallejo Dies on Good Friday, April 15th

Two Striped Lizards

Ray Gonzalez

Ray Gonzalez' book of poetry The Heat of Arrivals has recently been published by BOA Editions. His next book, Cabato Sentora, is scheduled for publication in 1998, also from BOA. He has recent poems in American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, The Kenyon Review, and Indiana Review. Gonzalez teaches English and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Surface of Safety

Kate Barnes

Kate Barnes' most recent book, Where the Deer Were, was published by David Godine. She is Poet Laureate of the State of Maine.


Jane Gray Jacobik

Jane Gray Jacobik's poems appear in recent issues of The Georgia Review, The Laurel Review, Prairie Schooner, Louisiana Literature, The Midwest Quarterly, and Southern Humanities Review.


Jonathon Johnson

Jonathon Johnson is in the creative writing program at Western Michigan University.

Storm Windows: Broken Song

Janet Kaplan

Janet Kaplan's poems have appeared in the American Literary Review, Ms., Confrontation, Global City Review, and Response. She is currently teaching creative writing at Hofstra University.

It Is Sound We're After

The Jumper

Victoria Redel

Victoria Redel's first collection of poems, Already the World, was recently published by Kent State University Press. In 1994 Knopf published her collection of stories, Where the World Bottoms Out, which  includes "China," a story first published in AQR. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.


His Hands Made of Music (Ozark Mountains, 1959)

Mia Leonin

Mia Leonin has poems forthcoming in Prairie Schooner and New Letters.


Marcyn Del Clements

Marcyn Del Clements is a massage therapist and environmentalist. She lives in Claremont, California.

À La Belle Étoile

Permanent Waves

Enid Shomer

Enid Shomer's second book of poems, This Close to the Earth, was published by University of Arkansas Press.


Patti D'Angelo

Patti D'Angelo lives in Southwest Harbor, Maine.

The Burdens of Marriage: An Epithalamion

Poem Against My Father's Heart Attack

Steve Kronen

Steve Kronen's first book, Empirical Evidence, was published by University of Georgia Press. He lives with his wife and daughter in Miami, Florida.

Last Afternoon on Nassau Street

Justine Buisson

Justine Buisson is in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami.

The New Silence

mele in gabbia

The Clock

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield is an AQR contributing editor. Her most recent collection, The October Palace, received the Poetry Center Book Award, the Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. Her recent poems have also appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. Hirshfield's next two books, The Lives of the Heart, a book of poetry, and Nine Gates: Essays on Poetry, are scheduled for publication by HarperCollins later in 1997.


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About the Cover
Disabled by floating ice while attempting to dock at St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands, the 96-foot fishing boat, Alaskan Monarch, with 50 tons of fresh caught crab in its hold, was helpless against the 35-knot winds, 12-foot waves, and jagged rocks. But in a harrowing rescue, all six crew members were plucked from harm's way by a Coast Guard Helicopter.      
©1997 Richard J. Murphy
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Page Updated: 1/12/10  By:  Ronald Spatz