Victoria Redel is the author of Loverboy (Graywolf 2001, Harcourt 2002), Where the Road Bottoms Out (Knopf), and a collection of poems, Already The World (Kent State University Press).
Her new book is The Border of Truth.
Small Spiral Notebook's Felicia Sullivan interviewed Redel last year. Part of their exchange:
Read the entire interview.
Felicia Sullivan: Who are some of your writing or literary/poetic inspirations? Which writers/poets do you revere?
VR: I read a lot. I feel that I'm reading all the time and still I have enormous, horrible, gaping holes in my reading life. It makes me sad. I love Dickinson and Shakespeare and Hopkins and Frost and Ahkmatova and I love so many of the poets I read when I first fell in love with poetry: Adrienne Rich, Phillip Le vine, William Bronk, Elizabeth Bishop, Jack Gilbert, Auden, Gerald Stern, James Wright -- I'm leaving out so so so many -- Gwendolyn Brooks, Muriel Ruykeyser, Ai, Kinnell, (perhaps you're thinking I should be stricter in my reverence) I remember the excitement I felt going into a bookstore and seeing on the shelf a new collection by say, C.K. Williams. It was like hunger, really. And I'd sit on the floor of the bookstore reading trying to figure out what he was up to in this collection. Then, always the great turbulence: was I going to buy it or resist spending the money for the book. I admit I sprang for the book most of time.
I know so many people who claim to be disgusted with what is being written today. Sure, there's no shortage of junk, no shortage of books that are impoverished, have the basest expectations of readers. But I think there is remarkable, adventurous work being done. I'm awed, humbled all the time by new work I read. Go to the store and buy books by: Ralph Angel, Marie Howe, Dawn Raffel, Christine Schutt, Ben Marcus, Diane Williams, Mark Slouka, Michael Klein, Amy Hempel, Jason Shinder, Sheila Kohler, Douglas Glover, Gordon Lish, Garl Lutz, Noy Holland, Ishiguro, Mary Ruefle, Penelope Fitzgerald, David Rivard, Terese Svoboda. And I haven't even gotten to Cormac McCarthy or Grace Paley whose books you should also run out and buy.