Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write, Dictionary Poems, the novels The Book of Dead Birds, which won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change, Self Storage, and Delta Girls, and her first novel for young readers, My Life with the Lincolns.
From her Q & A at Fictionaut:
Q (Meg Pokrass): What stories or books or films do you feel closest to?The Page 69 Test: Self Storage.
I often return to Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus for a good dose of bliss. American Primitive by the poet Mary Oliver, too. The compassion of Grapes of Wrath devastates me in the best possible way. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver will forever be my favorite of her books, and one of my favorite books, period, for its exploration of sisters and community and justice. And I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Harriet the Spy.
As for films, Wings of Desire offers such a gorgeous taste of the sublime, and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure offers such a glorious taste of the ridiculous. I could watch both of them again and again. All of these books and movies give me a sense of coming home.
Whose work (or works) have influenced you the most as a writer?
The poet Sharon Olds gave me permission to write in a more honest way, to not shy away from gritty physicality on the page. Diane Ackerman has reminded me to pay deep attention to the natural world and the senses in my work. Barbara Kingsolver showed me how to blend art and social responsibility. I also love and have been influenced by writers who weave together...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: Self Storage.
The Page 69 Test: Delta Girls.