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May 11, 2004

Dispatches from the Literary Circuit

by Ron Hogan

I've been to a few things recently that I haven't had a chance to sit down and really type about until now. Let's start with last Friday's 10th anniversary party for Sarabande Books at the Dactyl Foundation in SoHo. The whole crew came up from Louisville for the occasion--also marked by numerous readings over the weekend--and brought with them the Squallis Puppeteers, with their ten-foot high representation of the Sarabande personification and her dancing partners. In their first decade of operations, Sarabande's put out 81 books, including 28 collections from debut writers, and most recently a new chapbook from U.S. poet laureate Louise Gluck. Before the formal festivities began, I got to chat with one of the house's top fiction writers, Heather Sellers, who was absolutely fantastic. While she held up the banner for the fiction side, Phil Levine weighed in for the poets...although his shoot-from-the-hip approach may have made the top brass wonder just what they'd let themselves in for.

The night before that, I'd gone out to Housing Works to see Jonathan Lethem and David Shields launch a new series of events, "Author2Author," basically chatting with each other about their enthusiasm for pro sports. The occasion was sparked by the recent publication of Shields' latest book, Body Politic. This isn't an excerpt exactly, but it's still interesting to read: Shields on Ichiro Suzuki.

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