A Rosellen Brown Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose
About this book
The author of Tender Mercies and Civil Wars demonstrates her command of diverse genres in this engaging collection of poetry, short stories, and essays. Best known for her carefully crafted, emotionally resonant novels, Rosellen Brown is committed to the ideal of the well-rounded writer. She shifts easily from prose to poetry, from fiction to nonfiction, from novels to short stories with an assured mastery of each form that enriches her work in the others. This Reader is the first book to bring together her work in a variety of genres, presenting many previously uncollected stories and essays. The collection reveals the wide range of her imagination and the evolution of her central themes. "Like a pilot flying low over the land, " she writes in her introduction, "I've finally been able to study what my 'central work, ' my novels, can't teach me--the general shape of my preoccupations across the years; the rises and declivities of skill, curiosity, casual engagement, and inescapable obsession." Intermixing clusters of short stories, poetry, and essays, Brown creates a collage of her own writing in which certain themes--the struggle for self-definition in terms of gender, ethnic heritage, or sense of place; the responsibilities of human beings to one another; the constant challenge of adapting to changing circumstances--recur in the midst of experimentation in form, voice, and structure. In a final interview, she says, "ultimately, all of our work will be seen from a distance, like a view of the earth from above, and it will turn out that the shape and size of this or that body of writing will look wholly different from up there." This Reader is our first step in gaining that elevatedperspective on a distinguished career.
Some of it was fascinating and a joy to read, but a lot of it was a chore due to the writer's dry style.