Monday, November 17, 2014

In Her Own Words, Joyce Carol Oates Is a Teacher First

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 17th, 2014

By the station’s elevator, a large woman in a denim dress had a long coughing fit. A wild-bearded man with a vacant stare shambled from one end of the concourse to the other and most of the way back, oblivious to passengers hurrying for their trains. A student sat cross-legged on a bench, staring intently at a spreadsheet on his laptop. Now and then a faint scent of urine called attention to itself.
Any other day I might not have noticed any of this. But I’d been invited to a celebration of Joyce Carol Oates’s years of teaching creative writing at Princeton University, and I’d grabbed a couple of her books at random to read on the way up, and one of them—Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart—opened like this:
"Little Red" Garlock, sixteen years old, skull smashed soft as a rotten pumpkin and body dumped into the Cassadaga River at the foot of Pitt Street, must not have sunk as he’d been intended to sink, or floated as far.

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