Category Archives: John Gregory Brown

Writers Series: Laura Freixas

A quick reminder of the next Writers Series event: Spanish writer and literary critic Laura Freixas will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 25, in the Browsing Room at Sweet Briar College’s Cochran Library. Freixas is the author of … Continue reading

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The Ring of Fire & The Golden Rule

It is no doubt abundantly clear to you that I am extremely disappointed with and frustrated by the intellectual energy and engagement you have displayed so far this semester. I should, though, acknowledge that whenever a class goes awry, the … Continue reading

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“It’s just a miracle you didn’t end up sightless…”

“…or at least dead.” That’s what the nurse tells Terrence Weber, “the man with the knife in his head,” in Denis Johnson’s story “Emergency.” The line is really funny, and it sounds absolutely true — that being sightless would be … Continue reading

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Exercise 4

Your final exercise before we turn to full-length stories is to use as your narrator a female character from one of the stories we’ve read. The exercise should begin with an epigraph, which should be a quotation from the story … Continue reading

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Influence and the Fiction Writer

Reading over a few more samples of the latest exercise, I’m thinking a bit more about the ways in which the writers we’re reading this semester have influenced your work. If you’re worried about it — and I’m not — … Continue reading

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“A businessman, not a poet…”

“I am just a businessman, not a poet,” Robert Olen Butler’s narrator declares in the opening of the story “The Trip Back.” Here is the quintessential example of the unreliable first-person narrator, for despite his adamant objection, this man is … Continue reading

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Robert Olen Butler’s “The Trip Back”

I’ve placed a copy of the Robert Olen Butler story “The Trip Back” in the Google docs folder for the class. I’d like everyone to read that story and to bring a copy to class on Thursday, September 16 — … Continue reading

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“Overhead, bats strafed midges in the darkening sky.”

Amidst the coarseness and anger and regret of the narrative voice in Wells Tower’s story “Retreat,” there are occasional passages of evocative description that not only beautifully establish a sense of place in the story but also deepen and make … Continue reading

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Comments on the first sentence of “Retreat”?

Anyone care to comment on the first sentence of Wells Tower’s story “Retreat”? Here’s the sentence: Sometimes, sometimes, after six or so large drinks, it seems like a sane idea to call my little brother on the phone. Here is  a New … Continue reading

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A profile of Denis Johnson

Here is a profile of Denis Johnson that you might find useful as you read your way through Jesus’ Son.

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