Literary Nonfiction. According to Frances Burney, "Awkwardness is, perhaps, more interesting than grace." Forfeiting the opportunity to be graceful, GRACE PERIOD: NOTEBOOKS, 1998-2007 would like to be something more interesting.
Full of curious knowledge, the book collects aphorisms, sketches, and fragments from ten years of life. Notes on various subjects, written hastily, using the first words that suggested themselves. Diagrams of relationships, denuded of situation, and infused with richness and depth of feeling and mental tentacle. Portraits of unidentified people by way of their handwriting, characteristic thought patterns, and tones of voice. Definitions of colloquial expressions, what they mean and how they are used. Detailed descriptions of people eating, with enough tea to float away on. Advice on love. Prayers, curses, dreams. Moral maxims. Occasional rhymes.
The special beauty of incomplete form depends on unachieved potential: because they are imperfect, fragments suggest a variety of perfections. They retain traces of their original context, as well as the charm of having escaped it.
Kunin's grace period started in 1998, when he moved to Baltimore; in 2007, he was in California, where he lives now. During that time, in these little notebooks, he was learning how to write.
Author City: CLAREMONT, CA USA
Aaron Kunin is the author of FOLDING RULER STAR (Fence, 2005), a collection of small poems about shame; THE MANDARIN (Fence, 2008), a novel; THE SORE THROAT & OTHER POEMS (Fence Books, 2010); and GRACE PERIOD: NOTEBOOKS, 1998-2007 (Letter Machine Editions, 2013), a book of aphorisms, sketches, and fragments. He lives in Los Angeles and is a professor at Pomona College. Most recently, he is the author of COLD GENIUS (Fence Books, 2014).
Reviews and Other Links
Blake Butler @ VICE Magazine
Interview with Andy Fitch @ The Conversant