Corey Mesler

Corey Mesler, a Trappist Monk, was raised by wolves. He has Canadian blood, which, unlike Canadian Bacon, doesn’t stay fresh if left out. He has rambled around some, mostly from the bed to the bathroom, and once saw Prince in the Los Angeles airport. He also dated Vanity’s sister, but has no claims to ethnic insider information. He published a novel once that some people liked, then another, then some short stories and a collection of verse. He has two novels due out in the next year. As of this date, he has written 3,281 poems. He also claims to have written “River Deep, Mountain High.” His wife tells him which shirt goes with which pants.

what are you reading now

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

classic you’ve been meaning to read

At the end of every year I choose a BIG classic I haven’t read. I do it to get to those books I’ve been meaning to get to, to celebrate living another year, and to slow myself down, which a good 19th century novel can do. I’m thinking this year’s selection might be Bleak House by Dickens.

most treasured book in your collection

We have a signed first edition of Zora Neale Hurston’s voodoo memoir, Tell My Horse. Don’t tell anyone.

book you borrowed and never returned

I never borrow. I have to own the things I read.

last reading you attended

Ann Fisher-Wirth reading from her wonderful new collection of poems, Carta Marina, at my very own bookstore.

most challenging book you’ve ever read

Well, certainly, Ulysses was challenging, but so rewarding, so rich and funny and sexy and, well, you know, everything that Joyce is. I found The Magic Mountain challenging in a different way. I never thought I’d get off that damn mountain and out of that damn sanatorium. Also William Gaddis’s The Recognitions is a difficult novel but worth the trip.

if you could write yourself into any novel

It would be fun to go On the Road, wouldn’t it? Except that I have clean bathroom issues so I probably wouldn’t enjoy that as much. I’d say maybe John Crowley’s Little, Big, so I could meet fairies, but also so I could try to bed Daily Alice.

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

I don’t have a coffee table but I keep Finnegan’s Wake on my desk next to me where I write. To impress anyone who ventures into my writing lair (no one ever does) and to remind myself that I haven’t read it and am afraid of it. It’s good to have a book you’re afraid of to keep you humble.

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

The Pinch, of course. Out of our very own University of Memphis. A first-rate journal.

best thing you’ve read online recently

I like anything Marly Youmans puts in her blog. Same with Susan Henderson and Selah Saterstrom.

most anticipated upcoming release

Any time there is a new Philip Roth due I am excited. And since there is almost always a new Philip Roth due I am in a constant state of anticipatory enthusiasm.

recommended reading list:

Books You Might Not Read Unless Someone Told You To, And I Am Telling You To

Little, Big by John Crowley

Season of the Witch by James Leo Herlihy

Tunnel of Love by Peter DeVries

The Catherine Wheel by Jean Stafford

Beast in View by Margaret Millar

The Crock of Gold by James Stephens

The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

Fisher’s Hornpipe by Todd McEwen

A Father’s Words by Richard Stern

Mercury by Cary Holladay

Book by Robert Grudin

Julian’s House by Judith Hawkes

The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern

Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey

Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson

Darconville’s Cat by Alexander Theroux

The Ecstasy of Owen Muir by Ring Lardner, Jr.

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