Laird Hunt is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Currently on faculty at the University of Denver, he is the author, most recently, of Ray of the Star.
what are you reading now
The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolaño
Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong by Pierre Bayard
The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
Where Did You Sleep Last Night? by Danzy Senna
classic you’ve been meaning to read
I’m not entirely sure Don DeLillo’s Underworld counts as a classic – perhaps a contemporary classic. And it’s actually a book I’ve been reading for 5 years. Every summer I say I’m going to finish it and every summer I read another 100 or 200 pp and put it back down. So this is not necessarily a classic book that I’ve been meaning to read.
last book you finished in a single sitting
Eunoia by Christian Bök
book you borrowed and never returned
Madison Smartt Bell’s Waiting for the End of the World. Borrowed a decade ago from an old writing friend Chris Baer and then we lost touch and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to give it back to him. It still sits on my shelf. Awaiting its rightful owner.
most treasured book in your collection
There are two:
A first edition, sans dust jacket, of The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien and The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald – My first U.S. edition copy is signed and has, tucked into its pages, both sides of the brief correspondence we had.
if you could write yourself into any novel
I would love to appear as one of the melancholic obsessives Sebald visits in The Rings of Saturn. I could sit gazing out of one window and he could sit opposite me gazing out of the other. A tea kettle would be bubbling away in the background. There would perhaps be the smell of something burning. A draft coming in through a crack in the window. A child could be sitting in a quiet corner drawing pictures of women with tornadoes in place of hair.
I would love to appear as one of the punctuation marks (maybe a semi-colon) in Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans.
As a character in the expendable chapters section of Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch.
strangest book you’ve ever read
I believe that strangeness is the sine qua non of goodness in books. Life: A User’s Manual by Perec is a deeply strange book. So is Berg by Ann Quin. Moby Dick is extremely strange. It doesn’t get any weirder than Hamlet. Emily Dickinson’s selected poetry is really bizarre. Cane by Jean Toomer is strangeness squared.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
I once planted a copy of a writer’s book on a coffee table to impress him/her when they came over. My wife, noticing, raised her eyebrow, scooped it up and put it away.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
best thing you’ve read online recently
The opening pages of Robert Lopez’s second novel Kamby Bolongo Mean River.
most anticipated upcoming release
Joanna Howard’s On the Winding Stair
recommended reading list:
Books I Teach Every Year Because I Dig Them So Much
- Gargantua by François Rabelais
- The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje
- Paris Spleen by Charles Baudelaire
- Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
- Persepolis (I) by Marjane Satrapi
- Cane by Jean Toomer
- Rose Mellie Rose, Hotel Splendid, or Forever Valley by Marie Redonnet
- Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar