IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Publications of CU-Boulder Faculty
Introducing “In Print,” Inside CU’s new feature highlighting the published works of our faculty. “In Print” features current fictional and nonfictional published works, including books, journal and magazine articles, authored by current faculty and researchers.
If you would like to have your work highlighted, please email Inside CU with the title, publication date, name of the written work and a description of the topic, as well as your title, contact information and a short biography. Jpeg photographs of book jackets and/or authors, as well as website links to more information about the publication, are encouraged.
Selected works will be chosen to feature in an article, and all submissions will be acknowledged.
Wifeshopping, the fictional work of writing and rhetoric instructor Steven Wingate launches our new feature.
Wifeshopping is Wingate’s debut fiction collection. The stories explore the search for companionship, love and connection from the male perspective. In 2007 the collection won the Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize, given out annually to first time authors at the Bread Loaf Conference, founded in 1926. Said Wingate: “The Bakeless Prizes launch new literary authors, which is hard to do in today’s highly commercial marketplace. It’s a great introduction to the literary community, and I feel welcomed in a way that I’ve never been before. I hope to live up to the prize and make Bread Loaf proud they gave it to me.”
Your book explores a broad cross-section of men and their approaches to love and life – what is the commonality between them? In other words, is there an overall arc that connects them or speaks to general truths about relationships, or are all of them representative of the chaos of the human heart?
You have written and published poetry and experimental prose – please talk about the differences between these genres as you see it, what attracts you to each and whether or not your writing style in Wifeshopping reflects these.
Fundamentally, there’s no difference for me. Fiction, poetry, and formally experimental pieces all have to go through the same process. Fiction, because it has such a strong narrative component and is generally much longer, requires a different sense of audience. You’re asking someone to stick with you for two hundred pages or more, rather than a poem or a two-page experiment. I hope that Wifeshopping, in the way its sentences unfold and the way its characters are rendered, reflects the time I’ve spent with other genres. I make sure that I keep working in them because they’re really closer to the “primal center” of the literary experience than long-form fiction is. The poem far preceded the novel, and the experimental tradition in fiction is just about as old as the classical novel itself. I keep that connection because it gives me constant access to a kind of writing freedom that I might not have if all I ever worked on were traditional narratives.
From a scholarly perspective, what are your views on the future of literature – the delivery method is sure to shift from paper to an electronic medium, and with that comes ways of easily comparing books, exploring facts and finding in-depth information. Do you think this will change how literature is approached or what might draw public interest?
In terms of the Internet, it’s far too early to tell how the landscape will change because of it; speculation is overabundant. Our ways of conveying information and connecting people are changing thanks to technology, but the fundamental experience of literature probably isn’t. If you take a reader, and a writer, and a text—regardless of its physical/electronic nature—things will take their course from that point in the same way they have since human beings started hearing stories. It’s important to not confuse the politics and economics of distribution systems with the relatively simple aesthetic exchange that stands at the center of the literary experience. I focus on that more primal reader/writer relationship and let the technology take care of itself. But seventy-five years from now I’ll probably come across as an idiot for saying that, as will most of the people who say the Internet is changing literature. It’s just too early to tell.
To hear a podcast featuring Steven Wingate reading from and discussing his book, visit the News Center Podcasts website.
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