John Keene: Living Writer 2015

Creative Work & Critical Play

October 21, 2015

Poster created by CW Intern Sophia Zaklikowski

Upon reading Mannahatta by John Keene, I was immediately struck but the fluidity of the language, and how beautiful all of the descriptions were about his character's encounters and surroundings. The way the similes are interspersed throughout the work provide a connection between writer and reader, finding common ground for descriptive areas that the reader probably hasn't been to. From the work, it is evident that Keene does a lot of research for his stories, and his knowledge allows him a wide breadth of descriptions for the reader, making it quite easy to get lost in his world. It is done in a way that is hard to do, where the research does not overshadow the writing, but it is evident that Keene knows what he is talking about.

We get a good sense of his protagonist right off the bat, even in the first page, by getting glimpses of his hardships and qualities of his character. This was a very interesting technique since many students (including myself) tend to struggle with giving the right information at the right time to make the reader care about and identify with the character.

I was also very intrigued on the mention of memory in the story, because as story tellers, memory is something we are often concerned with. Keene brings about the concept of how certain memories stick with us far more than others, that some we will forget but others will remain crystal clear in our mind.

I am very excited to hear Keene read his work on Thursday, because this beautiful language paired with a fluid voice will make the reading absolutely memorizing. Hope to see you Thursday, where we will welcome John Keene to our beautiful campus.

Write on. 

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