MFA Writing Program Visiting Artist Series: David Shields
CalArts, Butler Building 4
CRITICAL STUDIES: David Shields is the author of thirteen books, including How Literature Saved My Life (forthcoming from Knopf on February 5, 2013); Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (Knopf, 2010), named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications; The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (Knopf, 2008), a New York Times bestseller; Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity, winner of the PEN/Revson Award; and Dead Languages: A Novel, winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award.
His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Esquire, Yale Review, Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney’s, and Utne Reader; he’s written reviews for the New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Shields has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two NEA fellowships, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, where he is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington. Since 1996 he has also been a member of the faculty in Warren Wilson College’s low-residency MFA Program for Writers, in Asheville, North Carolina.
For me, Shields says of the lyric essay, it's the orchestration of theme, always. It's about how beautifully the mosaic comes together. I've always loved that. Like the way a great painting comes together. That's the formal challenge of the lyric essay or literary collage - this apparently rather random gathering of material.