Monday, October 05, 2015

At the Mercy of Fools: Mohamedou Ould Slahi's Diary

An essay I wrote on Mohamedou Ould Slahi's Guantanamo Diary was published a few weeks ago on the Dark Mountain site, and then again on Counterpunch. I happened to listen to 1984 on CD during a recent move, and a conversation took place between the two books in my head which eventually resulted in this essay.

Everyone should read Slahi's book. I promise I am not doing it any favors out of a sense of the injustice being done to this man; it really is extraordinary.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Two New Interviews: Lewis Hyde and Stephen Harrod Buhner

Things have been quiet with me recently, but two interviews I did over the past few years were recently published.

An interview with Lewis Hyde was published in the online section of The Believer. A few years ago, I biked over to his place in Cambridge to talk, and he was immensely friendly and generous. His books are mysterious little presences in our culture, because they're not the sort of thing that anyone is supposed to be able to write any more, nor is there supposed to be an audience for them. But—there they are. Everything he has written is worth reading, but The Gift and Trickster Makes This World are particularly wonderful.

The second interview is with Stephen Harrod Buhner, which came out in the December issue of The Sun, which I have been trying to crack for a good decade. You can read a portion of the interview online. Stephen gets particular thanks for putting up with like eight rounds of follow ups.

As far as I can tell, the unsolicited arrival of Ensouling Language in the mail many years ago was the moment when I turned onto the road I've been walking ever since. Farther and farther away from the mainstream of our culture, it turns out, but I get faint smells on the breeze occasionally (water? trees?) that tell me I'm heading in the right direction.

Looking at the review I wrote of his work in 2010 makes me a little embarrassed now. I was clinging to all sorts of old opinions, because I thought abandoning them would take me too far beyond what was considered serious and respectable. Well, little by little, the increasingly useless tokens of respectability fall away, and Stephen's work is still there, one of the real guides to the way ahead. I hope both interviews are good introductions to these writers, and make you curious to read more if you haven't dipped into their work already. Thanks,