Fitzgerald once wrote in his notebook that ”I talk with the authority of failure — Ernest with the authority of success. We could never sit across the same table again.” This draws an interesting distinction not just for these two iconic writers, but for all of us who try to make sense out of the mess of life by stringing words into sentences.
To write is, in a sense, to fail — after all, words on a page will never adequately express the original intent of whatever it is you thought you were trying to say. But to write with “the authority of failure,” as Fitzgerald so uniquely did in the latter half of his life and career, is the mark of a true master. That is, to acknowledge the inadequacy of what you’re doing before you even do it and still accomplish it anyway, to deepen the work with this profound sense of defeat, is the literary magic trick we should all strive to learn.
On December 3, The Disagreement presents Failure, bringing you two poets and two fiction writers, each with their own take on life and thwartedness. We’ll hear about viking ships and all the places we didn’t go, about New Orleans after Katrina, about awkward adolescent gropings, and about the human body being burned.
It’s fall, a time to begin counting your regrets for the year, to add up all the things not accomplished. Come drown some of that contrition with us.
At Word Books, 126 Franklin in Greenpoint. We’ll start at 6:30.
Mary Krienke grew up in the Midwest and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from Columbia University’s Fiction Program and has been previously published by Midwestern Gothic, Joyland, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Best American Poetry Blog, and Underground Voices, with work forthcoming in Palooka. An associate literary agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, she represents literary fiction and creative nonfiction and is especially drawn to writing that explores the intersection of the body and the mind, the personal and the societal, the cosmological and the spiritual. She is currently writing her first novel.
Nicholas Wright obtained his MFA from Columbia University and has previously been published in Catch-Up Magazine, Print Oriented Bastards, and Apogee Journal. He is a grade-school teacher in NYC where he teaches Language Arts and Creative Writing. He’s been told that his spirit animal is a mountain goat. He has accepted this association. Nicholas lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Michael Keenan’s first book of poems, “Translations On Waking In An Italian Cemetery,” was released by A-Minor Press in 2014. His writing has appeared in Poetry International, the PEN Poetry Series, Fence and Alice Blue Review, among others. He currently talks to people at Columbia University and the New School.
Lynn Strong lives in Florida with her husband, their daughters, and their dog. She’s working on a novel set in New Orleans.