Harman Writer-In-Residence, Spring 2012
photo by Nina Subin
Laurie Sheck is the author of five books of poems, including Captivity, Black Series, and The Willow Grove, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent book is the hybrid work A Monster’s Notes, described by the Washington Post as “a remarkable creation…a baroque opera of grief, laced through with lines of haunting beauty and profundity.” It was chosen by Entertainment Weekly as one of 2009’s 10 best books of fiction and nominated for the 2011 International Dublin IMPAC Literary Award.
Sheck has been a Guggenheim fellow and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. In 2004–2005 she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and, in 2006–2007, at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She has taught at Princeton, Columbia, and in the MFA program at the New School. Her work has appeared in such publications as the New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry, the New York Times, and A Public Space. Sheck lives in New York City.
In the following excerpt from Laurie Sheck’s re-imagining of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley recalls, to her stepsister Claire, first encountering the “monster” as a child of eight as she sat beside her mother’s grave:
He stepped out of the bushes, partly shielding his face with his hand. He seemed a hurt presence. A presence somehow ashamed. I asked his name. “I don’t have one,” he said. That seemed to me an extraordinary thing. I couldn’t decide if it was wonderful or horrible, to have no name like that, yet to be a creature of language, a creature using words. Why had no one named him? And un-named like that, did he know an aloneness worse than my own?
—From A Monster’s Notes