Monday, January 18, 2016

Ruth Danon


In light that interrupts winter the writer pursues foreign mysteries. This statement is not metaphor. She, the writer, has become obsessed, it’s fair to say, with mystery novels written by people she doesn’t know about places she’s never seen. The crimes are appalling – serial murder pursued as nothing less than performance art. Spiked apples, upside down snowmen, and so on. Heavy on archetype. Some readers may recognize these allusions. It doesn’t matter, though, the point is clear. Murders in books are acts of imagination, though after a while the crimes become quotidian. The writer acquires mysteries with increasing frequency, first delaying the purchase to avoid the guilt, then purchasing one mystery almost every day because the pleasure is too intense to refuse. She learns that serial murderers start to leave less and less time between crimes because the kick doesn’t last. She understands this. The body gone, there is only language. Serial murderers leave notes, write in code. They grow increasingly impatient. They hate the dark. They want to be found.

Ruth reads "Habitual":

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Ruth confesses: "Two preoccupations converged to produce 'Habitual'. It was summer and I was binging on Jo Nesbø crime stories and I had also committed to an adventure called 'The Grind', that requires me to write a poem each day of the month I had signed up for. I started thinking that the writer and the serial murderer had some things in common—or at least that's what I discovered writing the poem."

RUTH DANON is the author of Limitless Tiny Boat (BlazeVOX 2015), Living With the Fireman (Ziesing Brothers, 1981), Work in the English Novel (Croom-Helm, 1985), and Triangulation from a Known Point (North Star Line, 1990). Her poetry and prose are forthcoming in Post Road and The Florida Review and have appeared in Versal, Mead, BOMB, The Paris Review, Fence, The Boston Review, 3rd Bed, Crayon, and many other publications in the U.S. and abroad. Her work was selected by Robert Creeley for Best American Poetry 2002. She has been a fellow at the Ragdale Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo, the Ora Lerman Foundation, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She teaches the Creative and Expository Writing Programs that she directs for the McGhee Division of the School of Professional Studies of New York University and is founding director of the Summer Intensive Creative Writing Workshops at NYU’s School of Professional Studies.

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