Voices from the Working-Class: A Reading Sponsored by Goliad Review
Goliad Review will sponsor an author reading at the Twig Book Shop on March 6th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The reading will feature a diverse lineup of writers who have published novels, short story collections, essays, and poetry.
Though Goliad Review has published major literary figures like Marjorie Perloff, William Logan, Rae Armantrout, Richard Burgin and others, the journal has also been a showcase for working-class writers.
Each writer attending the March 6th reading has a unique voice and perspective, but what draws them together is their focus on the working-class in America.
“What these working-class writers are doing better than any other literary movement in this country is writing Realism that matters in an artistic way and a didactic way. It has been a long time since writers have done this. When we think of the characters, places, and plots these writers have developed, we find that they are each particularly original. Laura Morris’s Jaws of Life finds its characters navigating rural West Virginia; Ron Cooper’s Purple Jesus takes place in the South Carolina Low Country; Keenan Norris’s Brother and the Dancer is situated in gritty San Bernardino Valley; Michael Gills’ Go Love Quartet follows characters through the lush region of the Arkansas Ozarks and the south; Joseph D. Haske’s North Dixie Highway takes place in Michigan’s dark Upper Peninsula; Juan Ochoa’s Mariguano is situated along the Texas-Mexican border.”
“Through these works the illustration of a particular working-class class aesthetic and moral becomes vividly apparent. The characters that populate these books do not become the straw dog constructions of writers who prop up their work with political agendas. This is often the problem with traditional American Realists like Steinbeck and Dreiser. American literary fiction today is as diverse as the people in our country. The current debates about who deserves the attention of our country’s readership highlights this, whereas past debates were concerned more so with the form of literary fiction. With the proliferation of literary magazines and reviews, both in print and online, I think it’s safe to say that literary realism and experimental fiction can exist alongside one another. I believe much of the debate in contemporary fiction will continue to concern itself with the varying voices of American literary fiction. What is essential to recognize is these discussions should not only be relegated to the color of one’s skin or gender or sexual orientation, but by social class, as well. In light of this acknowledgement, people will find that reading the literature of the working-class may offer great insight into the aesthetic and moral experiences of much of our country’s citizens,” says Daniel Manuel Mendoza, who will moderate the Goliad Review reading on March 6th.
Immediately after the readings, authors will be available to sign copies of their work.
Authors scheduled for the Goliad Review reading are:
Moderator: Daniel Manuel Mendoza - a writer, literary critic, and essayist. He is the editor of Stray Dogs: Interviews with Working-Class Writers (Down and Out Books, 2016). His work has appeared in American Book Review, Colorado Review, Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, Boulevard and other venues.
Joseph Daniel Haske is the author of North Dixie Highway (Texas Review Press, 2013). He received the 2011 Boulevard Emerging Writers Award for short fiction. His work has been translated into French and Romanian and has appeared in Canadian and Romanian publications.
Keenan Norris’s novel Brother and the Dancer (Heyday, 2013) won the 2012 James D. Houston Award for first books set in California and was nominated for the inaugural John Leonard Prize. He is the editor of the critical volume Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. His chapbook By the Lemon Tree was nominated for the 2019 California Book Award.
Laura Leigh Morris is the author of Jaws of Life: Stories (West Virginia University Press, 2018). She spent three years as the National Endowment for the Arts/Bureau of Prisons Artist-in-Residence at Bryan Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas. Her fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Louisville Review, Notre Dame Review, and other journals.
Ron Cooper’s latest novel, All My Sins Remembered (Goliad Press, 2018), is the 2018 Silver Medalist in the Florida Book Awards general fiction category. He is the author of three other novels, and the Washington Post called his novel Purple Jesus “a literary event of the first magnitude.” Cooper’s first novel Hume’s Fork was a finalist for Breadloaf’s Bakeless Prize for fiction.
Juan Ochoa is the author of Mariguano: a Novel (Texas Review Press, 2013). His short fiction has appeared in Analecta 37, The Rio Grande Review, and other venues.
Michael Gills is author of three collections of short fiction, including The House Across From the Deaf School (Texas Review Press, fall 2016), two novels, including Emergency Instructions (Raw Dog Screaming Press 2017), his most recent novel is West (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2019) book three of the Go Love Quartet.