The Sam Houston State University Department of English is hosting an appearance for Ander Monson on October 5th. Monson is an established novelist, poet, nonfiction writer, and has been writing for more than twenty years.
This appearance from Monson has been in the works for an ample amount of time. With his busy schedule, this will only be Monson’s second time to give a reading in Texas. Monson discussed how his reading was planned.
“Nick Lantz (SHSU faculty) invited me to come and visit and read a couple of years ago, but I didn’t have the availability to come until now”, Monson said.
Monson received his Bachelor of Arts from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He then went on to earn an MA from Iowa State University and an MFA from the University of Alabama.
In addition to his numerous accomplishments in poetry, novels, and nonfiction books, Monson also writes in the short fiction genre as well.
When asked about his work, Monson talked about the different challenges that arise when writing each genre.
“They’re all equally difficult,” Monson said. “My training in poetry underlies all the rest of it though.”
He is currently working on a new novel and a collection of poetry. His most recent book, Letter to a Future Lover, is nonfiction.
Monson talked about the different works that inspire him when he is working on his own writing.
“I try to be open to inspiration coming from anywhere–scenes from the 1987 Schwarzenegger movie Predator, for instance, or a visit to a library in Bisbee, Arizona or Vilnius, Lithuania,” Monson said.
In this, he is able to grasp many different ideas and spin them into a new light.
“The world is nonfiction,” Monson said. “My job as a writer is to make something of the mess of it, whether I’m writing nonfiction, fiction, or poetry. I’m here to make connections,” Monson said.
Monson has received many awards such as the Greywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, National Book Critics Circle Finalist in Criticism, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship, and many more.
As for his reading at Sam Houston State University, Monson will be reading essays from Letter to a Future Lover, and there is a possibility of poems based on Predator.
When asked if he would like to offer any advice to English and writing students, Monson talked about catering to your interests as a reader and being open to learning new things.
“The writer’s job is to nurture your obsessions and to train yourself well enough to be able to write about them and discover new ones,” Monson said. “Read a ton, obviously, and I don’t just mean books. Novelizations of movies, comic books, Twitter feeds, poems; Anything is material. You can learn from anything you read.”
Monson’s numerous other works include the essay collections Neck Deep and Other Predicaments, and Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir, the essay that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Also included, the poetry collections Vacationland and The Available World and the short-story Other Electricities.
Monson ended by saying, “Sometimes you learn more from the poorly-written things rather than the great literature of the age. Don’t be a snob.”
On October 5th, Monson will be in the Evans Complex room 212 at 4 p.m. to speak with creative writing students and will read his works at 6 p.m. in the Evans Complex room 105.
This reading has no admission cost and is open to the public.