Polly Duff Bresnick, who lives in Bed Stuy, has written for The Brooklyn Rail, elimae, LIT, The Six Sentence Review, and other places. She is working on a visual mistranslation of The Odyssey, a section of which has been published as a chapbook by Publishing Genius. She will be appearing at the Franklin Park Reading Series tonight, Monday June 9, along with Mark Leyner and others.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
A dear friend and fellow experimental translator used the word “radical” to describe my writing.
An infamously cranky and brilliant editor once said my writing was dancing around a fascination with “stickiness.”
A tall and talented writer said my writing was “languagey” after hearing me read once.
It’s hard to know which is most accurate, these are my favorite things people have said about my writing. Probably the sticky thing would win if I really thought about it.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
Mary Roufle’s “The Taking of Moundville by Zoom” read aloud by the author herself was a little, life-altering sip when I encountered it recently. It’s meant to be heard in an elevator, but it’s available on the Internet.
Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn’t look at you screwy)?
Alec Baldwin’s. But he’ll write it himself. And, in this dreamworld I’m conjuring right now, it would be a manifesto about being a great human. A humanifesto.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
I was a starving college student. I was such a lazy grocery shopper that all I ever had in my fridge were veggie burgers, pickles, siracha, and goat cheese. The pickles always ran out before everything else. It did not make me brilliant. I owe my brilliance to something else.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
Of course, I hope to connect, to communicate, to show a reader that he or she isn’t the only one who ever felt weird. Ideally I’d like to thrill a reader on top of that.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
I wish I weren’t so vain, but, yes. My answer is: “Yes.”