Conversation with poet and author of the about-to-be-released, "A Monster's Notes", Laurie Sheck

Laurie Sheck
Poet and Novelist and author of "A Monster's Notes"
Monday, June 29 at 8pm ET 

"Utterly astonishing and not to be missed." Kirkus Review

We at the Reading Odyssey have invited the poet and author, Laurie Sheck to come speak to us.

We have invited her to speak because her wonderful new novel, A Monster's Notes, touches on important topics for the Reading Odyssey. The monster - Frankentstein - actually reads many of the great books and ideas as he tries to figure out who he is. 

Laurie has an impressive biography including a Guggenheim Fellowship. This is her first novel after authoring several collections of poetry.

See the reviews and her biography below.


Kirkus Review

Celebrated NYC poet Sheck richly reimagine the oft-retold Frankenstein in her defiantly original debut novel, which posits that the fabricated human was Mary Shelley’s chance acquaintance, not her creation, and has lived on into the present day. 

The “monster” built by overreaching scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein has been kept alive by his hunger to understand why he was made, how his maker could have abandoned him and the role his unique history plays in the larger scheme of the known universe. In a huge gathering of fragments, somewhat reminiscent of Guy Davenport’s eclectic and erudite fictional collages, Sheck fashions  a fascinating dual narrative. Mary Shelley’s fictionalized story unfolds in communications from her mother, feminist intellectual Mary Wollstonecraft, to her father, novelist-philosopher William  Godwin; and in Mary’s own diary, notes and correspondence—replete  with anguished discussions of her marriage to poet Percy Bysshe  Shelley—with such soul mates as her half-sister Fanny and her  stepsister Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron’s mistress and herself a  gifted writer. The other narrative comprises the autodidact monster’s own “notes” on such topics relevant to his own abandoned  state as polar exploration, the space-time continuum, robotics and  other re-engineerings of natural states, and the dramatization of conflicts between appearance and reality in China’s epic 18th-century novel Dream of the Red Chamber. Initially abstruse and  puzzling, this brilliant fiction gathers both seamless coherence and  immense power as its elements draw together, punctuated by the sentient monster’s appeal to his irresponsible maker: “When you first began to make me, didn’t you set out on a course you couldn’t possibly understand?” 

Utterly astonishing and not to be missed. 

Laurie Sheck

Laurie Sheck was born in the Bronx, New York. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Captivity(Knopf, 2007), which interacts, in part, with the journals of Gerard Manley HopkinsBlack Series (2001); The Willow Grove (1996), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Io at Night (1990); and Amaranth (1981).

Her poems have been included in two volumes of Best American Poetry and three volumes of The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. She is the editor of the anthology Poem a Day, Volume 2 (Zoland, 2003). She is also the author of the hybrid work A Monster's Notes (Knopf, 2009), which re-examines the un-named monster in Mary Shelley'sFrankenstein.

About Sheck's work, the poet C.K. Williams has said, "Rarely, if ever, has the contemporary lyric been both so pure and so informed with varieties of experience." The poet Rita Dove has said, "Laurie Sheck is a modern shaman...'Listen carefully.' she whispers; and you do, because your life depends on it."

Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New Jersey State Council for the Arts. She has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Laurie Sheck has been a member of the creative writing faculty at Princeton University, and currently teaches in the M.F.A. program at the New School. She lives in New York City.

Selected Bibliography

Amaranth (Knopf, 1981)
Io at Night (1990)
The Willow Grove (1996)
Black Series (2001)
Captivity (2007)
A Monster's Notes (2009)

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On the Web

Laurie_Sheck - Baruch College - The City University of …

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Baruch College Alumni Magazine. BCAM Home; ... A Monster’s Notes, ... Sheck is the author of five books of poems, including

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Poet Laurie Sheck's new hybrid ... Poet Laurie Sheck's new hybrid work, A Monster's Notes , ... some guidance can be found in the author's own depiction of ...

A Monster's Notes by Laurie Sheck.

Jul 31, 2009 · A Monster's Notes by Laurie Sheck. ... after a conversation he had with his mother while ... in Holder’s moving poems.” — Lyn Lifshin, Author of Cold ...

Laurie Sheck | Penguin Random House Canada

Comics & Graphic Novels. Comics & Graphic Novels; Kids & Young Adult. Baby & Toddlers (0-2) Preschoolers (3-5) Early Readers (6-8)

The Willow Grove | Penguin Random House Canada

The Willow Grove by Laurie Sheck catalogue page. Skip to main content. About. History; News; Careers; Contact Us; Privacy Policy; Accessibility Policy; Bertelsmann ... / readings

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... 4 p.m. Reading: Laurie Sheck presents excerpts from A Monster’s Notes ... Sheck is the author of five books of poems, ... Fiction Writers in Conversation ...

Laurie | Politics & Prose Bookstore

... meditative narrator of Laurie Sheck’s first work ... A Monster’s Notes includes fictional letters and diary entries from members of the ... Sheck, a poet, ...

Spring 2009, CWP | NYU - Creative Writing Program | …

A Monster's Notes. Laurie Sheck. Laurie Sheck present excerpts from A Monster’s Notes (Knopf, ... Sheck is also the author of five books of poems, ...

Still alive! - LA Times

To call something "notes" means it isn't finished. It means this is less than perfect, and hence more real. The crude shape a virtue. The rough edges. Texture over ...

The Unarchivable

The fiction of poet Laurie Sheck’s novel "A Monster’s Notes ... “Ed Park's notes on 'A Monster's Notes' by Laurie Sheck: ... another conversation bleeds into ...

POETSWEDNESDAY & More: Poem-a-Day 2010

... an unfamiliar hand”), and in this climate, Shikibu wrote the verse that guaranteed her place as Japan’s major woman poet. Her famous ...

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair’s Top 10 list of Aboriginal literatures

Just begun are the so-far delicious and unconventional novelcum-literary speculation, A Monster's Notes, by poet Laurie Sheck, which revivifies Mary ... and you can join the conversation there. Also stay tuned next issue for an interview about his ...

Issuu • 7/12/2012

What We Read This Year

The poet Frederick ... way, Laurie Sheck’s “A Monster’s Notes” (Knopf) takes up the fate of Doctor Frankenstein’s creation and gives it a few good twists. For starters, the eponymous protagonist is not just a figment of an author’s fervent ...

The New Yorker • 12/16/2009

Still alive!

The crude shape a virtue. The rough edges. Texture over all. In Laurie Sheck's novel, "A Monster's Notes" (Alfred A. Knopf: 544 pp., $28), Victor Frankenstein's creation is alive and well and living in New York. Mary Shelley's creation has come unstuck in ...

Los Angeles Times • 11/20/2014