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Author Archive: "Anthony Swofford"

From the Land of Crab and Snow

From Seattle, land of crab and snow. Took an early flight from San Francisco, fell asleep instantly, woke up as we touched down in Seattle and I was totally confused... snow? Had we been redirected to Denver?

Do we like our Seattle with snow? I miss the rain! The slickers! The sodden and downtrodden.

What is the best Seattle book?

I am a big fan of Richard Hugo's The Real West Marginal Way. It's a lovely autobiography that was compiled, if I recall correctly, after the poet's death though in process while he was still alive. For those of you unaware, in south Seattle there is a street named West Marginal Way, the street that the poet Richard Hugo grew up on. What is Acorn Enterprises at
7245 W Marginal Way SW?

I bet The Real West Marginal Way is out of print, but it shouldn't be.

Hugo also wrote one of the finest books on teaching writing, The Triggering Town.

And he worked at Boeing.

What do you do in Seattle? I'll go to the library. ...


Coffee and Novels

It's a few minutes past midnight in New York and I just got back from dinner after my reading. The reading went well. Met a man whose father had been a Colonel in the USMC and wrote a book called The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. Anyone ever hear of it? Also a young guy recently returned from Iraq and out of the Army who is at school at Columbia and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. It's nice to be out and reading and talking to people. The Q&A and signing after the reading are the more dynamic experience of the evening for me.

One of my students from the Tin House Summer Writing Festival also attended, Yvonne Garrett. So, another PDX connection.

I think it takes two people to find a Portland connection. Maybe just one.

The other day I was at my favorite coffee spot in NYC, Café Grumpy, new to Chelsea where I live and the best damn coffee in the city. And, can you believe it, they have those punch cards where nine drinks buys you a free tenth, so, ...


Bush, Bowling, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Abs

Yes, it's true: we bowled at Hoe Bowl on the Hill in Kingston, NY. It was Leroy versus Midge in a comical display of poor bowling talent. The eighth graders next to us rolled strikes and spares with under-the-leg and behind the back moves that would make a Globetrotter seethe with envy, and we were in lane 1, Gutter Ball Central. But, hell, it is a fun game. And, oh yeah, I won. Match 1: Leroy 101, Midge 76. Match 2: Leroy 124, Midge 96. Match three: Leroy 130, Midge 54. Midge really took a turn to the south in the third match and by the fourth game of the third match Leroy too was fully of the gutter. Perhaps it was the fries that killed our games. But an hour and a half of family fun for less than thirty dollars? Where else does that happen but at the Hoe Bowl on the Hill?

In response to Lara's post: I'm a big fan of the movie of my book Jarhead. It only took ...


The Morality of Bowling

No Agnolotti, after all. Ate pizza in Hudson. Tried to find a bowling alley with open lanes but Monday is a big league night in the Hudson Valley. No lanes open at any of the bowling alleys. I must confess: I have never bowled a three hundred game. My friend Cliff Hall, whom I've known since third grade when I beat him in the fifty yard dash and then we got into a fistfight, has a ring from a three hundred game he once bowled. He might have a few of those. I consider 160 a good, solid score. But I haven't bowled in about a decade. I'm not sure why Teresa and I decided that tonight might be a nice night to knock down some pins. Where is all of this going? To Tokyo. In kindergarten my friend Toby and I were hanging out in the parking lot of the Tachikawa Air Force Base Bowling Alley while our mothers spent the early afternoon sipping Miller and rolling gutter balls. At some point Toby decided it would be a good idea for us to go inside ...


Food and Movies and Books

It's great to return to virtual Portland via Powells.com! (It's my understanding that punctuation one would not normally use in prose is acceptable on the blog, for instance, the exclamation point! Which I rarely use! More on the exclamation point later!) I first visited Powell's in 1995 on a road trip from Sacramento to Vancouver with my girlfriend at the time, Sachiko Tamura, who worked for me on my novel Exit A as a research assistant. On that first trip I bought three Dennis Schmitz poetry collections, only one of which I can remember the title, String. String is such a great title for a book. Someday I will write a book called String.

Sachiko's father's butcher shop makes a cameo in Exit A. It's actually located in Chiba City, but in the novel I place it in Tachikawa. Speaking of butchers and meat, I spent most of the weekend cooking. Saturday I made pasta from scratch and a lamb Ragu from a Mario Batali cookbook. I find cooking nearly as satisfying as writing ...


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