Monday, March 15, 2010
On Butler by Cliff Seiber
Pulitzer Prize winning fiction author Robert Olen Butler was entertaining during his annual (except for last year) reading in the McNeese Banners Series on Friday, Feb. 26.
He read from his latest published novel, Hell, which is humorous fantasy, satirical commentary on modern culture. He explained he has employed the “new media” (namely Twitter) in promoting the book and proceeded to read from his account, “Tweets from Hell.” You can catch up on them at http://twitter.com/tweetsfromhell and sign up for future installments.
Butler also read the first part of his next book, confessing that upon hearing himself read the piece to its first outside audience, he marked at least one a page for revision.
Also Butler on the Web: I am still trying to decide if the author is again self promoting and putting us on with his email picked up by the site gawker.com, the Washington Post and National Public Radio. The Gawker site is headlined “Elizabeth Dewberry Left Robert Olen Butler To Join Ted Turner's Collection,” novelist Dewberry being Butler's wife from 1995 to 2007. I also wonder if some of the very literary follow-up comments on Gawker may have been written by Butler himself.
News of the divorce does help explain a line from the McNeese program notes, “He lives in Capps, Florida, population one.”
The next reading co-presented by Banners and the McNeese master of fine arts in creative writing program will be by poet Allen Braden at 7 p.m. Friday, Apr 30, at McNeese. The readings are free of charge and are usually followed by a nice spread of donated refreshments. Braden is a graduate of the McNeese MFA program and teaches at Tacoma Community College in Washington. His first book will be released in the spring.
Cliff Seiber has written about Southwest Louisiana for most of his years as a newsman. His reporting and photojournalism have won many first-place awards from the Louisiana Press Association.