Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

“Novels the Length of Nosebleeds?”

SHARE THIS

I ‘m always on the look out for ideas that help me imagine what the “brittle” in Brittle Paper means. I found a statement made by Sara Levine, a writer from Illinois.  Her short story, “The Following Fifteen Things, A Love Story,” is the quirkiest love story  I ever read. Anyway the quote I found could easily be one of the prettiest statements ever made about short writings:

“I’m a prose writer chiefly of short forms such as the essay, the story, the prose poem, the aphorism, and the character. I am a big fan of a certain kind of littleness: essays the size of handkerchiefs, novels the length of nosebleeds, philosophies reduced to paragraphs, conclusions detached from tedious arguments, epics scribbled on the back of a hand, tall tales, but only in bare feet.”

— Read full profile interview at She Writes.

Novels the length of nosebleeds? Seriously, pause and think about that for a minute. Did Nietzsche not say that the only way to write is to write with blood? And did you know that Nietzsche’s so-called blood writings were aphorisms? Let’s ignore the fact that Nietzsche”s sense of what an aphorism means is deeply philosophical, complicated, and far from the dictionary definition of aphorisms. Yet there is a link between writing, blood as a figure of violence, and brevity that I think is worth holding on to.  I really don’t know what to make of it. It all just seems so fascinating. Right at this moment, I am calling to mind Ben Okri‘s stokus and poetic essays:

A stoku is an amalgam of short story and haiku. It is story as it inclines toward a flash of a moment, insight, vision or paradox.

“A Note on Form” from the book Tales of Freedom

On the “poetic essay:”

“Poetic essay… should be an essay with the brevity and spring of poetry.

Read full interview at Granta

 

On Facebook the other day, people were making fun of Okri’s stokus, saying it was just another one of his La La philosophies. Nevertheless, what I think we can take away from Okri, and Levine as well, is the desire to invent new forms and new ways of giving shape to ideas.

 

 

 

Photo Credit:

Levine: The Parlor

Tags: , , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

One Response to ““Novels the Length of Nosebleeds?”” Subscribe

  1. Chibuzor June 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    . . . Which i think is right im every sense-your conclusions!

    Just the other day, I was talking via fb chat with the reknown art critic, Sir. Ikhide, on the actual existence of prose poetry, and he told me amongst other things that he does believe in the existence of prose poetry as a form of art, whilst, many a great number of scholar would be quick to stub out the prose poetry as an art of expression which has never taken form.

    And, pa Ikh did a great job of ‘jazzy blues’ – a poem which takes ön the form of prose poetry.

    I salute!

Leave a Reply to Chibuzor

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Nnedi Okorafor’s LaGuardia Wins 2020 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story or Comic

Nnedi Okorafor's LaGuardia Wins 2020 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story or Comic (3)

Nigeria’s Nnedi Okorafor is on a roll! Barely two weeks since bagging an Eisner Award, Okarafor wins the coveted Hugo […]

Ugandan Novelist Jennifer Makumbi on All-Female Short Story Prize Longlist

Jennifer Makumbi on All-Female Short Story Prize Longlist

Celebrated Ugandan author Jennifer Makumbi is on the longlist of the 2020 Edge Hill Short Story Prize for her debut […]

Is Oedipus Rex a Form of Detective Fiction? — Watch Episode 5 of Prof. Ato Quayson’s Vlog

Is Oedipus Rex a Form of Detective Fiction_ --- Watch Episode 5 of Prof. Ato Quayson's Vlog

The fifth episode of Professor Ato Quayson’s vlog Critic.Reading.Writing is up! As the literary vlog enters its fifth week, Quayson […]

Wole Soyinka Writes Letter of Solidarity for Detained Humanist Mubarak Bala

Soyinka2

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has never hesitated to speak out in the face of injustice. He recently penned a letter […]

Kenyan Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Ghanaian American Playwright Jocelyn Bioh Collaborating on a Disney+ Project

once on this island wanuri kahiu joselyn bioh (1)

Wanuri Kahiu will direct the Disney+ film adaptation of the Broadway musical, Once on This Island, reports Hollywood Reporter. Ghanaian-American […]

Treasure is a New Novella by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Braithwaite3

Calling all fans of My Sister, the Serial Killer! Oyinkan Braithwaite has a new novella out. Titled Treasure, the book […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.