Friend of WordTheatre Stuart Dybek is a renaissance writer whose most recent collections, Streets in Their Own Ink: Poems, Paper Lantern: Love Stories, and Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories were published in 2014. Dybek is such a prolific writer that The Atlantic described him as “a sprinter—if not the Usain Bolt of the short story.” The author captures the written word in the span of the short story that is truly impressive. We are proud to announce that Dybek will be featured in the fall for WordTheatre’s event, Stuart Dybek and his Stories on October 25 in Venice, CA.

Stuart Dybek, as much a poet as a prose stylist, told GQ regarding his verse that “I like to think they

[poems] reach for that space between the narrative and the lyrical. One of the things I like is that, if they don’t work, you only put the reader through a page and a half, not 455 pages of an experimental novel that falls flat on its face. And maybe there is enough beauty in that page and a half to justify it.”

In an interview with The New York Times, when asked whether he agreed that the term ‘poetic’ best described his body of work, Dybek replied, “[…] perhaps the more precise word for describing my writing would be ‘lyrical,’ which is a strong element in the stories of writers I love […] Eudora Welty, James Joyce, Italo Calvino, Kafka. They all have a strong lyrical component to their narrative, but they also were great storytellers. Their writing, too, has been considered ‘undiagnosable.’ We think lyrically when we dream, and another word for lyrical is associative thinking. Lyrical thinking is a sort of emotional intelligence that can’t be measured, and it can be applied whether writing poetry or fiction. A metaphor is the quintessential unit of lyrical or associative thinking and a powerful tool for a writer.”

Reflecting on other tools for writers, the author of Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories explained his philosophy of writing in an interview with The Nashville Review when he said, “The goal of the writing here, as in Proust, is to do that impossible thing, which is to go back where the dead are and recreate some experience whose fuel we’re still running on, even if it’s just fumes. Fiction gives the writer the opportunity to actually create memory on the page the way we experience it in our lives […] There’s a huge price to be paid in terms of immediacy; in terms of sensual impact. Writers are always swimming upstream against that. But there are also some gains: one of them is agility. You can travel in fiction at the speed of thought. By a simple transition, sometimes even one word, you can propel a reader between past and present.”

For as long as I’ve been here at WordTheatre, I can attest that there is always a Stuart Dybek book open. This week it was Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories on the table, joyfully being read by our staff in the office. We urge you to dive inside Stuart Dybek’s latest trio of timeless literary collections: Streets in Their Own Ink: Poems, Paper Lantern: Love Stories and Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories. After reading this flourishing writer’s wonderful work, we look forward to seeing you at WordTheatre’s Stuart Dybek and his Stories event on October 25 in Venice, CA.