Thursday, May 21, 2020
Saturday, May 09, 2020
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Praise for Horses All Over Hell (Wipf & Stock).
“With a forceful grasp of character and pitch-perfect dialogue, Ryan Blacketter brings us a deftly woven collection of stories about love and survival in a troubled, yet enduring, American family . . . Horses All Over Hell is a heartbreaking new book from a master of modern American fiction.”
—Ernest Hilbert, author of Last One Out, book critic for Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Dust jacket blurb.
"Horses All Over Hell is an enthralling collection of interrelated stories."
--David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy
—Mary Clearman Blew, author of Jackalope Dreams and Ruby Dreams of Janis Joplin, Professor emerita, University of Idaho
“Reading Horses All Over Hell I experienced a stark, poetic American realism in a manner I haven't in a long time. Blacketter's prose calls to mind Joan Didion, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Flannery O'Connor, and Larry Brown, as he bluntly and beautifully lays out the saga of a family dealing with addiction and dogma.”
—Christian Winn, author of Naked Me
"[Ryan] has a marvelous eye for the emotional textures of the most commonplace experience, the kind that familiarity makes almost subliminal."
--Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping
"Ryan's writing is excellent. He often explores sympathetic treatment of characters when least expected."
--Chris Offutt, author of The Good Brother.
"Ryan Blacketter is an exquisite craftsman. In Horses All Over Hell,
he deftly creates psychological characters who inhabit a landscape
recognizable as an Idaho gone wrong, a remembered Eden poisoned by its
—John Rember, author of Traplines and 100 Little Pieces on the End of the World
Praise for Down in the River (Slant Books). Oregon Book.
“A heartbreaking, macabre pilgrimage.” –Paste Magazine
“Even as Lyle runs toward trouble and danger, his youthful optimism, however delusory it might be, flickers in these pages, compelling the reader to journey deeper into night, in search of hope and redemption.” --The Rumpus
“Dark and grisly, it’s a novel that holds both popular appeal and deeper intellectual pleasures, one you can recommend to friends who read only an occasional Stephen King novel or those who read the most lauded literary fiction.” --Fiction Writers Review
“Ryan Blacketter's Down in the River is an impressive debut novel that effectively tackles themes of mental illness and grief.” --Largehearted Boy
"A remarkable, darkly startling and endearing debut novel." --The Quivering Pen
"I can't remember when I've liked a character as much as I like young Lyle Rettew, or when I've cheered one on so hard, despite the fact that he's clearly crazy and his quest is doomed." --Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy and Other Stories
"Blacketter's prose is paired with the torque of a plot that lives and moves like an indomitable engine. This difficult and necessary story is inbreathed with a ferocity that leaves the reader shaken." --Shann Ray, author of American Masculine
"I was completely enthralled by this haunting, page-turning novel. The disturbing events, the evocative landscape, and the chaos of mental disorder self-medicated by drugs and rebellion are all rendered in humanizing, beautifully-rendered realism."
"Down in the River is a startling, disturbing, and ultimately entrancing novel, a fever dream that astounds and never sits still for a moment, breathlessly played out in the sad twilight between the innocence of childhood and the despair of age, life lived on the last edges of love and loyalty strained to their limits."
"Set in Eugene, Down in the River is both a sympathetic depiction of bipolar disorder and a macabre take on youth culture."
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Apart from discussing these authors’ books—A Moveable Feast, The Writing Life, Reading Like A Writer, On Becoming a Novelist, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, and Bird by Bird—we’ll commit to a daily habit of reading and writing.
This class encourages fiction that, like all good writing, takes emotional risks. This riskiness sets literature apart from the dishonesty of bad books, TV, and movies. Workshop is not confession, but in the privacy of their writing rooms students might begin to tell personal stories that perhaps they have only told about other people.
"Tell everything on yourself," Raymond Carver urged. Virginia Woolf would have agreed: "If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people." Yet we will never assume anything in a story actually happened to the writer. Rigorous storytelling, of course, evolves into fiction, blurring and even obliterating its source material.
We will read published stories as models. Amy Hempel writes of a woman who abandons a close friend dying of cancer, and confronts the aftermath of her choice. Thom Jones explores one soldier’s psychological territory of war, aggression, and epileptic torment, in which “illness” provokes dark illuminations of self and humanity.
We will read the short stories of Ernest Hemingway as writers, applying his mastery of craft to our own fiction. Hemingway is still the most influential writer of our time. His literary principles are universal. He was no minimalist, nor a mere innovator of style. Writers around the world claim him as their greatest teacher, including such talents as Albert Camus, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Frederick Barthelme, and John Updike.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Friday, November 15, 2019
The Rumpus: "[Down in the River] casts us deep into a haunting, crystalline forest of ice-lit trees, broken streetlamps . . . a place where a kind of inner wilderness has crept back through the city, where the lights of passing trains, the reflections of windows and the 'cry of night birds' appear intermittently like forms of meaningless chaos or secret signs." The Rumpus
Largehearted Boy is one of America's finest sites for contemporary music and literature. Presented here is the narrated playlist Ryan made to go along with Down in the River. Ryan's LHB Book Notes Playlist