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Little: Novels by Emily Anderson reviewed in Ploughshares Blog

Emily-Cov-lgerLittle: Novels
Emily Anderson
BlazeVOX, August 2015
158 pp; $20

Buy: paperback

The vogue for erasure poems continues, which is good news. Done skillfully, the erasure poem encompasses what Samuel Johnson called “the two most engaging powers of an author: new things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new.” Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager discovers within Kurt Waldheim’s anodyne autobiography the confession that ought to have been there; Ronald Johnson’s RADI OS (the genre’s great progenitor) finds an eerie new visionary melody within the organ music of Paradise Lost.

Emily Anderson’s Little starts from texts that, in some quarters, are as familiar as and perhaps even more beloved than those of Joyce or Milton: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Housebooks. In our time, in the light of what the United States’ imperial westward drive meant to native peoples and to the environment, the books are vulnerable to several kinds of political critique. I can also attest, however (having discovered the books as an adult, reading the whole series aloud twice, once to each daughter), that they have a plainspoken poetry, a clarity of detail, and a psychological acuity that earn them a spot not far from Huckleberry Finn on the shelf of our compromised national classics.

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Little: Novels by Emily Anderson Now Available!

I can't remember the last time I read something so familiar and unsettling--like meeting someone you love after they come back from a long journey wearing differently-colored eyes. Like if H.P. Lovecraft had had a hand in writing The Book of Common Prayer. It's playful, and frightening, and truer, somehow, than the original.

—Mallory Ortberg, Texts from Jane Eyre

A virtuosic display of wit, humor, and surreal beauty. Like the erasures of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes and Yedda Morrison’s Darkness, Emily Anderson’s partially masticated reimaginings of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series gets inside the logic of its source text. With uncanny insight, Little reveals what had always been simmering just beneath these novels’ familiar surfaces. (Mostly doughnuts and motherbutter).

—Jesse Miller, reviews editor, Full Stop

Apple cheeked readers who curled up with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books as children and cheered the little family and their epic industriousness, please be forewarned. Anderson’s devilish re-writing exhumes and animates a series of haunting and sometimes disturbingly funny sub-narratives. Delving deep into the American psyche, Little will leave you wondering how you missed the “Certificate to Missouri” clutched in your complicit little hand. What else have you squandered? Who else have you “loved?”

—Yedda Morrison, Darkness, Crop, and Girl Scout Nation

Come for the Michael Landon Flip Book; stay for the richly rewoven story that excavates hidden moments in Little House on the Prairie and pays playful homage to fan favorites like prairie bitch Nellie Oleson. Little is a new classic, skillfully foraging Laura Ingalls Wilder's much-loved series to create an (ir)reverent rereading that pioneers the new frontier of Little House on the Prairie in the 21st-century.

—Alison Fraser, Animalia

Emily Anderson’s writing has appeared recently in Harper’s, Conjunctions, and Fence. She often collaborates with visual artists; video work created with Jen Morris has been screened in Vermont, Philadelphia, and Spain. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University at Buffalo.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 158 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-132-0



Little- Novels by Emily Anderson Book Preview

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Here is a poem By Emily Anderson in Harpers!



READINGS — From the January 2015 issue

How I Ate My Mother

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By Emily Anderson, from “Three Little Novels,” published in Conjunctions: 63. Anderson erased portions of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books to “create an alternative series.” Anderson’s first book, Little: Novels, is forthcoming from BlazeVOX

Check out the full poem here:

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Photos on flickr