Duplicity, Truth, & Community, Or: How Do We Navigate Institutions? — A Night with Lucy Ives Celebrating Her New Novel LOUDERMILK
With Magdalena Edwards and Michael Scott Moore
Loudermilk: Or, the Real Poet; Or, the Origin of the World (Soft Skull Press)
A tale of two idiots--the handsome, charismatic Troy Augustus Loudermilk and his unassuming, socially anxious friend Harry Rego--who, in the early days of the new millennium, scam their way into a fellowship at the most prestigious creative writing program in the country.
It's the end of summer 2003. George W. Bush has recently declared the mission in Iraq accomplished, the unemployment rate is at its highest in years, and Martha Stewart has just been indicted for insider trading. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Midwest, Troy Augustus Loudermilk (fair-haired, statuesque, charismatic) and his companion Harry Rego (definitely none of those things) step out of a silver Land Cruiser and onto the campus of The Seminars, America's most prestigious creative writing program, to which Loudermilk has recently been accepted for his excellence in poetry. Loudermilk, however, has never written a poem in his life.
Wickedly entertaining, beguiling, layered, and sly, Loudermilk is a social novel for our time: a comedy of errors that deftly examines class, gender, and inheritance, and subverts our pieties about literature, authorship, art making, and the institutions that sustain them.
Praise for Loudermilk
"Lucy Ives is as deeply funny and ferocious a writer as they come. She's also humane and philosophical when it matters most. I love Loudermilk." --Sam Lipsyte, author of Hark and The Ask
"Ives' satirical masterpiece follows poet Troy Augustus Loudermilk, a shallow Adonis recently admitted to the nation's premiere creative-writing graduate program, located in the heart of America's starchy middle . . . Laugh-out-loud funny and rife with keen cultural observations, Ives' tale is a gloriously satisfying critique of education and creativity." --Booklist (starred review)
"The nuanced subversion of tropes and full-throttle self-indulgence of Ives's writing lend a manic glee to this slyly funny and deeply intelligent novel." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Half gonzo grad school satire featuring these two princes among men, half theoretical inquiry into the nature of writing and reality . . . Wonder Boys meets Cyrano de Bergerac meets Jacques Lacan meets Animal House. Something for everyone."--Kirkus Reviews
"Hilarious, pointed, perfectly executed . . . Ives manages to subvert all expectations, and offers up one of the slyest, smartest looks at what it means to be a writer I've read; her every sentence sings, and they're songs I'll return to again and again." --Kristin Iversen, NYLON
"[Ives] has a fondness for wordplay, and moves between registers to comic effect." --Adam Wilson, 4Columns
"Ives's new novel is one of the funniest in recent memory, stuffed with jabs at writers and toxic masculinity, bluntly yonic allusions, and feuilleton-esque prose that prances on page . . . What Ives is playing with here is not just beautiful sentences and humorous situations, it's the disharmony felt at the core of our experiences . . . Though the empirical distinctions between prose and poetry are often illusory, Ives finds a way to make her prose both a kind of communication--as is expected--as well as a construction of satire. Her words linger longer than normal trade, and find ways to avoid their disintegration, as if the must of a punchline is more lasting, more fragrant; words this eloquently framed and humorous imprint, and, often enough, hold us in their absurdity." --Thomas Hrycyk, The Adroit Journal
"With Loudermilk, Lucy Ives weaves a wryly comic tale set in the insular, masturbatory world of a Midwest MFA program. Dissecting ideas around authenticity, status, and the chronic wish for fame or legacy that plagues or drives aspiring writers and established authors/professors alike, Ives tears down the curtain to unveil the wizard--and here all the characters are implicated in operating the clunky machinery that creates then lionizes the concept of merit or talent in the academic/literary world. In Loudermilk, the mundanity of the graduate writing program takes on a mythical air; Ives's hapless or conniving characters are masterfully written as program archetypes doomed to wander the halls of the seminars at Crete, shuffling from workshop to workshop, foolishly or laboriously trying to locate whatever they think it means to be a writer. The result is this wildly smart novel that hilariously exposes its characters as they try to vault or cement themselves into some literary canon and/or ivory tower, unaware that the canon/tower is an ever-vanishing mausoleum wherein living writers go to get stuck, or lost, or to scrawl their names and draw butts and boobs on the walls." --Jen George, author of The Babysitter at Rest
Lucy Ives is the author of the novel Impossible Views of the World. Her writing has appeared in Art in America, Artforum, the Baffler, frieze, Granta, Lapham’s Quarterly, Vogue, and at newyorker.com. For five years she was an editor with the online magazine Triple Canopy. A graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she holds a PhD in comparative literature from New York University. She currently teaches in the Image Text interdisciplinary MFA program at Ithaca College, as well as at NYU’s Center for Experimental Humanities. She is the recipient of a 2018 Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.
Magdalena Edwards is a writer, actor, and translator from Spanish & Portuguese. Her work has appeared in Boston Review, The Paris Review Daily, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Rattle, The Critical Flame, Words Without Borders, and Chile’s leading newspaper, El Mercurio. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA and a BA in Social Studies from Harvard. More at www.magdalenaedwards.com and on Twitter @magda8lena and Instagram at @msmagda8lena
Michael Scott Moore is a journalist and a novelist, author of a comic novel about L.A., Too Much of Nothing, as well as a travel book about surfing, Sweetness and Blood, which was named a best book of 2010 by The Economist. He’s won Fulbright, Logan, and Pulitzer Center grants for his nonfiction; Yaddo and MacDowell Colony fellowships for his fiction. He grew up in California, but worked for several years as an editor and writer at Spiegel Online International in Berlin. Mr. Moore was kidnapped in early 2012 on a reporting trip to Somalia and held hostage by pirates for 32 months. The Desert and the Sea, a memoir about that ordeal, is out now from HarperCollins. He’s covered the European migration crisis for Businessweek, and politics, travel, and literature for The Atlantic, Der Spiegel, GQ, The New York Times, LitHub, The New Republic, Pacific Standard, The L.A. Times, The Daily Beast, The L.A. Review of Books, and many others.
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