Daniel Levin Becker

Daniel’s piece “Index of First Lines” appeared in the first Monolith. I’m a big fan of Daniel Levin Becker. Corresponding with him has been, literally, one of my recent great pleasures. He has a smooth, translucent humor that could for some be imperceptible, but once “in the know” regarding his interests and biography, one can trace his influences quite visibly to the Oulipo (who are playful literary and mathematical experimentalists, at least that’s how I’ve felt ever since reading A Void by Perec and Zazie by Queneau – Becker has had direct experience with a handful from this literary gang during his studies in France). Beyond Daniel’s ability to make me laugh at his casual e-letter quips, his writing is conversationally ambrosial. Simply put, I feel decadent reading his work, or like I’m eating a rich meal (in a French way, not in an American way).

Below are some bits that inspired Daniel’s “Index of First Lines,” which was featured in the first issue of Monolith.

Michelle Grangaud, Geste
D.B. Wyndham Lewis & Charles Lee, eds., The Stuffed Owl
Jean-Jacques Sempé, Ames sœurs
Augusto Monterroso, Complete Works and Other Stories
Julio Cortázar, “Letter to a Young Lady in Paris”
“We weren’t really lovers at that moment, just grammarians.”
Lydia Davis, “Kafka Cooks Dinner”
“I have a story for you. Which reminds me–I mean putting it like this reminds me–of the days when we wrote our first udder-warm bubbling verse, and all things, a rose, a puddle, a lighted window, cried out to us: ‘I’m a rhyme!’ Yes, this is a most useful universe.”
Vladimir Nabokov, “That in Aleppo Once…”
“Seeing Rembrandt’s ox-sides in the meat case at the supermarket marked him as unfit for life.”
Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations
“Zooey frowned, but academically.”
J.D. Salinger, “Zooey”
“A poem should be a ringing phone inside a solid, crystal cube.”
Christian Bök

More Beckerness at http://www.dinnerlunchbreakfast.com/

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