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Latest Issue of Conjunctions Explores Vast World of Animals and Features a Previously Unpublished Conversation with Beat Icon William S. Burroughs

Conjunctions:61, A Menagerie Includes an Interview with Animal Scientist Temple Grandin, as well as New Work from Such Leading Contemporary Writers as Russell Banks, Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Lynne Tillman, James Morrow, Cole Swensen, Dale P

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.– From snow leopards to kraits, lemurs to lions, okapi to eels, pigeons to dogs, rhinos to wolves, giraffes to squirrels, gators to crocodiles, cats to cows, Conjunctions:61, A Menagerie—the latest issue of the innovative literary magazine published by Bard College—gathers writings from many of today’s leading contemporary writers about the vast world of our fellow beasts who occupy the earth, oceans, and sky. A collection of fiction, essays, poems, memoirs, and dialogues, A Menagerie is coedited by Conjunctions editor, novelist, and Bard literature professor Bradford Morrow, and novelist and 2012 Bard Fiction Prize winner Benjamin Hale. The issue features a previously unpublished conversation about animals between Bradford Morrow and William S. Burroughs from 1987, an interview by Hale with animal scientist Temple Grandin, as well as new fiction, essays, and poetry from, among others, Russell Banks, Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Lynne Tillman, James Morrow, Cole Swensen, Dale Peterson, Kyoko Mori, Frederic Tuten, Terese Svoboda, and Paul Lisicky.

“Sharing a deep interest in animals and having both worked on books in which they play central roles, we decided to approach a number of very different authors with the simple proposal that they write about an animal of their choice,” write Morrow and Hale. “The choices—not only of subjects but of forms in which the works are composed—were more diverse than either of us expected, resulting in a literary bestiary of delightful range.”

Morrow recalls his longtime friend William S. Burroughs as a “born animal behaviorist” with a great love of cats, lemurs, and beasts of all kinds. During a visit to Burroughs’ home in Lawrence,Kansas, in April 1987, Morrow decided to record one of his conversations with the Beat icon, only to find out later, when he returned to New York, that the quality of the recording was so poor that it was inaudible. It was only when the decision was made to devote an issue of Conjunctions to animals that Morrow went searching for the tape and, with the help of his friend Dan Grigsby, a sound engineer and audio restoration expert, was able to improve the quality of the recording enough to transcribe it.

“Anyone I have ever known who met William unvaryingly found him to be a true gentleman, gracious and sharp-witted, an irrepressible, knowledgeable raconteur of the first order,” writes Morrow, recalling that, during his stay in Lawrence, Burroughs was in fine form and had taught him how to throw knives into the wooden siding of his backyard garage and introduced him to a man who made walking sticks from bull pizzles. “As the reader will see, the conversation is freewheeling and extemporaneous, but William’s elemental genius, the distinctive way he viewed the world around him and all the beasts in it, humans included, shines through.”

In addition to the writers mentioned above, A Menagerie also features new work from Emily Anderson, Martine Bellen, Rebecca Bridge, Edward Carey, H. G. Carrillo, Susan Daitch, Monica Datta, Craig Eklund, Kevin Holden, Nora Khan, Michael Parrish Lee, Sandra Meek, Gwyneth Merner, Adam McOmber, Henri Michaux, Sarah Minor, Andrew Mossin, Janis E. Rodgers, Dan Rosenberg, 2014 Bard Fiction Prize winner Bennett Sims, Sallie Tisdale, Wil Weitzel, and renowned animal behaviorist Vint Virga.

Conjunctions is edited by Bradford Morrow and published twice yearly by Bard College.

To order a copy, call the Conjunctions office at 845-758-7054, e-mail or write to Conjunctions, Bard College, P. O. Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000. Visit the Conjunctions website at


[Note to editors: To obtain review copies, please call Mark Primoff at 845-758-7412 or e-mail]

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This event was last updated on 10-29-2013