Explorations of language and the mind using anaphora, the Ginsbergian breath-centered line, and the oracular voice. In the tradition of Walter Abish’s Alphabetical Africa, Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style, and Félix Fénéon’s Novels in Three Lines, Thirty-One Octets is an intricate exploration of an invented literary form. Spontaneous in their language, the Octets are also compellingly human in the way they map our journey through the world, with all its confusions and unexpected epiphanies.
Published by CW Books in November, 2014 (ISBN-13: 978-1625491084) and available now at Barnes & Noble, Powell's, and Amazon.
Thirty-One Octets: Incantations and Meditations
"Steven Wingate's Thirty-One Octets is an original, genre-bending joy. Out of the flux these sentences seem to utter themselves with shameless eloquence, playful erudition and fierce satire. You won't find another book remotely like it."
—David Mason, author of Ludlow and Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade
“In the wild territories between aphorism and narrative, populated by Edmond Jabes, E.M. Cioran, Joe Brainard, Stephen Crane, Malcolm de Chazal, and others, Steven Wingate settles his most passionate, and introspective work, written with honesty and power, a set of Octets to sip at with pleasure, and to let inform your leisure.”
—Steve Katz, author of Swanny's Ways and Antonello's Lion
“It’s easy to get swept up in Steven Wingate’s good humor and his ability to embrace life’s absurdities. This poetry is more than entertaining. It doesn’t break down our most necessary bafflements; instead, it reaches for them with tenderness.”
—Elizabeth Robinson, author of The Orphan & Its Relations and Counterpart
“Wingate’s multiplying runs of words (a joy in and of themselves) search tirelessly for the word or words that will unlock the ineffable even as they admit the difficulty, perhaps impossibility of knowing our own minds, let alone the infinitely-faceted world.”
—Robert Cording, author of Walking with Ruskin and A Word in My Mouth
The Birth of Trigonometry in the Bones of Olduvai
This prose poem chapbook, published by Finishing Line Press in October, 2013, brings together fifteen years of occasional work in the prose poem form—one I have always loved, and that has kept me in touch with the essence of writing even more than fiction has. (You can see a couple of samples, from a special issue of Mississippi Review on the prose poem, here). This is what a couple of authors I admire have said about the book.
“Steven Wingate’s poems read like screams from fallen angels disgusted to find themselves mucking around on the muddy, hopeless earth. His dark multiplicity of images creates the chilling, fantastical and otherworldly spirit of a Hieronymus Bosch painting filtered through a 21st century intellect. “When the last of those teachers has perished we will be swept from this earth and deposited at the farthest extremities of the universe, useless even to ourselves and unfit for any cause save destruction.” Wingate writes like that last teacher howling lessons into the “farthest extremities of the universe,” while the dark winds wipe the slate clean.”
—Peter Conners, author of Growing Up Dead and Of Whiskey and Winter
“Wingate’s is the voice of a 21st Century Jeremiah, fist raised against our corrupt milieu, heckling the multitudes who sustain it. But to say only this is to flatten the nuance that flares in the voice of this supplicant seeker. The strength of his critique resides in his candor about himself. An archetypal everyman, he points out the money lenders’ contradictions and his own, poking the darkness around us and calling out the truth: both devils and winged angels have come bearing this same message.”
—Marilyn Krysl, author of Swear the Burning Vow> and Dinner with Osama
The Birth of Trigonometry in the Bones of Olduvai is available direct from Finishing Line Press, as well as Amazon. Hope you'll read and enjoy!
A Mariner Original from Houghton Mifflin (2008)
Winner of the Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize in Fiction from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
Thirteen short stories about American men in various stages of the search for love. Some find it, some walk past it, some let it slip away.
"Strongly imagined,often deeply moving fiction from a gifted writer who seems to know us better than we know ourselves."
"Brilliantly rendered and achingly true and full of the yearning for connection to the Other that defines our humanity. This is a splendid debut by an important new voice in American fiction."
—Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"What makes these studies in discovery and disillusionment so startling and affecting is the energy of Steven Wingate's language, and the agency of his characters . . . . The stories in Wifeshopping expand with subsequent readings; they do not end on the page, but continue in a reader's mind."
—Amy Hempel, author of The Dog of the Marriage and Tumble Home (from the foreword)
"Wingate is a fine storyteller and a writer capable of exciting flights of language.... It makes me hope we'll see more books from him."
—Steve Almond, Los Angeles Times