Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Women Who Write: Corinna Vallianatos

It turns out that bloggers and journalists have come up with a very striking answer to the problem of the publishing gender gap: Lady Journos! is a blog maintained by Ann Friedman that highlights the work of women journalists so that editors can find them, hire them, spread their work, et cetera. I've decided I'm going to embark on a similar crusade, first here at Uncanny Valley, then perhaps on a separate blog, to enable easier searching and browsing. 

This project has a secondary effect of getting me to read more magazines, which is a personal project I am desperately behind on. Today I'm starting with Issue #19 of The Collagist, which I've been meaning to read anyway to find out what sort of company Mike's essay is in. This first excerpt is from Corinna Vallianatos's story "Posthumous Fragments of Veronica Penn":
1999. Laundry in the washing machine. Dishes in the sink. Everything had a place where it was, and a place it should be. Dirt on the sills, dun-colored gluey mucus ringing Sylvie’s eyes. The dog looked at her, Veronica thought, reproachfully. The fur on her muzzle had gone all white. Easy to read her aging as acquiescence, each day undoing the day before. Franklin was on prostate medication that made him dizzy if he stood up quickly. Veronica’s lower abdomen had become a roadmap of veins which bulged softly from beneath her skin. The grass was ragged at the borders of the lawn. The sky threatened complete closure. Dinner was Franklin’s fried salmon and sweet potatoes to the staccato roar of the television. There was pleasure in this because it was simple, because she risked no exposure or embarrassment. Franklin cursed at the people on the screen, female newscasters in particular, and no one but Veronica could hear. Auditory head-banging. Vitriol. It offended her, but she was so thankful that she was the only one offended it was nearly okay. After tidying up the kitchen, a special on PBS. A comfortable chair. She wasn’t too proud to admit it. There was pleasure in this.

The Collagist, Issue 19 / February 2011


  1. I support this idea. Will you take suggestions/questions? Here is one that is both, but really more an expression of a problem I ran into recently:

    I recently read Monkeybicycle 7. One of my favorite pieces was a story by Elizabeth Alexander. In her bio, she lists pubs in places like Gargoyle and Prick of the Spindle, and a location in Seattle. Okay, so I searched her name and found a different writer--the Connecticut-based poet and essayist whose work was featured in the last presidential inauguration. I'm interested in finding more on the woman who wrote the story about the reincarnated time-traveling dog. The story is really wild and adventurous and goofy but also sorrowful (but not too much) and contemplative. My only critique of it is that it could have been expanded to four times its thickness.

  2. Ooh, yes, absolutely I will take suggestions, especially if they involve time-traveling dogs. I will do some investigation on her for next time.

  3. Hooray! I've never read her other stuff but am just...unusually stymied in my search for info on her because of her sharing a name with a much better known writer.