Everything and More: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace, Reading 1, 16 March 2011 – Video

Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 16, 2011.

David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) was one of the most acclaimed and influential American writers of his generation. A gifted novelist, essayist and humorist, he is best known for his 1996 opus, the novel Infinite Jest. His other books include his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987), followed by the short story collections Girl With Curious Hair (1989) and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999), the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997) and Consider the Lobster (2005), and the nonfiction work Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (2003). He received a Whiting Writers’ Award in 1987, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction in 1996, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997. Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, educated at Amherst College, and lived for many years in Illinois. He taught creative writing at Pomona College in Claremont, California, from 2002 until his death in 2008.

book cover graphic An evening in celebration of the life and work of DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (1962-2008). Writers David Lipsky, Rick Moody, and Joanna Scott will read some of their favorite selections from Wallace’s writings followed by an in depth discussion moderated by Michael Silverblatt, host of the radio interview program, Bookworm.

Abstraction has all kinds of problems and headaches built in, we all know. Part of the hazard is how we use nouns. We think of nouns’ meanings in terms of denotations. Nouns stand for things–man, desk, pen, David, head, aspirin. A special kind of comedy results when there’s confusion about what’s a real noun, as in ‘Who’s on first?’ or those Alice in Wonderland routines–’What can you see on the road?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘What great eyesight! What does nothing look like?’ The comedy tends to vanish, though, when the nouns denote abstractions, meaning general concepts divorced from particular instances. Many of these abstraction-nouns come from root verbs. ‘Motion’ is a noun, and ‘existence’; we use words like this all the time. The confusion comes when we try to consider what exactly they mean.
– From Everything and More.

Rick Moody has been celebrated in America for twenty years for his work in fiction, nonfiction, and short stories. His first novel, Garden State (1992), was the winner of the 1991 Editor’s Choice Award from the Pushcart Press. His second, The Ice Storm, was published in May 1994. Many novels and collections of novellas and short fiction and a memoir have followed to much acclaim including The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven (1995), Demonology (2001), and Right Livelihoods (2007). Moody’s latest novel, The Four Fingers of Death, was released in 2010. He is the secretary of the PEN American Center, NY, and he co-founded the Young Lions Book Award at the New York Public Library. He has taught at the State University of New York at Purchase, the Bennington College Writing Seminars, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the New School for Social Research. Moody was born in New York City, attended Brown and Columbia Universities, and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Rick Moody Bio and Cross Links

Additional photos of this event are available on Flickr.

You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website.