New Issues Poetry & Prose - WMU
TitlesSubmission GuidelinesOrderingDonateAbout Us

Scott Blackwood

Scott Blackwood

Scott Blackwood grew up in Texas. His award-winning collection of stories, In the Shadow of Our House, was published by SMU Press in 2001. His fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Boston Review, and Southwest Review, and the title story from his collection is featured on the New York Times Book Review’s "First Chapters" website. Blackwood has won a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, two Texas Commission on the Arts Fellowships, and twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

www.scottblackwood.com

Also by Scott Blackwood

  • In the Shadow of Our House
 

We Agreed to Meet Just Here

We Agreed to Meet Just HereWe Agreed to Meet Just Here

$26.00 cloth | 164 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-930974-80-7
Publication Date: Feb 2009
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org

AWP Award Series in the Novel
Judge: Robert Eversz

2010 PEN USA Literary Award Finalist
Winner, The Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for best work of fiction

"We Agreed to Meet Just Here is a lyrical mystery about disappearance, told in precise and luminous prose. A young lifeguard in an Austin suburb vanishes one night while returning from a screening of The Third Man. A doctor, ill with cancer, goes missing from his home, and is later seen, bearded and ragged, wandering the aisles of a grocery store. A car is stolen, the unseen consequences tragic. One child is given up to adoption, another is lost up a tree. The absences are so keenly felt, in the drifting lucidity of the author’s sentences, that every reappearance reads like a small miracle."
       —Robert Eversz, Judge

"This little gem of a book puts on lush display Scott Blackwood's talent for measuring and connecting the previously un-connectable in lived experience, and making of it an entirely new whole which we immediately accept as true, natural, exhilarating, even inevitable. He is a lovely sentence writer, and this first novel sparkles with invention."
       —Richard Ford

"Extravagantly beautiful and yet offhand, We Agreed to Meet Just Here sweeps us along with its lush, hypnotic prose. Each of its characters is drawn to the illusion of forbidden perfection, the belief that the darkness, absence, and silence from which babies arrive and into which the dead enter is numinous proof our every wish will be fulfilled. As readers, we see what Scott Blackwood’s characters can’t see: a world so perfectly wrought every small gesture or urge matters."
       —Debra Monroe, author of Shambles

"We Agreed to Meet Just Here is not a story about redemption, and it is not a story about making peace and meaning out of terrible events. Instead, this lyrical portrait of mystery and longing functions like a piece of music—a sad piece of music that gives voice to a yearning that is both general and specific. The narrative voice alternates between the songs of soloists and the swell of the full choir."
       —Jaspar Lepak, Rain Taxi Review of Books

"A sense of imminent and unskirtable dread hangs like woodsmoke over Texas native Scott Blackwood's finely wrought first novel, We Agreed to Meet Just Here. . . . a triumph of language and atmospherics and — as we're drawn deeper into the characters' private worlds, hallucinations, and dreams — a travelogue of unfamiliar emotional terrain."
       —Mike Shea, Texas Monthly, January 2009

"Entering Blackwood’s debut novel is like plunging straight into a dense, white fog. You have to keep your arms up, because you know something is coming, even if you can’t see it. And Blackwood plumbs that sense of dreadful anticipation for all it’s worth in this numinous, abbreviated tale of suburban woe."
       —Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago / Issue 208 : Feb 19–25, 2009

"What's most amazing about We agreed to meet just here — the title pops into the hit-and-run driver's mind when Natalie, smiling, 'explodes in the Blazer's highbeams' — is Blackwood's trenchant and expedient use of ideas and language."
       —Steve Bennett, San Antonio Express-News, 1/31/2009

". . . a rich novel . . . about connection and its necessary friend, disconnection, and the title couldn’t be more apt. We Agreed to Meet Just Here tells a story that shows how we depend upon one another, though we so often let others down."
       —Chad Hammett, Texas Books in Review

Praise for In the Shadow of Our House: Stories

"Powerful. Ambitious. Blackwood is especially good at making things fit in stories that don’t seem to fit at first. Beautiful music, line by line."
       —Andre Dubus, author of Dancing After Hours

"Acute and nimble stories . . . so honest as they capture the dapple of emotions and perceptions that cross the mind like sunlight and shadow on a river."
       —Julie Gray, New York Times Book Review

"A strong debut collection about family disaster and betrayals . . . real time is revealed to be unrevealing, and characters linger like ghosts."
       —Kirkus

Selection

If you had lived long on our street, and drunk late at our parties, you would know that before retiring and moving to Texas, Odie Dodd had been a government physician in Georgetown, Guyana. Squawking through the hole in his throat where his larynx had been before the cancer, Odie would have told how Jim Jones had asked him to the People's Temple to vaccinate the children. How malaria, cholera, bacterial meningitis slept in the jungle underbrush. How his truck had overheated along the rutted jungle road and he'd arrived a half-day late. How he was the first to find the bodies, though. Families. Limbs intertwined. Mothers sprawled over children as if sheltering them from some imminent hardship. Scattered on the dirt around them, Dixie cups that had held the grape punch and cyanide. And already, of course, the smell. The uninterrupted whine of insects. At the party, Odie's hand would flatten his silver comb-over, and he'd say, with his typical British understatement, that he hadn’t known where he was for a time. That he'd wandered outside the compound and crouched in the shade of the jungle, the insect whine growing louder. In his daze, he glanced up into the canopy and for a moment it seemed it would descend on him. His scalp prickled. He called out. The feeling, he would say, was as in a dream when you know a terrible thing is about to happen but you are helpless to prevent it. But of course the thing had already happened. And then, if Odie had sipped enough scotch, and his wife Ruth had not yet touched his elbow to leave, he would have pulled you aside and asked the question he always asked of us: why was he spared? Later it would occur to you, as it did to Dennis, that Odie had not been spared. And sometimes, when you are at the edge of sleep, witnessing calamities befall your children or your own can’t-find-the-brake veering into oncoming traffic, Odie’s fleshy hole appears.