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Author shares surreal reflections on being mother, child

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Nov. 5, 2015 at 11:06 p.m.

Carole Maso, a professor at Brown University, responds to questions after her reading at the University of Houston-Victoria American Book Review reading series Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. CAROLINA ASTRAIN

Carole Maso, a professor at Brown University, responds to questions after her reading at the University of Houston-Victoria American Book Review reading series Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. CAROLINA ASTRAIN   test for The Victoria Advocate

As a child, the beauty of the language and the nature of the stories in the Bible riveted Carole Maso, the Brown University professor said.

"I was very taken with those rhythms and those narratives," Maso said. "They seemed to be very peculiar in a way that you would get an enigmatic fragment in a way - something you couldn't quite interpret but there it was."

Maso read parts of her book, "Mother and Child: A Novel," and from a current project, "Bay of Angels," at the University of Houston-Victoria's Alcorn Auditorium as part of the American Book Review reading series Thursday.

Maso was working to finish "Bay of Angels," when the inspiration for "Mother and Child" pulled her in a different direction.

"A huge tree fell on my house, and only the next day did I understand that there were bats in the trunk," Maso said. "This spun in me in a different way as you may imagine."

Maso was raised in Paterson, N.J., where other great writers - William Carlos Williams, Carl Solomon and Allen Ginsberg - were also from.

"There must be something in the drinking water there," said Robert Becker, a Victoria resident at Maso's reading. "Did you read those writers when you were growing because I thought I heard echoes of Ginsberg?"

It's hard to imagine in America, poets being heroes, Maso said, "but they were the local heroes."

Maso said she is old enough that William Carlos Williams was delivering babies in the next town.

"I was like damn," Maso said. "I could have been delivered by Williams Carols Williams, that would have been it."

The crowd laughed.

"For me and for many people of my generation, that was the first real immersion in poetry that really pulled us in and really made us understand that it's not just an academic pursuit but something very emotional and visceral," Becker said.


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