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Gary Lutz

Writer
Born Allentown, PA, 1921
Lives in Greensburg, PA

The grant encouraged me to depart more boldly from the conventions of the literary marketplace and to pursue my pieces as concentrations of verbal matter rather than as traditional narratives and stories.

Gary Lutz, January 2000

Biography

Gary Lutz is a writer known for his short stories. With the support of his 1999 Grants to Artists award, he revised previous works and wrote new pieces. Stories in the Worst Way (1996, 2002, 2009), Partial List of People to Bleach (2007), and I Looked Alive (2003, 2010) were all FCPA-supported. He has since released Divorcer (2011), a collection of short stories.

His work has also appeared in literary magazines and journals such as Tin House, Conjunctions, NOON, McSweeney's, The Believer, Chicago Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Denver Quarterly, The Quarterly, Salt Hill, New York Tyrant, Dominion Review, Mid-American Review, Post Road, Slate.com, StoryQuarterly, and the Cimarron Review. Subsequent to receiving his 1999 Grants to Artists award, Lutz's work has been included in the anthologies Anchor Book of New American Short Stories (2004), Prose Poetry/Flash Fiction: An Anthology (2006), The Apocalypse Reader (2007), and A Best of Fence: The First Nine Years (2009).

Lutz received a B.A. from Kutztown State College in Pennsylvania in 1977 and an M.A. from Ohio University in 1979. He is the recipient of a 1996 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, in 2010 he was a writer in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, and he has also been a visiting writer at Syracuse University and the University of Kansas. From 1997-2000 he edited fiction for 5 Trope, an online journal of experimental poetry and prose. He is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

Artist Statement

I am interested in prose and poetry in which virtually every sentence has the force and feel of a climax, in which almost every sentence is a vivid extremity of language, an abruption, a definitive inquietude. I am interested in steep verbal topographies, writing in which the sentence is a complete, portable solitude, a minute immediacy of consummated language—the sort of sentence that, even when liberated from its receiving context, impresses itself upon the eye and the ear as a totality, an omnitude, unto itself. I am interested only in books that a reader can open to any page and find in every paragraph sentences that have been worked and reworked until their forms and contours and their organizations of sound have about them an air of having been foreordained—as if this combination of words could no longer be improved upon and has finished readying itself for infinity.

2014