Paul Lisicky is the author of Lawnboy, Famous Builder, and The Burning House. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, Fence, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Story Quarterly, and many other magazines and anthologies. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he's the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he was twice a fellow. He is currently the New Voices Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers-Camden. A memoir, The Narrow Door, is forthcoming in 2014. (Author photo by Star Black)
“This is meant to be the story of all lives, though I'm talking about one in particular,” Lisicky writes, and if the goal of Unbuilt Projects is “to be the story of all lives,” Lisicky has succeeded. Adept at harnessing the highs of life that are ruthlessly countered by lows—“see how the plants grow. And die a little”—these pieces are anchored by truths and by Truth. With an aptitude for creating vivid scenes, Lisicky envelops us in his stories, so though we did not stand under “The sky so scrubbed with stars it hurts,” it is as if we did.
“Stories, like bodies, lean into each other, entwine and complicate each juncture of the new century in Paul Lisicky's Unbuilt Projects. With brief, electric sentences (for isn't that how we communicate in the 21st century?) of consummate beauty, Lisicky starts out from the joy in childhood and relates the sad and wondrous details of intimacies both familial and romantic that occur 'sometime between that time and where we are now.' If there's a place for poetry and prose to co-habitate, it's here in Lisicky's world: under the snowy rooftops and inside the empty rooms of apartments built, unbuilt, and destroyed. 'The songs are blue and glistening.' And they build.”
—D. A. Powell
“I've always liked Paul Lisicky's work, its integrity and haunted memories. His clean, comfortable prose always manages to break your heart for he has the diviner's gift for finding the wellsprings of quiet sorrows.”
Four Way Books