Steve Kistulentz (Fiction, Poetry) | St. Leo, FL
Steve Kistulentz is the author of the novel Panorama, (Little, Brown & Co., March 2018), as well as two collections of poetry, Little Black Daydream (2012), an editor’s choice selection in the University of Akron Press Series in Poetry, and The Luckless Age (2010), selected from over 700 manuscripts as the winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. His short stories have appeared in many journals, including Narrative Magazine, Quarter After Eight, Crab Orchard Review, and in a special issue of Mississippi Review focused on emerging writers, selected by guest editor Rick Moody. His narrative nonfiction—mostly on the subject of popular culture—has appeared widely in journals.
His honors include the Benjamin Saltman Award for The Luckless Age, as well as fellowship support from Writers at Work, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and an individual award from the Mississippi Arts Commission. He has previously taught at the Johns Hopkins University; the University of Iowa, where he was the Joseph and Ursil Callan Scholar; the Florida State University, where he was an Edward and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellow for Excellence in Thought; Millsaps College; and the University of Tampa, where he directed the MFA program and ran the Lectores Reading Series. He is the founding director of the graduate program in creative writing at Saint Leo University. Previously, he worked in national politics in Washington, DC for nearly 20 years.
Kistulentz was born in Washington, DC. He earned a BA in English from the College of William and Mary, an MA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and a PhD from the Florida State University.
Blurbs, Press & Reviews
Panorama is a remarkable literary work, rare in its ability to be both thematically complex and a compelling read. Steve Kistulentz remarkably transforms our TV culture’s participatory tragedy into a deep meditation on human connectedness. This is a stunning debut by an important new writer.
—Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“Fast-paced, energetic, searing. There are moments in Steve Kistulentz’s Panorama that will take your breath away.”
—Daniel Alarcón, author of Lost City Radio
Panorama lives up to its title. This is a novel aswim in language, in drama, in character—it has the kind of bigness we too rarely see in fiction anymore. Steve Kistulentz is a hell of a writer, and this is a hell of a hard book to put down.
—Darin Strauss, National Book Critics Circle winner for Half a Life
It has been said that a good novelist is also by default a first-rate sociologist and psychologist, too—along with being a magician. Panorama perfectly exemplifies this truth. In sharp, smart prose, Steve Kistulentz portrays the terrible strands of tragedy. The result is an engrossing, powerful, capacious novel, and a very impressive debut.
Written with an intimate precision, Panorama brings tremendous compassion to people we take for granted and the circumstances we ignore beyond the momentary surface. As a culture, too often we’re inured to crisis and tragedy. This book, with its enormous ambition, serves to remind us that it’s necessary and human to feel.
These poems hurtle through life, wide-eyed and bewildered by what has been abandoned, by what has been lost, by what is hurtling past—“The telegram came today: I will never reach the moon.” Yet, in spite of the wreckage, Little Black Daydream bristles with shards of wisdom and moments of sheer joy.
Wry, spry, entrancing and intelligent, the poems of Little Black Daydream invite us into a richly imagined future: not just post-apocalyptic, but post-everything. What a haunting, dark, and oddly comic world, where inhabitants “fashion hobo bags out of surplus Che Guevara tee-shirts / and fill them with the molars of the dead,” and where “the Secretary of Consolidated Debt tells his sons each morning: / when I was your age, no independent clause.” We wake from our Little Black Daydream bolstered by our imaginative sojourn in this precisely rendered world. This book is a major accomplishment.
—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables
Steve Kistulentz’s second book of poems, Little Black Daydream, is a chronicle of post-capitalist America. With a precise ear for the American patois, it addresses the uncertainty of the future at the exact moment when those questions are at the forefront of our culture. The book teems with the dazzling detritus of desire, capitalism, and apocalypse—and the poems demonstrate an astonishing adeptness at pushing language to portray this strange moment in our histories, both the personal and the fantastical.
—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of The City She Was and Odalisque in Pieces
The Luckless Age responds to a culture that constantly bombards us with brand names, celebrities, rock and roll rants and presidential lies, porn and war by bombarding back to give a counter-offense of testimony and song. Sprawling and discursive, expansive as stadium anthems and forceful as everclear, Steve Kistulenz’s poems have a hedonistic vigor of language and purpose. Reader, you can rest later.
Steve Kistulentz, winner of the 2009 Benjamin Saltman Award writes with passion and the deep throaty growl of the American heartland, brewed on rock and riddles, bad drugs and worse tattoos, heavy metal and that hair and those t-shirts that are never dyed right. We hear the squawk and moan of music in an America that’s a hot mess but none the less tousled and leather -jacketed and sure of itself. This America is beautiful and gawkish, and is guilty of never knowing how to tame its testosterone, grow up, look around the world, see if there’s anyone else here. This poetry makes you sit up, wonder why everyone in this country doesn’t own a strait jacket, a spoiled vain people who love pork chops, baseball, kitchen appliances and cheap beer. You can taste this poetry on your tongue; it’s sharp and wicked and reminds you of the best of your bad lovers.