First Person Intense (Paperback)

A Prose Anthology

By Richard Grayson, Fielding Dawson, Richard Kostelanetz

Mudborn Press, 9780930012144, 162pp.

Publication Date: October 3, 2012

List Price: 7.95*
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First Person Intense is a collection of first-person writing in a variety of styles - although "style" may be the wrong word for the integrity of the writing. First person writing means that someone is speaking directly to you, not crafting a story for your entertainment. And that's the power of first-person "intense," a face-out manner of writing that abandons much of the traditional structure of fiction (the arc of the narrative, omniscient viewpoint, dialogue, character development, denouement, beginning, middle, and end) and nonfiction (which often seems to be written by nobody or a committee, carefully refraining from bias or personal opinion). This anthology was originally published in 1978, and was popular with creative writing classes as well as the general market, as a study in writing with honesty, authentic voices speaking without the mask of characterization. This second printing retains most of the original pieces, including a Vietnam vet's powerful stories, a voyage across America in search of meaning, a prison letter, an excerpt from an as yet unpublished Charles Bukowski novel (by permission of the publisher), the admission by Fielding Dawson of first ambitions to be a writer (a young man wishing to be complicated). A few additions include a schizophrenic, a Peace Corps teacher, a story from junior high. None of these are perfect - perfection is not sought in real first-person writing - but all give plenty of taste of personality, vulnerability, openness. If you like, you can call this a "school of writing." First Person Intense was originally assigned an ISBN number by Mudborn Press. After the dissolution of that partnership in 1981, one of the partners, Sasha Newborn, established a new publishing operation, Bandanna Books. Although the original ISBN number is retained for the reprint of FPI, this book is now available only from Bandanna Books. A publication akin in spirit to FPI is Berlin (, a bilingual anthology, guest edited by Mitch Cohen, who lived in the divided city of Berlin in the 1970s and 80s, gathering stories and poems from East Berlin and West Berlin. An inside look at a place of high art and high tension. A new chapter in publishing direct works has opened with TimeWell, an online litmag that mixes up contemporaries with classics. Subscribe at, or submit stories or poems.