Go to New York State Writers Institute

UAlbany Professor Emeritus

Eugene K. Garber

April 29, 2004
(Thursday)

4:00 p.m. Reading & Signing
Campus Center 375
UAlbany, Uptown Campus

A Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of English at the UAlbany, Eugene Garber is the recipient of numerous awards for fiction. His 1981 collection, Metaphysical Tales (which featured an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates) received the Associated Writing Programs Award for Short Fiction. His collection, The Historian (1995), received the William Goyen Prize of the national literary magazine, TriQuarterly. Garber’s fiction has been anthologized in the Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction, Best American Short Stories, and the Paris Review Anthology, among other compilations.

Garber’s latest collection, Beasts in Their Wisdom (2004, Snail's Pace Press), combines flights of fantasy with poignant commentary on the human condition. The collection features stories that appeared in the Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Triquarterly, Black Warrior Review, and other distinguished literary journals.

In an interview with Contemporary Authors, Garber has said, "Readers may be interested in my passionate and perhaps curious fascination with the tale (as opposed to the realistic short story) and especially with tales that make metaphysical probes. The crux of the matter is, I suppose, that I am more interested in myth than history, more arrested by archetype than individual—an aesthetic position fraught with terrible dangers."

Commenting on the new book, William Kennedy said, "In Garber’s uncanny tales the margins of real and imaginary, human and animal give way to an eerie domain of magical ambiguity. A bear occupies a woman’s imagination like a dybbuk, a randy goat transforms three lives, a woman has the throat of a doe, a commuter flight turns into a mythic journey. These are provocative stories, vividly written, and full of surprises—the work of a grandly talented storyteller."

The Historian

Garber’s 1995 collection, The Historian, recounts six interwoven tales of American historical fantasy set at various periods between 1807 and 1912. The tales feature two protagonists, an introspective historian and a burly pioneer.

"As these two complementary characters travel from the city to the frontier and back again, fact and fantasy are interwoven into a mythological quest for the ever-elusive quintessential American woman… [a] spellbinding odyssey." - Book List

Garber is also the chief author of Eroica, a multi-artist hypermedia work in progress. Consisting of a number of tableaux for display with multimedia computer, Eroica depicts three worlds at three different historical moments as dramatized by the lives of three composers: Gustav Mahler as he composes the fifth symphony in Vienna; new music Eric Nordquist at work in the Catskills; and Esella, a female shaman preserving tribal music in the upper Amazon.

Among other awards, Garber has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the Fulbright Foundation.

A native of Alabama, Garber earned his B.A. at Tulane University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He began teaching at the University at Albany in 1977. Eugene Garber was Acting Associate Director of the NYS Writers Institute from 9/94 to 9/95.

Sunday Gazette Article
Off Course Review