Andrews, Nin 1958–

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Andrews, Nin 1958–

PERSONAL: Born May 6, 1958, in Charlottesville, VA; daughter of Henderson (an architect) and Jane (a dairy farmer) Heyward; married Jim Andrews (a physicist), August 7, 1982; children: Suzanne, Jimmy. Education: Hamilton College, B.A., 1980; Vermont College, M.F.A., 1995. Religion: Buddhist.

ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 5250, Poland, OH 44514; fax: 330-757-4999. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Poet.

AWARDS, HONORS: Ohio Arts Council grants, 1998, 2004; Gerald Cable Award, Silverfish Review Press, 2001, for Why They Grow Wings.

WRITINGS:

The Book of Orgasms (fiction), Asylum Arts (Santa Maria, CA), 1994.

Spontaneous Breasts (poetry), Pearl Editions (Long Beach, CA), 1998.

Why They Grow Wings (poetry), Silverfish Review Press (Eugene, OR), 2001.

Any Kind of Excuse (poetry), Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 2003.

(Editor) Henri Michaux, Someone Wants to Steal My Name, and Other Poems, Poetry Center, Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH), 2003.

Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane, Web del Sol Press (Washington, DC), 2005.

Contributor of poetry to The Best American Poetry 1997, edited by James Tate; and The Best American Poetry 2003, edited by Yusef Komunyakaa. Also contributor of poetry to periodicals, including Michigan Quarterly Review, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and Virginia Quarterly.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Sleeping with Houdini, for BOA Editions, projected for publication in 2008.

SIDELIGHTS: Poet Nin Andrews is the author of The Book of Orgasms, a fictional collection of prose poems, meditations, and "mini-minimalist fictions," as described by reviewer Irving Malin in the Review of Contemporary Fiction. The book contains "terse, elliptical, poetic" texts, according to Malin. "The orgasm is terrified of being seen," Andrews writes in The Book of Orgasms. "She fears she isn't good enough, though she has been perfecting herself for some time now. Each night she takes a little of this, a little of that." In another passage, she writes that "orgasms can create a mutation in consciousness. They are sleeping giants—waiting to wake up." The Book of Orgasms, Malin concluded, is "wonderfully obscure."

Andrews once told CA: "Because of books like Spontaneous Breasts, people often tell me I'm a surreal poet, suggesting that my poetry is not of this world. I have often wondered if people might be more surreal than they are willing to acknowledge. The idea for the book Spontaneous Breasts, for example, first occurred to me when a friend, whom I shall call Rena, returned from a meditation seminar and announced that she was planning to develop larger breasts the natural way. Deep within each of us, she announced, is the power to manifest whatever we wish, thus it was only her lack of faith which stood between her and the large chest she had always coveted. Shortly after my discussion with Rena, I discovered an ad in a New Age magazine which promised to help a woman grow large breasts via audio tape. At about the same time, I read an article (which fashion magazine was it in? I can't recall, but I'm sure the articles are not in just one magazine) about the number of breast enhancement surgeries performed each year, about the immense sales of the so-called miracle bra, and I began to focus upon what seems a cultural obsession."

Andrews later commented: "What is my primary motivation for writing? I think if I knew, I might not write. How can one say where an impulse begins? I make up stories to answer questions like that. Maybe that is the answer: I write to answer what I can't possibly answer.

"As a child, I thought of books as a doorway into another world. A good book could cast a spell over my day. Maybe I wanted a part of that magic.

"Who or what particularly influences my work? In the beginning it was myths and fairy tales. Now my influences include magical realists like Marquez, Calvino, and Michaux; and the writings of Buddhist teachers, especially those that make the complex simple, such as books by Gelek Rimpoche.

"I don't really have a writing process. I write random notes, read a wide array of books and journals and hope an idea takes hold. If I'm lucky I sit down each day and work on my ideas. If not, I let them go. They're like butterflies or birds. Once I let them go, I can never call them back.

"No matter what topic I write about, I am always writing about the strangeness of life and the miracle of it. If I understood it a little better, I might not write as much. Most poets start off writing their life stories. I am only now beginning to write more autobiographically."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Andrews, Nin, The Book of Orgasms, Asylum Arts (Santa Maria, CA) 1994.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2001, Patricia Monaghan, review of Why They Grow Wings, p. 294.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, spring 1995, Irving Malin, review of The Book of Orgasms, p. 168.

ONLINE

Ploughshares Web site, http://www.emerson.edu/ploughshares/Spring1988/ (May 30, 1999).

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Andrews, Nin 1958–

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