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Houstonian 1989
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Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1989 - People. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 23, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/22668/show/22409.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1989 - People. Houstonian Yearbook Collection. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/22668/show/22409

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Students of the University of Houston, Houstonian 1989 - People, Houstonian Yearbook Collection, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 23, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/22668/show/22409.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Houstonian 1989
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Students of the University of Houston
Caption The Houstonian is the official yearbook of the University of Houston.
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Language English
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Digital Collection Houstonian Yearbook Collection
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction This image is in the public domain and may be used freely. If publishing in print, electronically, or on a website, please use the citation button above. To request higher resolution images, please use the Request High Res button above.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title People
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Students of the University of Houston
Caption The Houstonian is the official yearbook of the University of Houston.
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction This image is in the public domain and may be used freely. If publishing in print, electronically, or on a website, please use the citation button above. To request higher resolution images, please use the Request High Res button above.
File name yearb_1989_085.jpg
Transcript in this age of machine- made goods. Since Cyrus's spirituality is an important factor in the novel, a major facet of his character was his religion. Lopate tried several on Cyrus but none seemed to fit, until he went to a religious service and dinner party with Pakistani writer Bapsi Sidwa and her Zoroastrian friends. "Zoroastrianism was close enough to Judaism," Lopate says, "that I felt comfortable describing it." An ancient faith generally unkown in the West, it becomes a key element in the novel as Cyrus is tugged back into a world that he finds both comforting and strangling. As with Hirsch's writing, the form of Lopate's work grew out of its subject matter. "As soon as I determined Cyrus's religion, I knew I was going to write a novel — the religion was exotic enough that I could grow into the novel with it. The fact that I had to do research on it kept me going when I couldn't figure out what happened next. I read books about Zoroastrianism and persian rugs, reacted to what I read, and eventually the plot grew." Lopat's research involved more than simply library work. He visited a rug auction and rug shops, talking with owners and getting a feel for the retail business. He also met several Zoroastrians, attending religious and social events and taking copious notes. At one dinner party, he excused himself several times and rushed to the bathroom, where he jotted down what he could recall of the guests' stories, jokes and religious exclamations. There were other challenges. Cyrus's introspective nature, for example, made plot development difficult for Lopate. To create the needed tension, Lopate chose a theme most people can identify with conflict: money preessures. Cyrus constantly hangs on the brink of eviction or bankruptcy. The novel also called for a different kind of narrative voice than Lopate was accustomed to using. In his personal essays, Lopate had written in the first-person to express his thoughts and feelings. But in the novel, he needed to adjust the narrative tone to fit Cyrus's more subdued, internalized personality. He wrote The Rug Merchant in the third person, allowing Cyrus his polite distance. Writers are fascinated by technical matters like voice and form because technique is the key to meaning. "Ezra Pound said, 'Technique is a test of man's sincerity,'" Hirsch says. "I learned about meters and rhythm, and now they are second nature. I don't have to think about them any more. Now I listen for the sound that is more assertive, the underlying music." A thorough knowledge of technique can lead to some fascinating combinations. In the poem, "At Kresge's Diner, in Stonefalls, Arkansas," for example, Hirsch uses the sestina, a complicated 17th centruy verse form, to transcribe the thoughts of a truck stop waitress. "The trick for me was to make the poem sound as much as possible like a person speaking. It works because the repetitions sould like someone thinking aloud. It was fun for me to adapt such a traditional form to my own very different ends." But the process of writing, of merging technique and emotion, has its price. "Writing a novel is a gamble," Lopate says, " a major commitment — it can be like an illness." Ultimately the finished work is, as Hirsch calls it, a "human statement." It is the result of the writer taking something from our everyday experience and transcending it. Although it may have been thought or felt or seen a million times by as many people, the writer makes it resonate anew. ► Fran Dress- man Creative Writing ■ 95