On 'Being' and 'Bullshit'
Poet and memoirist Nick Flynn reads at ACC tonight
By Kimberley Jones,
12:19PM, Wed. Apr. 11, 2012
The poet and memoirist Nick Flynn chronicled his stormy relationship with his homeless father in Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which found new life on film (albeit with a comically neutered title) in this spring's Being Flynn. He takes part in a free event on the ACC campus this evening.
The book in part is about Flynn's time working in a Boston homeless shelter, where he encountered his long-estranged father. (His followup memoir, The Ticking Is the Bomb, explored his relationship with his mother, who committed suicide when Flynn was 22.) He spoke with the Chronicle in 2004 about the dark places Another Bullshit Night goes:
"When I read this book in Boston – and I don't know if this is just an Irish thing – but people crack up, they think it's really funny. You read it in Minnesota and people weep, or they don't express any emotions whatsoever. I've been asking people lately to look inside themselves for whatever Irishness they have. To see that this is part of humanity, and there is a humor to it. When I worked in the shelter, it was like Beckett, and that's what makes Beckett so brilliant: this darkness that's continually punctured by incredibly funny scenes, hysterical absurdity, the weirdness of life, and the comedy that's just inherent in every tragedy. It's just the reality of it, you're out on the streets and you see ridiculous things. It is an absurd situation, and not to see that, to weigh it down with this tragedy, I don't see how that benefits anyone. There's humor throughout it, which just seems truer than something that's really ponderously heavy."
Flynn reads tonight (4/11) at 8pm in the Mainstage Theater (second floor) of ACC's Rio Grande Campus (1212 Rio Grande Street). He will be reading from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and a recent book of poems, A Captain Asks for a Show of Hands. The event is free and open to the public.