Cezarija Abartis

This week, we have the great pleasure to feature:

Cezarija Abartis

In her words:

Some of my favorite classic authors and books:

Homer, Euripides, Jane Austen, Chekhov’s stories and plays, James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Eric Ambler’s A Coffin for Dimitrios, Nabokov’s Lolita, Isaac Babel, Carson McCullers’ “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe,” Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud’s stories. And Shakespeare, always Shakespeare.

Some of my favorite contemporary authors:

I’m going to list titles of books. Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth, Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Ellen Currie’s Available Light, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, Thom Jones’ The Pugilist at Rest, Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, Lorrie Moore’s Self Help, Grace Paley’s stories, Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko novels, Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, Stephanie Vaughn’s Sweet Talk. I will stop now. I expected this compiling to be tedious and effortful, but I find myself smiling as I recall these beautiful books and inspirations.

What I’m most proud of is my book on Shakespeare The Tragicomic Construction of Cymbeline and the Winter’s Tale  (Humanities Press) and my collection of short stories, Nice Girls and Other Stories (New Rivers Press). In a review on NewPages.com, Sima Rabinowitz writes, “These stories are as good the second time through as they are the first. Always, for me, a measure of success.”

Ursula K. Le Guin writes: “Covering the territory between memoir and fiction, these deft and accurate stories hava a rare honesty.”


A few of my hundred flashes published online:

“The Writer,” was chosen by Wigleaf Journal as one of the top 50 online flashes of 2011. Dan Chaon was the selecting editor. http://wigleaf.com/2012top501.htm

“Lost and Found,” New World Writing. Online. June 15, 2020


“Sisters.” matchbook. Online. February 2020


“Medea Imagines” Carmina. Online. December 2, 2019


“Stories for Second-Grade Teachers” Baltimore Review. Summer 2019


“Sleeping Beauty Is Not Well,” Bennington Review. Issue Four. Fall / Winter 2017, pp. 146-147. Also online: http://www.benningtonreview.org/cezarija-abartis

Current research interests:

I certainly value historical, biographical, political criticism, but I also value formal criticism. As a fiction writer, I study the structure of the work itself: character, setting, plot, theme, imagery. I’m interested in the formal characteristics of a work of art–how an author constructs a work to have an effect on our emotions, especially complex layered emotions (the pity and fear that Aristotle famously talked about in tragedy; the nobility and revenge that Euripides dramatizes in his plays).

Thank you so much for reading!!

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