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Mary Miller

By Stephanie Smittle

7:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Mary Miller

In a 2017 interview with Vincent Scarpa of digital literary journal Electric Literature, writer Mary Miller was asked about sentence-making, and whether Southern writers might have their own ways of approaching a sentence’s rhythm. “Southerners value storytelling, humor and rhythm,” Miller said, “though I imagine that’s pretty universal.” Miller came from a family of musicians, she went on to say, with holidays spent churning out sibling renditions of Bonnie Raitt’s “Papa Come Quick” and The Band’s “The Weight” — songs, Miller said, “that are more like novels set to music.” Miller is author of short-story collections “Big World” and “Always Happy Hour,” and novels “Biloxi” and “Last Days of California,” a body of sentences that tend to linger in the ear long after you’ve read them. Perhaps that’s because Miller doesn’t shy away from including real-world literary and pop culture references in her characters’ lives — Kurt Vonnegut quotes as tattoos, the Outback Steakhouse, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” Walmart. Or perhaps, as Scarpa implied, Miller’s prose is memorable because of its sense of rhythm. Either way, I doubt Miller’s reading in Little Rock will seem out of place at a dive known chiefly for the music that rattles its rafters most nights. Opening readers for this event are The Bookstore at Library Square manager Lilyan Kauffman, author and Argenta Reading Series founder Guy Choate and novelist Elizabeth Ellen of Ann Arbor, Mich. Sponsors are the Argenta Reading Series and the CALS Bookstore at Library Square.


June 5, 2019
1:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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White Water Tavern
2500 W 7th St.
Little Rock, AR 72205
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(501) 375-8400