Lisa Pearson

Photo of Lisa PearsonEducation

B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1993
M.F.A., Creative Writing, University of Oregon, 1995

Biographical Note

It is not clarity that is desirable but force. -Gertrude Stein.

Corners and leaps in place of arcs and suspensions, absence and the unsaid beyond the articulated and the poised, suggestion rather than determination, surrender instead of execution, the excess of the world over a single hermetic space, mystery instead of epiphany. The most interesting truths are those that are as overwhelming as the world, as deeply felt as they are distant from words. I write not to understand, but to experience: the joy in fiction rises out of its infinite possibilities.

Awards & Fellowships:

Fiction Award Finalist, Mississippi Review, 2003
Fineline Finalist/Editor's Choice Award, Mid-American Review, 2001.
Residency Fellowship, Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, 2001
Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature, Oregon Arts Commission, 1999
Fiction Award, Literary Arts Inc., 1999
Residency Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, 1998
Residency Fellowship, Millay Colony for the Arts, 1997
Fiction Award, Barbara Deming Memorial Award for Women Artists, 1995
Teaching Fellow, University of Oregon Creative Writing Program , 1993-95

Publication Types

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Latest Publication Title

"How the Slowworm Struggled, But Not Too Much," 3rd Bed, 2005

Additional Publications

"Alsiso," The Alsiso Project (anthology), Elastic Press, 2004
"Endstation Berlin" and "Wander: A Triptych," eye-rhyme #8, 2004
"A Passion," Fiction International, "Ecstasy Issue," 2004
"She Laughed So Hard She Cried," LIT #7, 2003
"Lamentation" and "The World Before," Mississippi Review V.31 #1-2, 2003
"Revelations," Chelsea #73, 2003
"Annunciation Series #1," 3rd Bed #7, 2002
"States of Emergency #1," Salt Hill #12, 2002
"Lot on Safari," Quarterly West #54, 2002
"Seven Sorrows, Seven Joys," Bombay Gin #28, 2002.
"Cleave: A Diptych," New Orleans Review #28 vol. 1, 2002
"Examinations #1-6," Rhino, 2002
"It is her responsibility, after the foal is born..." Paragraph #21 , 2002
"Paradise Is Not Useless Though No One Lives There Anymore (hortus deliciarum)," Mid-American Review Vol. 22 #1, 2001
"She's never known..." Two Rivers Review #6, 2001
"Innocence is a country you cross by foot." - A selection of medieval miniatures. by L. N. Pearson, 2001
Northwest Edge: Deviant Fictions (Edited by L. N. Pearson and Linda Yuknavitch). Portland /San Diego: two girls, 2000
"Innocence is a Country You Cross By Foot, Part One: Fauna" NeonLit: The Time Out Book of New Writing Volume 2, Penguin Books, 1999
"Swallows," The Time Out Book of New York Short Stories, Penguin Books, 1997
"Stage Fright" Chick-Lit: Post-Feminist Fiction, Fiction Collective Two / Black Ice Books, 1995

Publication Excerpt


I was often awake late at night, and the little sounds outside interrupted my reading. I never knew quite what they were. The purr of a cricket, the pitter patter of a quick shower of stones, the soft earth groaning, giving way beneath a spider's tender steps. It was dark outside, I could never see a thing, but at the stillest moments, I heard the ocean though it was a hundred miles away. One night a fantastic light rained in my room, accompanied by the hum of swiftly beating wings. I squinted my eyes to see a smallish bird-a starling, a dove, a swallow perhaps, such things I do not know. It hovered like a puppet on a string, a little toy. Without hesitation, I dropped my book and rushed to embrace it, but it vanished suddenly, and I held nothing in my arms but air. When I heard its breath behind me, I spun around, revived, anxious, delighted. I felt a giggle rise, then held it in-I did not want to give myself away before it revealed its intentions. I waited for words, but though its beak clapped softly, rapidly, there were only murmurs I did not understand. I reached out, slowly as if it were a dog, opening my palm to its beak so it could smell me, know me, but when I met its black, unblinking eyes, I knew it wanted more. I was afraid to move: would it hurt me or disappear forever? Not quite close enough to touch, we stared at each other an eternity, its silent chatter relentless. Its every blink I thought might be a sign. What are the secrets of birds? We were long past reason. It was eating up the air between us. Outside, everything breaking: a spider's egg, a cricket's back, distant waves, day.

It seemed so fragile, I thought I might simply blow it away. So as not arouse its suspicions, I kept my lips pressed tight and inhaled deeply through my nose, the faint taste of the bird on the back of my throat, repulsive. Everything inside me now made of air, I closed my eyes, as if wishing, and let go. But it only rocked and swayed like an empty bottle, my breath a gray jagged ocean. Now its beak smacked louder, faster, its feathers ruffled, stiffened. We both shook violently. My heart, endlessly ringing. Would it rip me open? Is that what it wanted? In that instant I forgot everything I ever knew. I swooped down, snatched my book from the floor, then, clutching it tightly at its spine, I swung it hard to broadside the bird with a thunderous crack. Still, it stayed aloft, its right wing crumpled and its head lolling to the left. I hit it again and again. It did not defend itself, but it must have seen each slap coming. After still more blows, it did not fall, its beak opening and closing, desperately mouthing nothing, as if it were trying to remember something long forgotten. Finally, it let me go. I pressed my book to my chest and hurried out into the sun, no brighter than my room had been all night. I walked for days until I reached the ocean where I stood for many days more staring at the horizon, mesmerized by the unfathomable: what is beyond that thinnest line of everchanging light? What you do not know you do not know. And I did not know whether it would be there when I returned, and I did not want to know one way or another.