Darcey Steinke

Major Works

  • Sister Golden Hair (2014)  Novel
  • Easter Everywhere: A memoir (2008) A New York Times Notable book
  • Milk (2005) Novel
  • John (Pocket Canon) (1999) Introduction by Steinke
  • Gregory Crewdson: Dream of Life (1998) 132 pp Biography
  • Jesus Saves (1997, 2012) Novel, A New York Times Notable book
  • Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited (essays with co-editor Rich Moody) (1997)
  • Suicide Blonde (1992, 2012), Novel
  • Up Through the Water (1989, 2000) Novel, A New York Times Notable book
  • “Satan’s Cheerleaders” (1993)  Spin Magazine

Darcey Steinke: A Biography

Darcy Steinke was born in Virginia in 1963, grew up in Connecticut, Kentucky, and Virginia and lived in Oxford, Mississippi, as the 1998-99  recipient of the Renee and John Grisham Southern Writer-In-Residence Award. She is a graduate of Goucher College in 1985.  She then went to the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA in creative writing and after which she completed a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University.  She worked for a short time at the White House and then spent a year in Ireland.  She is married and has one daughter, Abbie. Steinke says, “Growing up in a family full of ministers, the written word became my whole life. My father, a Lutheran minister, would write out his sermons, and then I’d hear him practice them over and over.”

Born in 1964, as a child, Steinke stuttered and to compensate she fell in love with the written word.  She began not only reading books but writing her own.  She began writing at the age of seven about a vampire. After graduating from high school in Roanoke, Steinke received a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College in Baltimore and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, where she was a Hoyns Fellow. She then went on to Stanford University and completed a postgraduate Wallace Stegner  Fellowship.  At Ole Miss, Steinke taught a writing workshop and worked on her two books Milk, a short erotic novel, and The Great Disappointment, a long historical novel about the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

According to the news desk at Ole Miss,  Barry Hannah, writer-in-residence at Ole Miss before his death and an admirer of her work, said,  “Darcey has the good ear of a poet and is a risky and brave writer who combines modern punk with religion.  She establishes her own world and does it very thoroughly and convincingly.”   In addition to Ole Miss, Steinke  has also taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Barnard, The American University of Paris, and Princeton.Up Through the Water

In the past twenty-five years Steike has published five novels and a memoir.  She published her first book, Up through the Water in 1989 when she was 27. Her most recent book, Sister Golden Girl was published in 2014.  Steinke’s writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Review, Vogue, Spin Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Greensboro Review, The Texas Review and The Guardian and others.   Her journalism appears regularly in Spin. In addition, she has a web project called blindspot. To date her books have been translated into ten languages. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches creative writing in the graduate programs at Goddard College, The New School and Columbia University.

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A Review of Jesus Saves

Jesus Saves by Darcy SteinkeDarcey Steinke’s  novel Jesus Saves is an unusual fictional story told in a poetic manner that flows in and out of reality and the reality that Steinke has created.  The story is about two girls that are from different backgrounds, but both suffer forms of loneliness and depression.  Ginger, a troubled minister’s daughter, has suffered the loss of her mother and hasn’t been the same since.  She is somewhat of a hell-cat, troublesome in the way that she ignores what is right and rebels constantly against her father and society.  Her choice in a boyfriend also reflects her poor decision making abilities and judgment.  Ted is a rebel without a cause.  He is also an outcast from society and looked upon as a menace.  He is the only one that Ginger can talk to,  and the only one that makes her feel good.  Sandy Patrick, the Erie face on the posters around town, is the other female character that we encounter.  She was kidnapped from her summer camp by a man that we know only as “the troll.”  This man repeatedly rapes Sandy throughout the book and often feeds her little or nothing and what he does give her is not enough to support a small animal like as the cat he owns.  Sandy’s torment is the troll, her only human contact she is aware of.  He moves her often to keep away the authorities.

Symbolism plays a major role in this book.  For Ginger, the society that shuns her and considers her a menace is the church congregation.  Her father is the minister of this  crooked congregation, and he  is somewhat like the Reverend Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter, troubled by a secret that torments him in ways that only a person can torture himself.  Ginger’s father’s torment is not visible physically. His torments are more in the way of late nights and malnutrition.

A Review of Satan’s Cheerleader

Claire Jackson, SHS Researcher

Claire Jackson, SHS Researcher

by Claire Jackson (SHS)

In 1993, SPIN published an article by Darcey Steinke called Satan’s Cheerleaders.  The article was written as an informative piece about a heavy metal group in Norway called Satan’s Cheerleaders.  She vividly tells the reader how the group was formed and some of their actions– such as eating brain stew and burning medieval Norwegian churches.  The telling of their story instills fear as well as understanding about the group and their seemingly-odd traditions and actions.  The article is written in Mrs. Steinke’s poetic language,  which makes the reader “see” the images that she creates.  The images that evolve in the article are sometimes disturbing, but necessary,  to make the reader understand the group.

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Related Websites

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  • Ada’web. “blindspot.”  [Online] Available at http://adaweb.walkerart.org/project/blindspot/.
  • Little, Brown and Company.  “About the Author: Darcey Steinke.” [Online] Available at    http://www.pathfinder.com/twep/little_brown/authors/darcey_steinke/index.html.
  • Odom, Will.  “Grisham Writer-in-Residence Endowment Brings Author Darcey Steinke to Ole Miss.” [Online] Available at http://www.olemiss.edu/news/newsdesk/story332.html
  • Steinke, Darcey.  Jesus Saves.  New York:  Grove Press. 1997
  • Steinke, Darcey.  “Satan’s Cheerleaders.”  [Online] Available at http://www-user.lut.fi/~mega/muzac/news/SpinArticle.html.   Spin.  1993

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