Thursday, September 04, 2003

Hopping the West Bank Wall of Genre 

Chris, let me add my favorite contemporary fiction writers with a “poet’s
attention to language”. Joe Torra’s MY GROUND trilogy is among the best series
of novels I’ve read. Also, Samuel Delany’s prose (nonfiction/fiction) is
crafted with dynamism & precision. The fore mentioned attention is not “poet
exclusive”, since Joe is a poet & Chip is not. I share your astonishment
regarding Beckett’s prose, particularly the shorter fiction. STORIES & TEXTS
FOR NOTHING is a book I’ll likely never stop returning to.

As you know, I’ve never had issues with the genre of fiction, or poets crossing
genres. I do have issue with “the poet” who sees his/herself as a kind of
junior executive, on the way up the literary ladder to become “the novelist.”
Some misguided individuals see poetry as a stepping stone to “bigger & better”
literary pursuits. I don’t sweat these folks too much, since they’re almost
always god-awful poets. Good riddance, I guess.

Since we’re opening up the discussion, does anyone have similar
suspicions/aversions to the poet/playwright? These genres seem (though maybe
deceptively?) to possibly be easier, in terms of transition. The “furniture
moving” of fiction seems to prove difficult for many a younger poet,
particularly. Patience is likely an issue. Drama seems to satisfy the poet’s
tendency toward “moments” in a way that fiction often requires experience to be
further integrated into the larger schema.

Incidentally, I’m reading a wonderful dramatic piece from Deborah Richards’
LAST ONE OUT, written for a soundstage/film set.

Frank Sherlock

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