Saturday, June 11, 2016

The State of Literature Today

Another email out. Another story as well. For those who haven't had the chance to sign up, I recommend that you do so now. Now on to other matters:

Here in the States, the literary world seems to be improving in leaps and bounds and in a myriad of ways. Let me not, however, talk about the different ways people are using it, but rather how it seems to be growing more diverse. I speak of the newer groups of writers. 

In fact, even a few years ago, I wouldn't have expected such a reaction to a writers'  letter I found to be childish in its outlook on life and history. [1] It's good that original voices out there are achieving a higher volume than before. [2]

There are a few examples. One hopes that the success of Coates, and how he's now touted in the mainstream, will result in a better literary landscape. [3] Of course, the title alone of that latter link goes to show that there's a lot of work to be done. And there have been setbacks to the contrarian [4] voices out there. Bookslut seems like a great place to find information on new books—ones not seen elsewhere—and yet now it's gone. Unfortunately, there are few venues that I trust enough to curate my book recommendations. 

Again, this speaks to how out of place the mainstream literary scene still is. I would be disingenuous if I didn't say that I thought this blog and my writing to stand in the tradition of  those writing from the fringes. To that end, I am also trying to diversify my reading. Worldwide as well as here in the States. Living New York at least gave me an appreciation for the voices that were outside of the normal Manhattan ones, as well as those that not even New York espouses. 

[1] unfortunately, the original letter isn't a complete surprise to me. such unoriginal and staid thinking is what I've come to expect from such quarters (the mainstream literary ones). 

[2] I want to try and curate some of the best magazines and places where these voices have a place to say what's needed to be said. 

[3] You may or may not have heard my complaints about the literary landscape today. Most of the books touted by the elite turn out to be weak in every way (but craft, or that specific MFA craft)

[4] No, I don't mean just contrarian for the sake of it, but rather Cassandras who were willing to say that the Emperor had no clothes. And just from that interview, you can see that Jessica Crispin was up against some great odds. And being that she was on the fringes (in this sense) it even tainted her view of self. Now that is an example of how long people can stand to be outside the mainstream. On the interview, what can I say about the Paris Review? I read their old interviews with much fondness, but does it really have value today? I'm not sure. I know I cancelled my subscription to it because it simply seemed not to speak to the currents in the zeitgeist out there today. In other words, it seemed hopelessly out of touch.

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