Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Knives Come Out

I confess that I have a weakness for this kind of thing:

Of the fifteen writers browbeaten by Shivani's (rather crotchety) knife, I've attempted to read:

  • John Ashbery (increasingly over my head, but sometimes moving and clearly a careful, even masterful poet)
  • Mary Oliver (one of her poems meant the world to me once)
  • Helen Vendler (on Keats she is brilliant)
  • Sharon Olds (yeah, pretty dreadful)
  • Jorie Graham ("Did you want to remain completely unharmed?")
  • Junot Diaz (so loud I can't hear him)
  • Louise Glück (worth a look, if not a lifetime of study . . . and so perhaps not worth a look)
  • Michael Cunningham (unremarkable)
  • Billy Collins (embarrassing)

The rest of the writers I've either never heard of (Antonya Nelson?) or avoided for the same reason I avoid almost all contemporary American fiction and poetry: their artistic ambitions remind me too much of my own.

I wonder if Shivani is any good. . .

I must say, though, that anyone who calls Marilynne Robinson "unreadable" is either deaf to language or stupid.

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