Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dan Fante, writer

The writer Dan Fante joined his father John Fante this week. Both were novelists of Los Angeles championed in France for their "down and out in America" themes. Dan was published in French before he was published in English, and his best works were Chump Change and the family memoir, Fante. Mostly off the beaten path as an adult, Dan was teaching at the UCLA extension school for writers in some of his last years. Possibly his father would be seen as the more "important" literary figure (Ask the Dust, Brotherhood of the Grape, Dreams of Bunker Hill, screenplay credits including one for Algren's Walk on the Wild Side), and Dan was quite proud of his father's accomplishment and his Italian heritage. Late in life, Dan was partnering with his native province in Italy and getting his works translated into Italian. I discovered Chump Change in a Barnes and Noble across the country, back when small-press titles had a shot of sneaking into the chain stores, even if the authors weren't "local." Fifteen years later it would be far more difficult to learn of writers like the Fantes although since I found Chump Change in Philly, I've seen that Dan has had most of his books reprinted by a New York big, and almost all of John's titles have stayed in print and seem to be selling as well as ever. Famously, it was Charles Bukowski who discovered John Fante in the Los Angeles library, and would help revive interest in the author years later. They're all gone now, but not forgotten.

Guardian obituary:

My interview with Dan in 2009:

Dan Fante articles in the L.A. Times:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

you say DeLillo. . .

James Tate Hill's new novel, Academy Gothic, won the Nilsen Prize for a first novel.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Kenneth Goldsmith in The New Yorker

I'd read so many online responses to Yi Fen Chou (the "pooped" poet), Vanessa Place, and Kenneth Goldsmith that I did something I rarely do these days.  Which was to sit in the library and read the entire Alec Wilkinson piece on KG, a poet I'd never heard of until the last few weeks, despite spending the majority of my life in University City in West Philly. It's almost a surprise I wasn't born in Clark Park, right where John Ebersole has sworn off white poets writing about race and dreamed up Public Pool.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Clemson University literary reading

Award-winning faculty read fiction and poetry in Daniel Studio on Wednesday, September 30 from 3 to 4 p.m. Join Professor Emeritus Skip Eisiminger, 2015 Best of American Poetry winner Candace Wiley, and award-winning novelist Alex Kudera for a fun free literary reading you won't want to miss. Please see the Clemson calendar or Facebook invitation for more information.