Skip to main content

"teaching at clemson was very hard work"

Or at least this is what Barry Hannah told the Paris Review according to his obituary in yesterday's Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/03/barry-hannah-has-died.html.

Save for the "bourbon" and the "total loosening and release," this quotation is strangely reminding me of my own predicament: the baby's Mom is out of town for most of March, the first manuscript deadline is March 31, and the five classes continue.

I like what Hannah says about the "high mark" that Faulkner sets and his goal of shooting for it. There are too many "contemporary classic" novelists who excell at what they do, but what they write is clearly not challenging the American canon. You might say that what they lack is a "distinct voice."

Of course, I tend not to be too keen or amazed by some of today's other footstep followers of Faulkner--Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison come to mind. Despite ancestors, both have that "distinct voice," and although I certainly respect their projects and have enjoyed some of their novels, I just don't gravitate toward their writing (no desperation to read the next one or get on a McCarthy kick, say). I'm not familiar with the dead man's writing but hope to investigate when time permits.

I do love William Faulkner and recommend a conversation with Michael Rizza (USC, PhD candidate) to anyone who doesn't. Absalom, Absalom! is the novel you ought to read now. He held a joint chair in writing and drinking long before MFA programs began to offer cushy academic posts for such dual citizens.

Barry Hannah, rest in peace and in Oxford, Mississippi.

Well, back to the Cheerios with local honey (better allergy medicine than bourbon?) and the next stack of papers... and the next dead man too.

Cheery ho.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Russian Novels!

L.U.S.K. is excited to feature a guest post from Aisha O'Connor-Fratus, writer, editor, parent, and blogger at Hell's Domestic Backside. Enjoy this list of Aisha's ten favorite Russian novels:
1. Anna Karenina (Lev Tolstoy, 1873 to 1877). Anna is rich and bored. Anna hates the way her husband chews his food. Count Vronsky—played by Christopher Reeve, so handsome) sweeps Anna off her feet! But things do not end well for Anna.
2. The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880). Not about a traveling circus acrobatic troupe. Its sweeping explorations of God, free agency, and morality are timeless and haunting. My favorite part is Ivan’s reciting of the poem “The Grand Inquisitor” in which Christ is resurrected during the Spanish Inquisition.
3. Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky, 1866). Life-long graduate student Rodion Raskolnikov tries to justify an unspeakably immoral act with eugenics and hey—a guy needs to eat.
4. Rudin (Ivan Turgenev, 1856). Dmitry Rudin talks the talk, but…

The Writing Life Starring Iain Levison

Iain Levison's Dog Eats Dog was published in October, 2008 by Bitter Lemon Press and his even newer novel How to Rob an Armored Car will be published by Soho Press in October, 2009. Back in '00 or so, L.U.S.K. first discovered Levison's A Working Stiff's Manifesto in hardcover with its original subtitle, "Confessions of a Wage Slave." That memoir established Levison's scalding wit and ability to hold the attention of an ever-tweeting audience. It was later released as a trade paperback with a supercharged second subtitle, and Levison has managed to survive, publish, and publish again. With long-terms roots in Scotland and Philadelphia, Levison currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he commits literature and carpentry as much as he can.

USK: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and when did you first identify as a writer?
IL: Writing is the only thing I've ever been any good at. Well, the only legal thing. Early on, I realized t…

Auggie's Revenge: Reviews, Interviews, and Excerpts