Wednesday, April 7, 2010

lish edited hannah?

Am I the only one waiting for the bomb to drop? Or pathetic enough to consider the posthumous possibility that someone will unearth "The Truth" that Gordon Lish heavily edited and rewrote entire paragraphs of Barry Hannah's fiction???

Could it be possible? Ridiculous, right?

Before you threaten this blog with its own mad does of Lishterine, consider the possible:

Barry Hannah was a lonely, mopey plotless writer narrating tales of dysfuctional lesbians who never left the living room with TVs always tuned to the saddest reruns. And then, bam! Lish discovers him and turns his stories into booze-soaked, Southern tragicomedy! Gerry Roth becomes Geronimo Rex!

Gordon Lish, who seemingly has done a hell of a lot for contemporary literature, has wound up playing the role of the sulky devil in regard to the Raymond Carver collection. Somehow, Lish has become the "baddie" who corrupted the true Carver or imprisoned him to unfair but non-negotiable edits or "Jew behind the curtained" him or something.

And now Poor Barry Hannah has been dead and gone for a month, but his editor Gordon Lish is still lurking, most likely "discovering" new writers and eating red meat on rye. Somehow, Lish has gotten a bad rap in all this and yet based on the evidence, he has had a hand in as much contemporary American fiction as anyone else. Maybe we should start revering him as a mystical straw who has stirred so many fine drinks?

OK, forget the cocktails. But I recently read that Sam Lipsyte's journey from sad nobody to literary discovery to "comic genius" included an invitation to join the prestigious Lish writing seminar. I have no information on any "girlie action," "play," or "bi-curious and known drunk" Lipsyte received as a direct result of such membership, but it does seem as if once again--as with Carver, Hannah, Richard Ford, and others--we can thank El Gordo for anything we know about Lipsyte's fiction (input The Ask at a virtual front near you).

So in closing, an open invitation to Lipsyte: dish us the real deal on Lish--all the dirt or other brown dust worth mentioning. Or at least tell us what we should know about this guy...

...thanks, Sam.

And blessed Barry, yes, rest in peace and leave a light on for the rest of us.
For more on Lish's history of helping literature, is a place to start.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

multilingual horizons

If you would like to support literature and translation in Romania or if you would like to read my first short story published in Europe (in both English and Romanian), please follow this link:

The paypal does work, and I would email the editor Dr. Daniel at if you use it. (He also considers submissions of poetry, art, and fiction.) It should bring you a Romanian literary journal with English and Romanian versions of all texts. In addition, there is a separate Spanish-Romanian insert as well as a couple pieces appearing in an original language other than Romanian or English as well as these two. Dr. Daniel Daniel, the journal's editor, is also involved with the new National Literature Museum in Romania, and Contemporary Horizon is a media partner of the University of Bucharest.

It's really quite groovy. Indeed.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

April 3

So far, in the Southeast, April's cruelty has come only in the form of heat and humidity. I suspect we will persevere.

A few other random thoughts fluttered in and away--more Eliot, tax forms, car repairs, drought and rain--but I'll let them rest for the time being.

Happy holidays.

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