Skip to main content

April 5 (Anis Shivani asks, and Richard Burgin answers)

I drop this now in case I forget to blog later today, or in the part of the day when it is normal to be awake.

Anyway, this great interview with Richard Burgin has it all--Philip Rahv, Isaac Singer, Borges, Brandeis, Drexel, Boulevard, agent angst, and more.

Here's an excerpt from The Huffington Post:

Shivani: I think good writing is not fundamentally about self-expression. Do you agree or disagree? If it's not, then what is it about?
Burgin: I agree that good writing is not fundamentally about self-expression but rather the creation and exploration of the writer's own emotional territory. If the writer concentrates on populating his world mainly with images of him or herself, his writing will be narcissistic and fail. The self is expressed in good writing but subtly or secondarily as a byproduct, as it were, of their created world.
Shivani: What is the single most self-destructive thing a writer can do to harm his or her growth?
Burgin: Don't get addicted to any drugs and don't listen too much to anyone from a "school" of writing who tells you there is only one way to write well. As Isaac Singer said "small fish swim in schools."

Comments

Caroline Gill said…
'self-expression' versus 'the creation and exploration of the writer's own emotional territory' ... yes, food for thought here indeed, Alex. Thank you for drawing our attention to this piece. It can sometimes be (or appear to be) a fine line though between being seen to promote the self and being seen to show what it is to be human! It will be interesting if others respond to this ...

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…