Archive for the ‘Essayists’ Category
Saturday, May 26th, 2012
Congratulations to Jane Silcott, who has won the CNFC’s Readers’ Choice Award for 2012 for her wonderful piece on menopause in 18 Bridges. Jane is also nominated for National and Western Magazine Awards for this terrific essay.
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
So the contemporary essay is often to be seen engaged in acts of apparent anti-novelization: in place of plot, there is drift, or the fracture of numbered paragraphs; in place of a frozen verisimilitude, there may be a sly and knowing movement between reality and fictionality; in place of the impersonal author of standard-issue third-person realism, the authorial self pops in and out of the picture, with a liberty hard to pull off in fiction. That these anti-novelistic tricks are all, in fact, novelistic tricks, often borrowed from the history of the novel, does not muffle the pleasure of watching this literary freedom in action.
Still, it’s worth remembering that the essay has its own inescapable conventions, its own formulas, too. The attempt to evade convention eventually becomes conventional. If there is “novelization” and its clanking machinery, then there will also be “essayism” and its clanking machinery. The current liberties of the essay will doubtless look mannered in thirty years’ time; its vaunted self-consciousness will look naïve, the fractured forms quaint rather than radical.
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2011/12/19/111219crbo_books_wood#ixzz1nt46rEkb
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Today I’m the guest blogger at Canadian Bookshelf, the “the one-of-a-kind resource for discovering, discussing, and indulging in Canadian books.”
Pity the essay—so undervalued that nobody recognizes it. We pass it by without a nod, or imagine we see it in a dozen other faces. “Ah, there you are! I’ve been looking for you! We must catch up,” we say, pumping a hand or slapping a rounded shoulder, all the while checking our watch in anticipation of our next appointment. Nobody wants to read the essay. Nobody wants to buy it. It’s so unpopular that in the 2012 Canada Reads—the first nonfiction edition ever—books of essays are explicitly ruled out.
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
A few months ago I quoted a short excerpt from Carl H. Klaus’s The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay. Anyone interested in the essay’s history and vitality should pick up a copy of this thoughtful book. Read my review at the L.A. Review of Books, in the last of their Summer Shorts.
Monday, May 16th, 2011
The thoughtful and insightful Julija Sukys interviews me today on her blog. Thanks, Julija, for the opportunity to chat with you.