American Writers: Supplement VIII by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

This complement provides 18 acclaimed writers, together with Jim Harrison, Alfred Kazin, Bobbi Ann Mason, Thomas Merton, Gary Snyder and others.

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He draws little distinction between the two forms, instead always seeing the poetry in the fiction that he writes. It is Harrison's fiction that has received more attention. The body of work the author has published since his debut novel in 1971 exhibits an astounding range of genres, protagonists, settings, and themes: from novel to novella; comic picaro to strong female; wilderness to city to a wasteland somewhere between; food to sex to alcohol to psychosis. Harrison's fiction hauntingly echoes William Faulkner's sense of mortality in As I Lay Dying: survive, and feel life at every moment, in every sinew of your being; once you're dead, you'll stay dead a long time.

There is also an ethical imperative for Brodsky in Auden's anti-heroic stance: in his handling of his own self-exile, Brodsky admits and accepts his own insignificance. Brodsky provides a seventy-two page reading of Marina Tsvetayeva's poem "Novogodnee" ("New Year's Greetings"), a poem that itself is an elegy to her friend Rainer Maria Rilke. Brodsky sees the poem as Tsvetayeva's creating with Rilke a triangle in time, of which "eternity" is but a fraction. His portrait of her technical and metrical precision and her balancing of visionary language and ordinary diction can also be seen as mirroring Brodsky's own poetics.

Sochineniia losifa Brodskogo (The works of Joseph Brodsky). Vol. I-IV. St. Petersburg: Pushkin Fund, 1992-1996. Rev. , 1997-1998. Vol. V, 1999. Vol. VI, 2000. Vol. VII, forthcoming. Rozhdestvenskii stikhi. Moscow: Nezavisimaia Gazeta, 1992. , 1996. Trans, by multiple translators as Nativity Poems, forthcoming. Peizazh s navodneniem (View with a flood). : Ardis, 1996. So Forth. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996. Joseph Brodsky: Collected Poems in English. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.

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