Wednesday, January 28, 2009


All poets are thieves, thieves of fire, fugitives of the gods. Some novelists can attain quasi-poetic powers of artistry but such souls are all too uncommon. I am listening to an interview with American novelist John Updike, who passed away yesterday at the age of seventy-six. I've found many of his New Yorker reviews to be quite enlightening and well written, but, boy, I've never been able to finish, have hardly been able to even begin, one of his books. Is there someone in Tempest Land to call me out, call me a philistine, and recommend some really primo Updikeana? I recently read David Foster Wallace's (R.I.P., dear D.) 1997 hatchet piece about Updike (collected in Foster Wallace's wonderful 2006 essay collection, Consider the Lobster) and tend to agree all too much. Foster Wallace sees a generational gap as one of the prime detractions; another being the incessant stylistic excess. Amen, brother. Any Updike-o-philes across the land? Please, teach the way if it is teachable. J/C