12 feb. 2004

What I meant about Warsh not being inferior to other, better-known novelists. It was a kind of back-handed way of expressing myself. What I meant to say is that the idea that the Jonathan Franzens, Joyce Carol Oates, Don DeLillos, Doris Lessings, of the world are prominent novelists seems quite arbitrary to me. I'm not criticizing their work, I'm just saying that an obscure novel by Warsh or Fanny Howe or Michael Brownstein is likely to be just as rewarding. (And that's making the weakest possible case.) Of course, my snobbish pleasure in reading things off the beaten course is part of why I enjoy finding novels by poets more than by "novelists." This isn't even about the avant-garde vs. quietude distinction, since the poets' novels can be quite conventional at times.