Friday, June 20, 2008


ANOTHER of the criticisms sent my way for trying to change literature is that I'm simply resentful. But resentful of what? Foppish, marginally talented plutocrats? That's like saying the sans-culottes were resentful of Louis XVI. Well, hell yeah, I'm resentful of what some people are doing to the art.

The problem is a structural situation which denies some writers access, and gives others every privilege and backing based on their connections and background. The American way.
THE IRONY is that I've faced tons of resentment among the underground. It's no secret that I'm the biggest name and most dynamic personality in the literary underground. Since the ULA began, this has bothered many petty little egos. Every time I've leveraged my rep to gain press, from 2001 through 2007, backbiting and backstabbing have followed. Some of the perplexing incidents have included a local zeenster boycott of a Benefit concert I staged and hosted in Chicago in 2003, to an insistence I not be invited to an underground poetry reading at Swarthmore College near Philly a few years ago. My biggest opponents have been welcome to read at any event I've promoted. The reverse has not been the case. The reaction to the Chicago Benefit was particularly small-minded. If my worst enemy on the planet was available, I'm sure that person would've shown up, because it was a worthy cause. But not the petty egoists.

And so I get it from both sides; from the blackballing and roadblocks of the literary establishment and their lit-blogger demi-puppets; and at the same time from the writers I've been trying to help.

What are all these knives in me, you ask, front and back? From writers! The all-holy defenders of free speech themselves.


cs said...

Simply resentful? Beggar the thought. But let me see if I understand the situation. See, I know a guy who went to Brown. Comes from a very wealthy and well-positioned family in the South. But his novel is unpublished. I mean, what gives? Is he retarded or something? I've been reading this blog for a few weeks and it seems like if you graduate from an ivy league school they just hand you a publishing contract on graduation if you declare that you want to be a writer. There's another guy I know who dropped out of college, he's from a working-class background, and he gets published all the time. Every time I pick up a magazine or an anthology, there the prick is! Are these the "exceptions that prove the rule"?

I also am shocked, shocked to hear that the underground zeensters are banning you too. Especially shocked, shocked to hear--based on all the evidence presented, with fairness and balance, here--that they are "small-minded." Perhaps they're actually CIA moles, working through their PEN controllers? Just a thought.

King said...

??? Hard to verify any of this without names. Working class writers ARE published-- Ray Carver the classic case. What compromises to their art are made?
Anyway, try thinking logically. To say that Ivy League writers are wildly overrepresented in American lit isn't to say all Ivy League writers are published. two different things.
Larry Richette, as a matter of fact, attended Columbia.
I'm looking at broad trends, and how they work to the detriment of literature today.
(Surely you're not denying the effects of the class system in this country?)

King said...

p.s. I offer here necessary balance to the vast conformist noise of the so-called literary mainstream. No, it's not the same-old same-old.