Thursday, May 29, 2008

A PEN Quote

From PEN's Larry Siems:

"Excluding those with challenging or critical viewpoints is just as wrong now. In the post-9/11 world, where the future depends more than ever on bridging intellectual chasms and cultural divides, we believe that exclusion is also self-defeating."

Does he and PEN apply this to America's literary scene?

PEN is doing many things right. I believe they can do better.


Karl Wenclas said...

This quote should be addressed, because it addresses what I've been about since I began writing a zeen in 1992.
The question: would my kind of writer, with my viewpoint, be allowed into the literary discussion, with viewpoint undeleted?
The answer has been a firm "NO!" Through every kind of tactic, polite and not-so-polite, the reaction has been the same: These Walls Are Closed. I've fought to present a return to what had been the mainstream of American lit in the days of Frank Norris and Jack London.
The status quo has been unwilling to give an inch.
Writers who don't conform in every way in this society, with style and thought, are shut out.
It's a closed world-- complacent about its closure. Instead of buddying up with plutocrats, PEN's mission, in THIS country, should be to address this.
I'll be coming to this matter from a variety of viewpoints; including looking at the status of writers in American prisons.
(One would never get the impression, looking at the PEN site, that the country with the largest prison population isn't China, but US!)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but in America you don't get arrested for the things you write.

Anonymous said...

PEN has a prison writers' project. Fielding Dawson was involved with it for many years.