David Shields is a very lucky man. I think that most of us, when we enjoy something that everyone else seems to hate (or when we dislike a thing that they all love), feel a twinge of nervousness, a quiver of doubt. Perhaps we feel superior and isolated at the same time, wondering why we, [...]
Posts Tagged ‘criticism’
wo years ago, I invited Charles Baxter, Stacey D’Erasmo, Gemma Sieff, and Keith Taylor to join me on an AWP panel in DC to discuss the future of book reviewing and criticism, as well as their own work with The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper’s, and the Los Angeles Times, [...]
Marriage is so last century. Natalie Bakopoulos contemplates the demise of the marriage plot and Jeffrey Eugenides’s complex, undermining revival of it in his aptly-titled novel, The Marriage Plot. Is love still the ultimate trump card? Dear reader, it is. With some qualifications.
Debut novelist Jenny Shank brings her affection for the American West to The Ringer, a searing tale of racial and class tension set in contemporary Denver. As the Books & Writers Editor at NewWest.net, Shank champions stand-outs of the current Western-lit cannon.
Criticism has never been an easy field, but now there’s a new risk: legal action. New York University law professor Joseph Weiler is being sued for running an negative book review. Writes Weiler:
Last week, for the first time I found myself in the dock, as a criminal defendant. The French Republic [...]
In the final essay in our series on criticism, Keith Taylor recalls the pleasure of a “chance to review a new collection of poems in a place where several thousand people might read it, and to actually be paid something for our labors.” Has the Internet created room for “a more expansive tone to the discussion of contemporary poetry” – or made an already diminishing realm more clubby? Taylor’s experience as both poet and reviewer reveals the shaping potential of creating art and criticism.
Third in our series on criticism, Stacey D’Erasmo’s essay tackles the misconception that reviewing “is, at best, a career opportunity and, at worst, a distasteful and potentially troublesome task best avoided.” In particular, she addresses the fact that the culture of the MFA program may have steered fiction writers away from the craft of reviewing. Yet she urges us to remember that many of our greatest writers were also critics who engaged in the vigorous cultural conversation that centers on books. And that it’s not only necessary for us to revive this discussion, but also a pleasure to be involved.
We continue our series on criticism with an essay by special guest Charles Baxter, who was a participant in the 2011 AWP conference panel “The Good Review: Criticism in the Age of Book Blogs and Amazon.com,” moderated by Jeremiah Chamberlin. Joining them were Stacey D’Erasmo, Gemma Sieff, and Keith Taylor. In his essay, Baxter writes that a trustworthy review has “a kind of doubleness: the reviewer manages to assert somehow that the book under discussion is of some importance for one reason or another; and second, a good review provides a formal description of the book’s properties, so that you could reconstruct it from the reviewer’s sketch of it.”
Earlier this month, Editor Jeremiah Chamberlin moderated a panel on criticism at the 2011 AWP Conference entitled “The Good Review: Criticism in the Age of Book Blogs and Amazon.com.” Joining him were Charles Baxter, Stacey D’Erasmo, Gemma Sieff, and Keith Taylor. In this essay, adapted from his talk at that panel, he discusses why liking a book should have nothing to do with a review, and how this thoughts on criticism have changed since running an independent bookstore.