Saturday, April 30, 2005

Underrated? Overrated?

For Issue No. 58 of Boulevard, Editor Richard Burgin asked several writers this question: Which writer or artist do you think is the most underrated and/or overrated and why?

Andrew Weinstein (whose essay has some wonderful asides: “no creator of fiction is more overrated in the American popular imagination than George W. Bush;” “[Nanteuil’s] portraits of courtiers inside fancy wreaths and portholes who grin or wink or smirk at you, often with the same arrogance and pre-modern privilege one sees on the faces of President Bush and his elites.”)
O: artist Matthew Barney
U: artist Robert Nanteuil

Kevin Prufer (Who asks, is there such a thing as an overrated poet? May Angelou, maybe, but she isn’t really a poet—she doesn’t write poetry, she writes claptrap.)
O: celebrities Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Robin Williams, Cher
U: poet Laura Jensen

Peter Stine
O: Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway
U: Isaac Babel, Frank Conroy (Stop-Time), Leonard Gardner (Fat City), Rudolph Wurlitzer (Nog)

Frank Wilson
U: John Cowper Powys

Jean McGarry
O: Thomas Mann

Richard Burgin
U: Thomas Bernhard

Eric Miles Williamson (“We should read as if the day is soon upon us when we will not be permitted to do so”)
Dead people we should read less of: John Cheever, Ray Carver
Dead people we should read more of: Shakespeare, Smollett, Matthew Arnold, Tennyson, Montaigne, Pascal, Melville
Living people we should read more of: Larry Fondation, Laurie Foos, Alasdair Gray, Dawn Raffel, Charlie Smith, Pete Fairchild

Robert Zaller
U: James Hanley

2 comments:

Carol Peters said...

Cliff, have you read John Cowper Powys? He's an all-time favorite of mine, but for God's sake, don't go buy his books right now. They're huge and you don't have room. But someday . . .

Clifford Garstang said...

In this piece, Wilson quotes JCP and that's all I've read; Wilson also describes the size of the things and I knew there was no way. Maybe I'll explore the library, but maybe not. There are others on the list that look good, too.