Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kill your idols

Reading the Twitter feed of the Grand Central Library yesterday morning I came across this article/slide show in the Huffington Post: The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers. I clicked through hesitantly; I don't usually read the Huffington Post, and these sorts of lists tend to be nasty and bitchy and not really about literature at all. I prepared myself to disagree with most or all of this guy's picks. But ... wow. Writer Anis Shivani hits the nail on the head fifteen times in a row with really very jaw-dropping insight and clarity. Letting you know he's not messing around, the article begins: "Are the writers receiving the major awards and official recognition really the best writers today? Or are they overrated mediocrities with little claim to recognition by posterity?" and Shivani keeps cutting into literary mediocrity with a surgeon's scalpel. Terrific stuff.

Another fave quote: "The MFA writing system, with its mechanisms of circulating popularity and fashionableness, leans heavily on the easily imitable."

Check it. The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers.

[Image from the Flickr feed of Steve Rhodes, generously licensed under Creative Commons]

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