Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Updike dead

Not that I've read anything by him outside of a few New Yorker stories, but he lived on north of Boston, pretty close to where I grew up.

Fun quote I found in his obit in the Boston Globe:

"I'm more or less a shady type improvising his way from book to book and trying to get up in the morning without a toothache."

29 comments:

crap said...

never read a book of his... many a times looked at his row in the library, book after book... he did have one of the New Yorker shorts I've read over there.

crap y said...

one of the best, it should read

Anonymous said...

Somebody said that when Mailer went, Updike was his successor as the greatest living American writer.

Who would it be now?

Cormac McCarthy?
Don DeLillo?
Toni Morrison?
John Irving?
Jerry Seinfeld?

Anonymous said...

I think it would be either - Toni Morison, John Irving, or Junot Diaz...

Matt DiGangi said...

Whoever says Toni Morrison is a socialist.

Anonymous said...

a sociologist?

Matt DiGangi said...

I dunno, that's what some guy named Snake was trying to tell me at a party, and he's not the only guy I know named Snake.

Dan Nucci says Pynchon. I think he has the most deliberate style, but is too dense. McCarthy, I don't know, I don't think he's left the Old West enough. Haven't read more than one DeLillo. Toni Morrison speaks to a certain range.

What gave Mailer and Updike their biggest credibility with the kind of people who even write sentences like "greatest living American writer" is that they were prolific and varied. Fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, criticism, whatever.

Maybe I'm a homer, but give Denis Johnson a few more books, and I'll give him the title.

Spencer Troxell said...

TC Boyle is where America is right now, in my opinion.

Brian said...

My vote would have to go with McCarthy. He's the most visible literary writer of the day. And while much of his subject matter is stranded in the Old West, at the sentence level he is much more capable then say an Irving or Jonson. Jesus' Son is a bad ass book, but Blood Meridian is a piece of art.

My humble opinion.

crack said...

denis johnson would need a healthy number of new books. tree of smoke was good not that mainstream. people didn't talk about it. and right now he's too much jesus' son.

cormac is very old west. he has an interesting drama out with a good ending called the 'sunshine unlimited'.

jd salinger? pynchon... i've never read and can't comment.

what about richard ford. he's very american. prolific. average in an above average way...

JTK said...

I always thought "A&P" was a cool story.

Flannery O'Connor was not very into his work as mentioned in some of her letters.

I would say the greatest living writer right now in America is Jack Ketchum. His books are awesome. Red was cooler than any of Updike's stuff.

mather said...

I thought Updike died years ago. Anyway I'm glad he's gone.

I have a question: Am I supposed to believe every author on your mile-long list was INVITED to submit? I think your "you've got to drop the right names or we won't read you" policy is strange, as if being in the club is more important than the poetry. Besides being snobby and hipper-than-thou, this type of discrimination doesn't seem to be filtering out the crap. To take one right from the top: that Alex Galper poem is WEAK.

mather said...

Ok, so I see your submission policy is a relatively new thing. Still, it's lame. If you don't want unsolicited submissions, just say so. To expect a writer to BEG for the opportunity to submit! "Why do you think your poetry would fit in at Thieves Jargon?" The last thing I want to do is fit in. I want to STAND OUT. I've read plenty of your web site, poets, and have been published in many of the same journals on your links. But, you're amateur and at the same time condescending, a terrible combination. I wouldn't submit to you now if you paid cash on acceptance.

mather said...

I find it insulting you think I should write to Charlie Geoghegan-Clements or Savannah-Louise Krusen or Crap or Crack or Johnny H2O and get them to slip me in the back door of TJ. What's all this got to do with poetry? I don't care if someone fucking MEMORIZES your whole god damned site, that doesn't mean they can write a poem. You seem like a wannabe intellectual and a wannabe toughguy at the same time. Not only do you want to discontinue rejection letters, but when you do email me something you don't have the balls to put your name on it. So many editors do this, panty waists hiding behind their monitors. The more I read on this site the more I dislike it. Nice format though.

Brian said...

ah, what's the mather?

panty waists?

like elastic?

mather said...

It just doesn't mather. Panty waists, like very thin and delicate, kind of lacy.

mather said...

Is that all you can say, Bri-bri? Who is this, Carr? Whoever you are, this kind of pun on my name has been done many thousands of times, I've heard them all, the most annoying one being the reference to Jerry Mathers of Leave it to Beaver. Some people call me "the Beave" and think they're being very clever. Sincerely, Mather Schneider.

Matt DiGangi said...

Hey Cotton,

Thanks for stopping by. It's too bad that you haven't enjoyed the work that you've read here, but I am very glad that you did take the time to read some of what we've published. That's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for when we closed our submissions. If a writer can't find one person we've published whose work they admire, then why shouldn't they look toward other journals?

Yeah no, I was curious to see what would happen when we closed our submissions and encouraged a more active experience, both for potential submitters, and from our editors. After a few months of this, I've confirmed that Thieves Jargon doesn't NEED unsolicited submissions at all (we still get about a dozen a day), but we may open up submissions again for certain reading periods in the future, because I do realize that it's important to find new voices.

I think the work we've run since the last quarter of '08 is pretty strong. I do have one foot in the classroom and one in the gutter, and I realize that paradox means I'm alienating half of my contemporaries at any given time. So be it. At least you took the time to research your decision.

Matt DiGangi
--Ed., Thieves Jargon

mather said...

What makes you think a writer should chase those he admires?

It seems your main problem is you get too many submissions. So, limit the submissions to a couple of months a year, big deal.

And this whole thing about being worried about simultaneous submissions, oh give me a break! These copyright laws are most of them too old to even cover the mimeograph era, the computer era. Tell me, what's gonna happen if the same poem gets published at the same time in two differnet print journals or net-zines?

mather said...

Yes, and his brother Increase, I've been called them too, so many, many times.

Matt DiGangi said...

What makes you think a writer should chase those he admires?

I believe in the power of community. It's all part of being a socialist.

Tell me, what's gonna happen if the same poem gets published at the same time in two differnet print journals or net-zines?

Do you know the term sloppy seconds? No editor wants that.

mather said...

Sloppy seconds? Give me a break. The same comic strip and opinion column can appear in thousands of newspapes throughout the contry at the same time, the same song can play on every radio station, but god forbid you publish the same poem that some journal five hundred miles from you published! These web zines and print zines have such tiny readerships, who cares? I think the copyright laws were enacted well before this mimeograph/computer zine era, and to even worry about it seems a minor side issue. Is somebody really going to sue you? Isn't it just a good idea to get out the quality work? Sloppy seconds! If she's hot enough, you don't care!

Matt DiGangi said...

Who said anything about copyright laws?

I don't care how hot she is, if she burps and it smells like another guy's johnson, I'm not interested. If you have enough game to get one hot girl to burp in your face, you can always find a different one who does meet your standards.

mather said...

I guess you've only fucked virgins your whole life.

I mentioned copyright laws because I thought that might be one reason you were concerned about it. If not, fine, good.

I don't even know what this is supposed to mean: "If you have enough game to get one hot girl to burp in your face, you can always find a different one who does meet your standards."

Anonymous said...

Matt, thanks for putting another masturbatory writer to shame. It's sad that your arguments, both reasonable and cogent, are being dealt with as if they don't even Mather.

renaissance jones said...

It seems this guy (who reeks of Madore, BTW), is trying to turn a molehill into the Matherhorn

mather said...

How exactly did he put me to shame? It's very brave of you to call me a "masturbatory writer" behind your "anonymous" handle. It's a lame and trendy insult, and I don't even think you know what is meant by it. You fucking pussies make me sick with your little circle jerk blog world, private jokes, lit. references, etc. "Renaissance Jones", oh, brother! How modern! Naturally someone who calls himself that would make fun of my name. How old are you fags anyway? I'm guessing mid twenties.

Brian said...

Math. Chill the fuck out. Breathe. Writers are suppossed to make literary references. That's kind of their job in the scheme. And hush, child. It'll be okay if your poetry is not in Thieves Jargon. This too shall pass. If it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. 'Tis nobler in the mind to suffer. My mother is a fish. We are all alone here and we are dead. All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. But then again, you're not in the family. Woe; woe.

mather said...

No, I am not in the family. No, it is not a writer's job to make literary references. That really what you think? Do you have any idea how pretentious you sound? Good luck with your circle jerk and your bad writing. Won't be back.