Think Global,Read Local

10 Aug

Though not as densely populated with writers and scribblers as Vermont, Brooklyn or North Carolina, the Boston area does have its fair share of novelists, poets and critics. Thus, every once in a while I avail myself of the local literary orchard’s low hanging fruit. In this case, I must note the good works of Boston University mentor and Agni editor William Giraldi,novelist KC Fredricks and the inestimable Sven Birkerts.

Giraldi’s debut novel Busy Monsters (WW Norton) has been favorably blurbed by Harold Bloom, “William Giraldi’s Busy Monsters is rammed with life. It has more than promise. A kind of elegiac intensity, remarkable for so young a man, pervades its harmonies.” Of course, since Giraldi may be the only living person who has read all 30 of Bloom’s books, this accolade seems suspiciously like a bit of log rolling of which Ron Charles’s appreciation takes due note. Sven Birkerts, Giraldi’s colleague at Agni, weighs in(you judge whether this is log rolling(which has not yet been made illegal in this country).

Take the amped-up lyrical braggadocio of the American South and join it to a sly, at times Nabokovian celebration of psychological obsession. Add a pinch of O’Connor, a dash of Hannah, heat with an imagination reared in both the canon and its rock & roll antipodes. Busy Monsters is an unforgettable achievement by one of our most important young chroniclers of anguish and bliss.

In any case, Giraldi and I chatted recently and that conversation should make its way to the light some day soon. One hopes.

KC Frederick, whose writing I discovered at one of those NE/PEN Hemingway Awards (Inland,won the 2007 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for Fiction) convocations invited me to his newest tome’s After Lyletown (Permanent Press) book launch.Though I rarely go anywhere except my son’s baseball games the fete was a block away from my abode so made my way over and spent a few pleasant minutes chatting with Chet and a South African writer whose name has slipped my mind. Need I add After Lyletown is well worth reading?

The above quoted Sven Birkerts, well-known and well-regarded for his The Gutenberg Elegies whom I have chatted with a few times has brought his professorial calling to a number of prestigious academies and most recently the celebrated Bennington Writing Seminars and additionally has a new tome The Other Walk: Essays (GrayWolf Press)nearing publication.If you are unfamiliar with the “heartlessly smart” Birkerts (the rubric is from David Foster Wallace) you might peruse Reading in a Digital Age.

His new opus should occasion yet another conversation with Birkerts. Stay tuned.

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