Say It Hot: Industrial Strength : Essays, Reviews and Interviews - Vol. 2

Say It Hot: Industrial Strength : Essays, Reviews and Interviews - Vol. 2

Say It Hot: Industrial Strength : Essays, Reviews and Interviews - Vol. 2

Say It Hot: Industrial Strength : Essays, Reviews and Interviews - Vol. 2

Synopsis

Say It Hot Volume II: Industrial Strength is a collection of essays on American poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and issues of interest to artists and academics. A companion volume to Say It Hot, these essays are brutally honest and acutely intelligent.

From the book: "Literary authors these days no longer make livings off their work. Their books are not to be found in bookstores, and the books are rarely printed by major New York publishing houses. No one reads their works except for other literary authors and the professors who are evaluating their tenure and promotion folders at the colleges and universities at which they are employed, and it's a minor miracle if a literary book from a small press sells a thousand copies. Fiction writers from wealth write about writing or they write about the ridiculous "sufferings" of the rich. Fiction writers from the lower classes write about the primordial filth from which they've physically escaped but from which they'll never mentally be able to leave behind. Like war veterans, people who've fought it out in the miasma of poverty and blue- collar hell can never get the stink out of their skins, try as they may. Just like people who haven't been to war can spot vets who have, middle-class people and the rich can spot people who've grown up poor, no matter what their position in life or the quality of their designer suits. Those suits just don't fit right, and the neckties make them fidget and sweat. What the well-heeled authors and the working-class writers have in common is that they've been trained not to pronounce moral judgment."

Excerpt

Eric Miles Williamson is a real son of a bitch. He’s constantly spouting off his literary opinions, hurting people’s feelings and making honest assessments about the countless books he receives as an editor of four major literary journals. As a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle, he certainly could have made a great many friends among those in the large New York publishing houses, lavishing praise on their well-known authors, but instead, he often chose to call out well-established authors when he felt their respective work wasn’t up to par. Along the way, he even took time to discover new or relatively unknown writers and fought to bring some of them attention, advocating their work when he felt they were worthy, wasting the literary establishment’s valuable time. How dare he disrupt the stagnation of American letters? in a time when it’s unheard of to say anything negative about anything or anyone, especially Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners, not to mention the high-earning pets of the large presses, Williamson tends to get himself in trouble for calling it as he sees it, his own literary reputation and well-being be damned. Despite the retribution he’s received for his criticism of writers he sees as overrated, I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Why would someone put their career in jeopardy by acting the way Williamson has? Why wouldn’t Williamson just play nice and quietly advance his own career, kissing ass all along the way? Most people probably don’t get it, but his editorial appointments and status as a major literary figure come with responsibility and these are duties he doesn’t take lightly, so it has cost him. Williamson might be a professor, critic and writer, one of the twelve best living writers in the world, according to the prestigious French magazine Transfuge, but he has humble beginnings in the working class world. Working . . .

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