The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America

The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America

The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America

The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America

Excerpt

The "purpose" of this anthology, and from such statement ought also to be presented its design, was not merely to get together stories and pieces I happen to like, cookbook style, but to present those writers who have impressed me, over the range of say 10 years or so, as having something to say in a prose medium that was in adjunct to the artful writing of the marketplace. It was not merely in terms of a "generation" of writers, there being as much as twenty years separation between some of these writers' ages, but more towards, I think, a quality of writing that has come to clarify itself more and more at each publication as the most interesting and exciting writing that has taken place in this country since the war.

The vital and in some cases very much publicized activity that has returned American poetry to a great measure of emotional and intellectual hegemony among the world's poetries, after about thirty years of its representation as a patently unreadable graduate student verse, has certainly helped bring my selections more directly in focus. There is a definite connection between the so-called poetic renaissance and the literary environment that delineates the writers included in this volume from the thousands of other "prose writers" who live in this country. The prose and the writers in this volume are very different from the prose and the writers that would show up say in an anthology gotten together by Herbert Gold, or James Baldwin or Norman Mailer (and I mention these names in specific relief only because anyone familiar with contemporary American fiction on any but the most parochial level will know the "personalities" that inhabit the most popular literary establishment of our time). One of the reasons for such an open statement of difference is that I am most responsive to writing that shows a care for deeper involvement beyond the specific instance of its virtues as "literature."

I was interested in this volume in placing together prose that had some future, as literary and social phenomenon . . . and not neces-

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