My Favorite Writers

Willa Cather

Graham Greene

Rosamond Lehmann

Michel Tournier

Alice Munro

Robert Musil

Dawn Powell

Patrick White

Jose Saramago

 

 

More to  be added soon.

 

 

 

 

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15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by steve in minneapolis on September 10, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    Anthony Burgess’s “Byrne” is adroitly witty in Don Juan sort of way. You could also try W. S. Merwin’s rhapsodic book about a leprosy outbreak in 19th century Hawaii (improbably enough),”The Folding Cliffs”. Daryl Hine’s two book-length verse memoirs “Academic Festival Overtures” and “In and Out” are technical tours de force treating his dawning awareness of his homosexuality.

    I was looking through “Academic Festival Overtures” again and can’t resist giving a sample of the effortless, sophisticated verse found there:

    Our interest, indeed belief in the existence
    Of certain fictional characters, such as God,
    Outside their original, literary setting,
    Is a tribute not only to artistic fraud —
    What E. M. Forster calls ‘faking’ — but to the reader’s
    Naive or knowledgeable gullibility
    Which, not content with Happily Ever After,
    Wants to know the hero’s subsequent history,
    As if life, which furnishes so few happy endings,
    Could improve upon the false symmetry of art,
    Or with its unpredictability and failures
    Had any palatable lesson to impart.

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  2. Hi Steve in Minneapolis,
    These lines you quote from Daryl Hines are intriguing. They sure are original carrying more ideas per line than most poems. The rhymes are unique – “God” and “fraud”, “gullibility” and “history”. I think this is a verse novel I will need to read more of to really appreciate – “Academic Festival Overture”. These are lines that require a lot of thought in order to discover the complete impact. Thank you for bringing them to my attention. I’m also interested in W. S. Merwin, although I’ve never read his work.

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  3. Posted by steve in minneapolis on September 10, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    It is probably fair to say in that looking for a fragment that would stand on its own as a set piece I have given a mis-impression of Hine’s book. Most of it is in a straight-forward, almost breezy, memoir style and is not at all difficult to digest (although just as skillful). His other book is in unrhymed anapests.

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  4. I’ll check this book out – “Summer Festival Overtures” by Daryl Hine.

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  5. Posted by steve in minneapolis on September 11, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    Just notice though that the title is Academic (not Summer) Festival Overture (named after an orchestral work by Brahms).

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  6. […] I’ve been reading about verse novels as well as reading examples of the form as preparation for writing my own epic – as they’re […]

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  7. […] Literature, Poetry, Writing Tags: poetry, verse novels 0 Lately, I’ve been reading about verse novels as well as reading examples of the form as preparation for writing my own epic – as they’re […]

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  8. Two excellent verse novels:

    After the Lost War by Andrew Hudgins

    Sonata Mullatica by Rita Dove

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  9. Hi,

    Perhaps, you’d like to hear this verse novel from New Zealand (currently being broadcast on Radio New Zealand):
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/drama/book_readings/respublica

    Or, you can catch up with the episodes at:

    http://immortalmuse.wordpress.com/listen-now/

    Cheers,
    KS

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  10. Posted by Olivia on May 21, 2011 at 4:13 AM

    There are two outstanding contemporary novels to add to your list. Darlington’s Fall: A Novel in Verse by Brad Leithausen, published 2002,is excellent, telling the adventures of an entomologist, born in Indiana in 1888. Derek Walcott’s Omeros, published in 1990, is written in tercets and is set on the Island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Walcott received the 1992 Nobel Literature Prize. I highly recommend both of these works.

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  11. Hi Olivia,
    Thank you for your excellent suggestions. I’m very familiar with Brad Leithauser’s work, having read his novels ‘Hence’ and ‘Equal Distance’. I remember being very impressed with his writing, but kind of lost track of him in recent years.

    Derek Walcott’s Omeros is one of those books I keep meaning to read. Perhaps your suggestion will give me the impetus to actually read it. Thank You.

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  12. I loved The Golden Gate even if I suspect I didn’t catch all the poetry there since English isn’t my native language. Well, I understood enough to find it fantastic.

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