THE YOUNG AMERICAN WRITERS by Richard-Ed. Kostelanetz


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What is really ""new"" in American art is found preeminently in music (folk rock, electronic), theatre (""happenings,"" the dance of Cunningham and Waring, mixed-media), some underground movies, and some painting"" op) Though the ""new"" here may or may not be ""good,""(""combines, pop, it is distinctly non-linear--which is another way of saying it is not prose, and even that it supersedes prose, to bring in the by now familiar and boring reference to McLuhan. Thus, the anthology here of work by young (thirty and under) American writers can in no way live up to the bubbly claims made by the editor in his preface. The use of discontinuity, spatial relationships, absurdist humor or structures, the phenomenological approach to perception, and so forth, can all be traced to the modernist tradition, almost a half-century old. One emphasizes this fact since much of the fiction and' poetry in these pages exists in a sort of self-congratulatory ""experimental"" mode: David Shapiro, for instance, produces wispy surrealist word-plays. On the other hand, Jerome Charyn, Arno Karlen, or Louise Gluck are really quite conventionally modern. The general level of competence, however, is fairly high, with some exhilarating talents to watch (Aaron Fogel, especially), as well as moments of genuine honesty and spiritedness. There are also essays, the best of which show that Susan Sontag is not without influence among the young.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1967
Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls