Cowering Literary Peons
This post’s a bit apples and oranges. Or rotten bananas and rotten (or as we say “Vrot”) pineapples. In fact it’s not very organized. And it is a response, in a way, to Blake Butler’s 15 Towering Literary Giants.
But, what’s a Cowering Literary Peon??
—an overrated supposed Giant?
—a talentless p.o.s.?
—a fucking weasel?
—a fraction and no more than a real Towering Giant who came before?
A mix maybe. Or maybe just one of the above. And again, this is all apples and bananas. Etc. Etc.
1) Tony Hoagland. Definitely a Cowering Literary Peon! Over-rated and a jackass, it’s amazing this clown carries any sort of clout. But he does. Within the poetry world. And he’s a teacher. And of course piss runs down hill. And so his ass gets licked by plenty of young beautiful people. The only good thing’s that outside of the poetry world he’s just a normal little weasel.
2) Cormac McCarthy. Let the howling begin! But I’m not the first to go after McCarthy and it’s because it’s obvious (how can u dispute the logic of “it’s obvious”). He’s way over-rated. My first McCarthy torture I endured was The Road but I gave the Redness in the West a chance because people I respected told me The Road was the wrong entry point. Well, well, well. McCarthy has his strengths of course but his archaisms, compounds, and tired and overreaching bring-out-the-horns-and-drums “profound” moments make for (like these last phrases) a strange mosquito-annoying read.
3) Tim O’Brien– I’ve not read anything besides The Things They Carried and that’s because that book was such an unreal beating I wouldn’t dare touch another of his. Twice shy and all that. All smoke and mirrors. I’m lying. I’m not lying. O, I am lying. O, no, I’m not. O, but I am. Just a little. Not at all. Completely. Barf!!! Story-truth is truer than conventional-truth. Double Barf!
4) Maya Angelou. The Caged Peon Singeth.
5) Russel Edson. Some wonderful poems but after you read Henri Michaux you realize Edson’s best poems come straight out of some of Michaux’s most ordinary and gimmicky work. A fraction of Michaux, literally. He’s like Michaux’s left buttocks. Not bad. But…..
6) God. I mean the bible’s good and the ten commandments, etc, etc, (such style and seething prose) but is this guy really deserving of the most read novel in all of time? Yes, this guy’s a Cowering Literary Peon. And all his cowering little weasel scribes.
7) Seth Abramson. I’m not going to say anything good or bad about Seth (that’s just not my style) but there are so many hate-filled fanatics out there who’d probably take out a contract on me if I didn’t include him here as a Cowering Literary Peon. So, sorry Seth, I’m bowing to popular (or unpopular) demand.
And, so here we are, and I’ve only listed 7 here because I’m feeling God-like. Other candidates are perennial whipping boys like Billy Collins and Jonathan Saffron Flowers.
Junot Diaz deserves a good mention and a good, thorough beating. Like the crusades. In waves, over centuries. Orders of knights dedicated to kicking his worthless and righteous ass.