October 18th, 2009 / 12:31 am
Author Spotlight

Q&A w/ Gary Lutz

via Eugene Lim

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28 Comments

  1. John Madera

      He says he read at least 250 books on grammar, punctuation, and usage! Boom!

  2. John Madera

      He says he read at least 250 books on grammar, punctuation, and usage! Boom!

  3. Maurice

      Now we are talking. Go to the source.

  4. Maurice

      Now we are talking. Go to the source.

  5. gene

      there are like 5-6 clips total on youtube of g. lutz both reading two stories and answering questions. although the dude that introduces him is awkward city.

  6. gene

      there are like 5-6 clips total on youtube of g. lutz both reading two stories and answering questions. although the dude that introduces him is awkward city.

  7. Justin Taylor

      Couldn’t you just listen to him all day? Where’s the rest of this bad boy?

  8. Justin Taylor

      Couldn’t you just listen to him all day? Where’s the rest of this bad boy?

  9. mimi

      This is what I love about html giant.

  10. mimi

      This is what I love about html giant.

  11. stu

      This guy is unreadable and I’m not sure I buy into his “philosophy” on writing. Doesn’t surprise me, though… considering I’m not a Lish fan.

  12. stu

      This guy is unreadable and I’m not sure I buy into his “philosophy” on writing. Doesn’t surprise me, though… considering I’m not a Lish fan.

  13. Garett Strickland

      Gary Lutz is a sentence. Gordon Lish is a sentence.

      God lumps and does a gooey loop about His grandest literature.

  14. Garett Strickland

      Gary Lutz is a sentence. Gordon Lish is a sentence.

      God lumps and does a gooey loop about His grandest literature.

  15. BAC

      Really? Grammar is where it’s at? I don’t know if I can get down with that. Especially since so much of what we find interesting at the sentence level is made more interesting by context. Elements such as repetition and irony don’t exist without prior events, and so it’s necessary to have some form of narrative thread. I like Lutz, but I just don’t know that I buy into the idea that a sentence can truly stand alone as a piece of art without the framework of rationality established by an author as the ‘story’ of a book unfolds. Maybe.

  16. BAC

      Really? Grammar is where it’s at? I don’t know if I can get down with that. Especially since so much of what we find interesting at the sentence level is made more interesting by context. Elements such as repetition and irony don’t exist without prior events, and so it’s necessary to have some form of narrative thread. I like Lutz, but I just don’t know that I buy into the idea that a sentence can truly stand alone as a piece of art without the framework of rationality established by an author as the ‘story’ of a book unfolds. Maybe.

  17. reynard

      ‘i’d like to give a shout out to my boy joseph mitchell, my bitch the hyphen, and (pouring out a 40oz from his podium) much respect to the william shawn administration. one love.’

  18. reynard

      ‘i’d like to give a shout out to my boy joseph mitchell, my bitch the hyphen, and (pouring out a 40oz from his podium) much respect to the william shawn administration. one love.’

  19. gene

      “Were I to keep talking about barely the one thing, which is that for far too long a time I lived in the trouble between women and men without without taking anywhere nearly enough of it for my own, I would humor myself at least as far as discovering, all over again, beyond example, that the thing to do with a man, the fittest way yet for a woman left like me to get a man put to rights, was to set him three, maybe four paces in advance of me on the sidewalk and let him block out what would otherwise have been my view of even more of the town–the sun-porched, shingle-thin enormity of where I was still hard up in the hours.”

      One Lutz sentence picked at random that is the character’s purview and entire world, inherent. One sentence, minus context.

  20. gene

      “Were I to keep talking about barely the one thing, which is that for far too long a time I lived in the trouble between women and men without without taking anywhere nearly enough of it for my own, I would humor myself at least as far as discovering, all over again, beyond example, that the thing to do with a man, the fittest way yet for a woman left like me to get a man put to rights, was to set him three, maybe four paces in advance of me on the sidewalk and let him block out what would otherwise have been my view of even more of the town–the sun-porched, shingle-thin enormity of where I was still hard up in the hours.”

      One Lutz sentence picked at random that is the character’s purview and entire world, inherent. One sentence, minus context.

  21. Jonny Ross

      sweet.

  22. Jonny Ross

      sweet.

  23. KevinS

      “I just don’t know that I buy into the idea that a sentence can truly stand alone as a piece of art without the framework of rationality established by an author as the ’story’ of a book unfolds.”

      BAC–Like Gene did below, I suggest you pick random sentences from Lutz’s fiction and you’ll get amazing art, over and over again.

  24. KevinS

      “I just don’t know that I buy into the idea that a sentence can truly stand alone as a piece of art without the framework of rationality established by an author as the ’story’ of a book unfolds.”

      BAC–Like Gene did below, I suggest you pick random sentences from Lutz’s fiction and you’ll get amazing art, over and over again.

  25. BAC

      No, I know his sentences are strong, but I don’t think you can fully understand the impact of language without contextual elements. Much of great writing, in my opinion, is found in subtle textural relationships to previous subject matter.

      In “I Have to Feel Haved” in this year’s Noon, for instance, the line:

      “I never got the truth out of him, only things peeled off from the truth, things the truth had shed.”

      Isn’t quite as heavy unless you get the earlier:

      “A hashy complexion, hair pluffy and unmastered, a blush in bare arms unmastered–some days there was no bouquet to be made of him.”

      The second line (first in the narrative thread) hints at a mystery of character, and the first (second in the thread) is a more concrete rephrasing of the previous bouquet analogy. Now what’s truly impressive about both sentences is that they show the writer’s ability to build different types of sentences with similar veiled metaphors about them.

      Without context you can’t have that kind of deeper artistic appreciation. You can only have an aesthetic appreciation. But writing is not only about aesthetics. In fact that is not the tradtion on which it is founded. It is founded on an oral tradition which would lend further to the notion of narrative, context, and, at the aesthetic level, rhythms. Not grammar.

      But it’s just my opinion, and, for what it’s worth, I’m aware that Lutz’s opinion is more valuable than mine.

  26. BAC

      No, I know his sentences are strong, but I don’t think you can fully understand the impact of language without contextual elements. Much of great writing, in my opinion, is found in subtle textural relationships to previous subject matter.

      In “I Have to Feel Haved” in this year’s Noon, for instance, the line:

      “I never got the truth out of him, only things peeled off from the truth, things the truth had shed.”

      Isn’t quite as heavy unless you get the earlier:

      “A hashy complexion, hair pluffy and unmastered, a blush in bare arms unmastered–some days there was no bouquet to be made of him.”

      The second line (first in the narrative thread) hints at a mystery of character, and the first (second in the thread) is a more concrete rephrasing of the previous bouquet analogy. Now what’s truly impressive about both sentences is that they show the writer’s ability to build different types of sentences with similar veiled metaphors about them.

      Without context you can’t have that kind of deeper artistic appreciation. You can only have an aesthetic appreciation. But writing is not only about aesthetics. In fact that is not the tradtion on which it is founded. It is founded on an oral tradition which would lend further to the notion of narrative, context, and, at the aesthetic level, rhythms. Not grammar.

      But it’s just my opinion, and, for what it’s worth, I’m aware that Lutz’s opinion is more valuable than mine.

  27. BAC

      Sure, it’s a great sentence. I haven’t read that particular story, but I’m sure there are other sentences, metaphors, analogies, whatevers, whithin that story, which enhance the meaning of this particular example. I guess I’m into the relationships of ideas established by the framework of a writer’s observations. An event enhances an observation. For instance, Lutz, read 250 books about grammar, therefore, we can deduce, that he is informed grammatically. Also, he came from a home where ‘few words were spoken’ so he had to overcome great linguistic hardships to achieve his literary status.
      He’s a survivor.

  28. BAC

      Sure, it’s a great sentence. I haven’t read that particular story, but I’m sure there are other sentences, metaphors, analogies, whatevers, whithin that story, which enhance the meaning of this particular example. I guess I’m into the relationships of ideas established by the framework of a writer’s observations. An event enhances an observation. For instance, Lutz, read 250 books about grammar, therefore, we can deduce, that he is informed grammatically. Also, he came from a home where ‘few words were spoken’ so he had to overcome great linguistic hardships to achieve his literary status.
      He’s a survivor.