A Dozen Dominants, part 2 (aka, “You used to know what these words mean”)

I was really thrilled to read all the responses my last post generated; thanks to everyone who chimed in! And I wanted to post something that clarifies some of the things I wrote there, since it’s apparent I caused no small amount of confusion…


Craft Notes / 25 Comments
October 29th, 2011 / 4:22 pm

What is an ‘essay’?

Over at the Brevity blog, we have this:

Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore is pleased to have published what he believes to be the shortest essay ever, in the new Mississippi Review.

Of Dinty Moore’s piece, Mike Scalise sincerely asks “can someone please explain to me, in sober, clear, and intelligent terms, what makes ‘I have a tendency towards glibness’ an ‘essay’?”

In the introduction to the issue, Jane Hamilton explains in postive/negative terms:

To the right of zero, we have “essay,” “hybrid” and “lyric”—positive terms, assertions of form in the absence of form. But as the works collected here demonstrate, these terms describe forays to the left side of the number line, attempts to fill in the lacunae of memory, find the truth in untruth or half-truth, to compensate for the limitations of language and labels. In these poetic non-poems and narrative non-stories, we can see what I’ve always suspected to be true—the real action is in front of zero.

What do you think, marmot?

(TOC here)

(definition of ‘glibness’ here)

Random / 27 Comments
November 8th, 2009 / 6:55 pm