Sunday, July 31, 2005

Because

of my Anglophile education in New Zealand, there are vast chunks of U.S. writing that I have never explored. Unlike Bob Dylan's Mr Jones, I don't think I have read any of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books; Faulkner I cannot read - which aligns him with Australia's Patrick White & Greece's Nikos Kazantzakis; Thomas Wolfe I tried after reading Kerouac's The Town & The City but couldn't get (in to) him. I have never read - which might make me unique on the planet - To Kill a Mockingbird.

Perhaps it has to do with the absence of prescribed cultural antecedents (though much of it has been shown to me as Hollywood movie) & so I have no reference points. There are exceptions, most of them self-subscribed. Moby Dick led me to Melville. Poe & Hawthorne I came to through a liking for fantasy. I've read all the great U.S. crime writers & still love the genre. Whitman's two great poems to Lincoln opened up the marvellous Leaves of Grass. The New American Poetry led me backwards to Williams & Rexroth & Patchen as well as forwards.

So, confessional time. In my seventh decade I am reading Thoreau for the first time, Cape Cod, picked up also at the recent Bookfest.

& I'm liking it.

2 comments:

Dirt Editor said...

no wolfe, no melville, no hawthorne, no whitman, no rexrothpathcenwilliams. a little kerouac, maybe.

born in the usa.

Dirt Editor said...

oh, and definitely no thoreau. boring motherfucker.