Among the 14 pounds of books I got from Powell’s this week are three or four pounds of DH Lawrence. I also bought the 2014 O. Henry Prize collection and a new copy of James Lasdun’s It’s Beginning to Hurt. I studied with James in 2011 at The New School. I did not know that James was a jurist for the 2014 O. Henry Prize, nor did I know that he wrote the introduction to one of the Lawrence collections among the three or four of my new 14 pounds.
James is a great writer and a great teacher. It was a pleasure to find more of his work than I knew was coming.
The link below is to a piece on the similarities between Raymond Carver’s “Cathedrals” and Lawrence’s “The Blind Man” at Ploughshares. I share it here because one of the things that has encouraged me over the years is some insight James gave me on a story I’d written for his seminar. We’d discussed the Cathedrals/Blind Man connections in class, and James asked us each to write a story in some way inspired by something we’d read and studied in class. I went back to “The Blind Man,” among other things.
Speaking of Carver: I think most writers are looking for a less-ambitious Gordon Lish.
“The Fiction Responding to Fiction series considers the influence that a short story has on another writer; previous entries can be found here. Raymond Carver insisted that his iconic masterpiece….”