Jon Raymond is one of Portland’s finest wordsmiths. His writing spans TV, film, short story, novel, art criticism, and a hefty array of magazine work. His new novel, Freebird, is the story of a Californian Jewish family entangled in clashing politics, unspoken histories, and personal dissolve....more
Posts Tagged: Denis Johnson
At Electric Literature, Mensah Demary argues that there should be greater appreciation of hip-hop as a powerful storytelling medium, positing Nas as a master of literary narrative:
If presented with a choice, I’d rather discuss classic hip-hop albums than short story collections: the former evokes warmth, my need to consecrate my life to a certain fidelity and pure aural bliss channeled into nighttime sessions in the bedroom, lights off, completely enveloped by sound, while the latter invokes the image of a bottomless pit.
Jesus’ Son is often considered the seminal work of Denis Johnson’s career. But recently Johnson called the book a “rip-off” of Isaac Babel’s early 20th century work, Red Cavalry. For The Millions, Nathan Scott McNamara contests Johnson’s assertion, arguing that “rip-off” is not the proper word to describe the influence of Red Cavalry on the author’s story collection:
In Jesus’ Son, the stories and execution certainly have a lot in common with Red Cavalry and — in considering them closely — it seems right for Johnson to acknowledge his debt.
Sentence construction. That’s all a writer does anyhow, right? Not all sentences are made with great care and hold sentiments like this one:
There is something artful and sad in juxtaposing the certainty that something is wrong with the uncertainty over what that thing is.
As a writer, Denis Johnson has demonstrated a remarkable ability to polarize. On the one hand he has impressed some of the most prestigious awards committees in the United States. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, won the National Book Award in 2007 for Tree of Smoke, and was also short-listed for the Pulitzer that same year....more