When Poets Become Novelists


Ben Lerner talks with the Guardian about life in Brooklyn, octopuses, and poets:

“Poets really haven’t gotten the news that the novel is also dead,” he says, of the opinion among some poets that writing in prose is a capitulation to market forces. Still, the poets tolerated a single attempt—even Ashbery wrote a novel. “It’s like some weird homeopathic myth, that you avoid the novel but you are allowed to write one,” Lerner says. “You can write one novel in your life as a poet.”

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →