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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Literature is a Contact Sport

. . . genuine novelists are very jealous people. As Harold Bloom says:: “A poem is a poet’s melancholy at his lack of priority.” That is, every new book by a genuine novelist is an attempt to knock another book down from its privileged position. Literature is a contact sport. The novelist is aware that he must first go through a training process, an initiation or apprenticeship process, which might take two or ten books; once through this process, the novelist decides that the time has come to dispute another book’s position, whether by supplanting it (killing the father) or by competing with it (becoming a father oneself), which is, as any Freudian will tell you, another form of correction.
Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Extracted from Misunderstandings Surrounding Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an article in Brick, Issue 87, Summer 2011

2 Responses to “Literature is a Contact Sport”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    I’m not sure I agree. From the very start my goal as a poet was to write my ‘Mr Bleaney’. As much as Larkin was a hero of sorts he was also a target and I find genuine comfort in the fact that I’ve written more than him (he only managed two adult novels and by the time he was my age he was all but dried up as a poet) even if I’ll never be as well known.

  2. john baker says:

    Vasquez was writing mainly in reference to Marquez, Jim. But either way I thought it an interesting enough extract to put about.