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Editing with a Butcher Knife

Young Bethany Taylor at Towson University recently put her documentary project, “Gordon Lish: Editing with a Butcher Knife,”  up on YouTube.  None of the information is new, it’s all on-line, images and info, but it is still a peachy-keen nifty little doo-daad…


2 responses »

  1. I taught Carver’s work for many years at SDSU and the Lish controversy is way overblown. Yes, Lish did edit Carver with a butcher knife, but the better stories are those that are fully Carver’s vision. The later version of “A Small Good Thing,” “Cathedral,” “Elephant,” and other first rate stories are works Lish had virtually nothing to do with. Yes, he did help establish Carver’s reputation because he had a good head for “marketing” and he knew that once you can establish a “school” of writing, that school will have all sorts of followers, especially in academia. So he set his mind on creating a “minimalist” movement, but as you point out, Carver, hated being called a minimalist. And Hemingway had been there, done that long before the minimalists of the ’70s. In the end an editor is an editor and a writer is a writer.

  2. when i first read carver i often had the feeling something was missing, or edited. I didn’t notice it in the better stories. In the weaker stories it was an absence in the flavour of the writing. It wasn’t like a deliberate omission, as in hemingway


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