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Paul Metcalf: Collected Works, Volume I: 1956-1976
The first of three comprehensive volumes to present the lifetime work of Paul Metcalf, one of the Black Mountain Writers.
Hardcover, 550 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Coffee House Press
(first published 1996)
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Some remarks on "Genoa," which is one of the novels collected here. The book, "Genoa," is absolutely astonishing, one of the most powerful books I've read. Ostensibly, it's a series of quotations from Melville's novels and letters, and from Chrstopher Columbus's writing and from accounts of his voyages. Ostensibly, those quotations are running through the mind of a man who lives in the Midwest, in an old house, pondering questions of writing, travel, gestation, and deformity. Ostensibly, again, ...more
Metcalf is another of those eccentric intellectuals I tend to gravitate toward (like Guy Davenport, William Gaddis and Charles Olson). His work is unlike anyone else's. It isn't fiction and it isn't nonfiction, really. It hybridizes diary, historical sources, description, imagination. It reads like a poem, usually, or a dense travelogue, sometimes, and raises literary collage to its own wonderful level. I find myself writing in a similar style to Metcalf's; perhaps this is why I love his work so ...more