Confusing. I wasn't sure whether I was meant to be entertained and informed, or just mildly irritated and challenged by weird perspectives. InterestinConfusing. I wasn't sure whether I was meant to be entertained and informed, or just mildly irritated and challenged by weird perspectives. Interesting ones...but ones that seem not to have an understanding of just how hard it is to effectively communicate internet sarcasm....more
Simultaneously disheartening and encouraging for a wannabe-editor such as myself.
First, the disheartening: It's already outdated. It doesn't discuss emSimultaneously disheartening and encouraging for a wannabe-editor such as myself.
First, the disheartening: It's already outdated. It doesn't discuss email or similarly-recent word processing software, nor does it go into the related realms of e-publishing and self-publishing. Many of the details about how editors spend their days (making phone calls, marking up physical manuscripts, etc.) seem irrelevant in the digital age. Many of the essays make the publishing industry sound a bit too cutthroat/stressful/political for my taste. The reminder that the publishing industry is for-profit (and hence manuscripts must be picked based on their marketability) kind of crushed my idealistic desire to spearhead a literary renaissance. Apparently experience is really important. Like, a decade of experience minimum. (BUT I WANT IT NOW.) Do editors ever have time to read for pleasure?? It seems like all reading becomes a form of research, like this manuscript-hunting, commercial mindset (necessarily) takes over the editor's life. Like, I guess editing is itself pleasurable. But...money is gross. (And it's made very clear that editors aren't particularly well-paid. Which is fine with me. Because money is gross.) Must an editor always have "moneymoneymoney" in the back of her head?
On the bright side: The thankless, anonymous artistry of the craft. The full-time immersion in the world of literature. The constant placating of authors, being a go-between for publishing professionals and aspiring artists (authors). The attention to detail. The fact that it's necessary to be harsh, blunt, honest, thorough... The necessity of staying true to yourself, trusting your instincts, and taking work that you're passionate about. Basically, every detail about what it means to be an editor, the type of person who's well-suited to the career, the humility and the passion and the pragmatism alongside the romantic sort of idealism that keeps editors going... Everything that these editors write about their careers--both that which is written with love and that which is written with frustration, that which is written to discourage and to disillusion as well as that which is written to inspire--makes me want to join their ranks.
So, yeah, this book kind of makes me want to cry. Happy tears. Relieved for the reaffirmation that this is the career for me. (But also tears of frustration. Disappointed that it will take so long, require so much political/economic/social savvy, and probably lead to a whole different world from the one that filled me with such hope when I read about it in these outdated pages.)...more
An immensely accessible introduction to Cummings, full of insights into his life and poetry as well as interesting analysis (and criticism) of his poeAn immensely accessible introduction to Cummings, full of insights into his life and poetry as well as interesting analysis (and criticism) of his poetry. Definitely made me appreciate Cummings, but also place him in context of his literary and artistic peers (like his friend William Carlos Williams)...ultimately I think I prefer Emily Dickinson's nursery-rhyme readability (which still includes some of the capitalization and punctuation trends that make Cummings intriguing) and Williams's straightforwardness, and Plath/Frost/Rilke/Browning/Shakespeare/Donne/Blake's conventionality. Just my personal taste. I still kind of love Cummings, though. I think. But I don't think I would've been able to like Cummings nearly so much if it weren't for Marks....more
Stretches could be dry or fail to hold my interest due to the datedness of the Manifest Destiny-esque plotline, and the accompanying racist mindset (aStretches could be dry or fail to hold my interest due to the datedness of the Manifest Destiny-esque plotline, and the accompanying racist mindset (albeit a satirical one, involved in a complicated self-criticism along with the criticism of the "savage" native peoples the narrator encounters)....more
A charming, life-affirming (that is, if your life goal is to join the publishing industry) collection of essays. Plus some literary correspondences. (A charming, life-affirming (that is, if your life goal is to join the publishing industry) collection of essays. Plus some literary correspondences. (I was all in a tizzy over the fact that the book ends with a correspondence with Steinbeck, ostensibly focused on East of Eden...but more memorable for the sweet way that it captures the relationship between editor and author.)
The revised edition is not particularly relevant anymore, but it's an interesting read nonetheless. Some elements of editing are timeless, and the dated bits give a nice perspective on the history (and the often-mistaken predictions) of the business....more