Proposal for A Literary Life in America: Professional Memoirs, 1968-2000

I’ve not shied away from writing about hidden practices, incongruities, and, obstacles in my professional world, too many of them unnecessary; and so if only to instruct aspirants about the realities if a literary life, I’ve collected some of those writings here, scarcely expiring my examinations of the subject. Because I’ve been a fulltime writer, moderately prominent since my mid—twenties, and have done many kinds of work while lacking an agent, I’ve dealt directly with a lot more people and have had more experience than most of my peers. These essays tell the truth, often in the face of contrary pieties and deceptions. Most of these essays have appeared in print before, often in magazines long forgotten, sometimes in books that are no longer generally available; others are new here.

Critical Writing for American Magazines (1968, 19711)

The Copyright Czar (19711)

The Beginning of The End (1978)

A Book That Will Never Happen (1978)

On Anthologies (1987)

Teaching and the “Nonstandard” Writer (1990)

Personal Experience at the National Endowment for the Arts (1987)

Personal Experience at the National Endowment for the Humanities (1987)

The Institutionalization of Ignorance (1993)

How an NEA Grant to Me Was Reduced and Nearly Killed (1998)

Sloppy “Scholarship” (1997)

Why I Don’t Give Poetry Readings (1978, 1999)

Thoughts on Being Canonized, Sort Of (1997)

Preconditions for Poetic Revolution (1997)

Chasing a University Chair in the South (1998)

The Trouble with University Presses (1998)

Victims of Literary Bullying (1998)

Letters to a Nouveau Riche Professor (1998)

Remembering “Reactions and Alternatives” (1998)

On Still Being a Widely Published Unpublished Author (1998)

Searching for Oneself on the Internet (2000


Publishers wishing to consider a preliminary manuscript are advised to contact the author.