Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Paris Review Interviews, Volume II

Some of the best writing advice I've ever received, for whatever it's worth, has come from The Paris Review. Last year, the magazine initiated a project to collect their interviews, which began in 1953 (Graham Greene?), into four volumes of paperback goodness. These books are absolutely beautiful in their textures and type (I've just been enlightened to the artfulness of type by a brilliant young woman named Kristin.) and format. Many of the readers here probably already know this, but these interviews have been released in paperback format in the past. In fact, many used bookstores have them lying around for about a dollar a piece. One of my favorite used bookstores, a nice little corner place -- name's eluded me -- in Lyndonville, Vermont, actually had one of these in its free book pile. I buy the new ones anyway because they're so nice to carry around.

Every interview, whether it's given by a poet or a prose writer, is useful to writers of all genres. The best interviews I've come across so far, though, are Hemingway and Vonnegut (Volume I) and Alice Munro and Stephen King (II). Some of the interviews are definitely better than others, and that can be attributed to grumpy-ass writers or smart-ass upstart writers trying to stymie their subjects rather than gently steering the interview toward some kind of focus else let it meander and form itself organically.

1 comment:

Abhinav said...

I remember reading an issue of The Paris Review. It was one of the best things I've done as a writer. :-)