At the Huffington Post, Anis Shivani provides a photographic run-through of the 15 most overrated contemporary American writers.
I don’t agree with all his choices, but still, it’s an invigorating argument to get the juices flowing on a Monday morning.
As part of the problem, Shivani claims that “The MFA writing system, with its mechanisms of circulating popularity and fashionableness, leans heavily on the easily imitable. Cloying writers like Denis Johnson, Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, Aimee Bender, and Charles D’Ambrosio are held up as models of good writing, because they’re easy enough to copy. And copied they are, in tens of thousands of stories manufactured in workshops. Others hide behind a smokescreen of unreadable inimitability–Marilynne Robinson, for example–to maintain a necessary barrier between the masses and the overlords. Since grants, awards, and residencies are controlled by the same inbreeding group, it’s difficult to see how the designated heavies can be displaced.”
So the question is… who makes your list? Or, who on Shivani’s roster do you think doesn’t belong?