Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've never read Vonnegut, but...

I know, it's sick that I've never read Vonnegut. But I did love this bit from his introduction to Anne Sexton's Transformations.

"How do I explain these poems? Not at all. I quit teaching in colleges because it seemed so criminal to explain works of art. The crisis in my teaching career came, in fact, when I faced an audience which expected me to explain Dubliners by James Joyce.

I was game. I'd read the book. But when I opened my big mouth, no sounds came out."

17 comments:

  1. I had no idea he'd written an introduction to Transformations. That's so cool. I keep finding new reasons why he's awesome.

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  2. You're not alone.

    That is a great quote though!

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  3. That is a great quote.
    And I have never read Vonnegut either, although I keep buying his books because people - especially students ironically - keep recommending him.

    Up the list he goes.

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  4. That's a great quote. Now I don't feel so bad. And I've not read him either, but I really should!

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  5. I seldom read introductions but I did read Vonnegut's intro to Transformations. It was one of the more entertaining ones I've ever read. It made me want to check out some of his work.

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  6. Explain James Joyce? No wonder he gave in.

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  7. LOL, Nymeth. Anyone who writes an intro to Transformations is way cool in my book!

    Carl, isn't it?! I have Slaughterhouse Five on my shelves, it's just a matter of getting to it!

    Same here, Andi. I even picked up Cat's Cradle a few weeks ago and gave it a few pages before chalking my distaste up to a reading slump. I'll get back to it (and the others) soon, though, I hope!

    Danielle, it is quite a relief being in the "I haven't read Vonnegut" boat with others, eh?

    Heather, same here. It wasn't too academic or dry. Just fun and quirky and enjoyable.

    My thoughts exactly, Stu!

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  8. And that's the first time I've forgotten to log out of the ER account in a while. Whee!

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  9. I love Vonnegut. He cracks me up. Also, my dad used to work in a building that was formerly Vonnegut's house in Indianapolis...it was huge for a house but smallish for an office. Once I found that out, it finally explained all the bathrooms everywhere...

    So it goes.

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  10. Vonnegut rocks!! Slaughterhouse Five is a work of pure genius. Through the entire book, I kept wondering if I was enjoying it. By the last page, I couldn't believe how great it was!

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  11. Jen, I've really gotta give him a try. I'm missing out!

    Stephanie, a good friend of mine wrote/is writing his MA thesis on Slaughterhouse Five. From hearing him talk it sounds fantabulous!

    Isn't it, Funky? I feel that way trying to talk lit with my students sometimes.

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  12. I LOVE Vonnegut!!! In addition to the obvious, 'Slaughterhouse 5', I highly recommend 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'.

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  13. Thank you! I'm actually not familiar with that one. Bad me! Gonna check it out.

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  14. Sorry, never read Vonnegut....but I might after all these comments, many from bloggers I like! and, if he commented on Transformations, by one of my favourite poets.....I guessed I missed the introduction (I borrowed a copy from the library since I haven't found it yet to buy), but I love the quote so much. I think it's the real reason I never got a MA in English, because explaining what makes a book 'click' etc takes all the fun out of creating it, and books are meant to be read and enjoyed, not analyzed to death. Hmm, now I will definitely have to check out Slaughterhouse Five.....thanks so much for that quote!

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  15. Susan, I don't mind analyzing and picking a book apart (got an MA in children's literature), but I do know what you mean. When it's done at length or without ever reading purely for enjoyment, it sort of sucks the life out of the reading experience.

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  16. I haven't yet read him either, but I do love that quote. Thanks for sharing!

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