Great obit on Paul Fussell
I recommend hearing from another poet, Charles Simic, who’s writing has taken on great, blunt force over the past year or so.
- I would have failed Terry Teachout’s class. This is unobjectionable advice if you want to write a shallow, unobjectionable retelling of something you witnessed. But if you want to write actual criticism, you need to:
- Give context, because without it you can’t find meaning
- What are the piece’s values and goals?
- How well did the piece fulfill those values and goals?
- Did the quality of the performance matter, and if so, what was it?
- Assume your readers are intelligent and curious, show them something they might know and assume they can comprehend it
- Be sincere and be clear
- Refer to other things and styles only if it serves to explain and illustrate what went on, don’t be like The Wire, where the house style is to string together cultural references as a replacement for actual criticism.
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It’s free (great) music time: Bang on a Can Marathon is Sunday (including the Maya Beiser/Bill Morrison collaboration previewed below, on some time after 9pm and before Reich and Grisey). I’ll be live-blogging at The Smaller City and on Twitter, starting sometime around 2pm. Make Music New York is Thursday