cover image Writers at Work 08: 2the Paris Review Interviews

Writers at Work 08: 2the Paris Review Interviews

Various. Penguin Books, $9.95 (464pp) ISBN 978-0-14-010761-6

In its eighth edition, this fecund forum continues to illuminate the creative mind. Prolific author Oates points out that the present volume signals a departure in that it includes essayist (as well as poet and children's book author) E. B. White, biographer Leon Edel, translator (and poet) Robert Fitzgerald and editor (and poet) James Laughlin. John Irving says he owes literary debts to Charles Dickens, Gunter Grass and Kurt Vonnegut, and recalls how he and John Cheever were snubbed by J. P. Donleavy. New Directions founder Laughlin provides a concise history of American Modernism in his personal reminiscences of Ezra Pound, Tennessee Williams, Gertrude Stein, Delmore Schwartz and William Carlos Williams. John Hersey wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel A Bell for Adano in a month, White reveals that he has ``done little reading in my life,'' Joseph Brodsky explains ``if you really want your poem to work, the usage of adjectives should be minimal; but you should stuff it as much as you can with nounseven the verbs should suffer.'' Cynthia Ozick insisted on typing out answers to the interviewer's questions in his presence, amended and doubled the manuscript with oral comments, and later reviewed and revised her spoken addendum. And Paris Review editor Plimpton conducted his interview of E. L. Doctorow in public and with audience participation at New York City's 92nd Street YMHA. (July)