Broken-down Poetry: Inspired by Buddy Glass


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inspired by Buddy Glass

I'm finishing up Salinger's last novella about the Glass family, "Seymour - an Introduction," written in the point of view of Buddy Glass.

Seymour, whom Buddy writes about, is a poet; Buddy writes in prose. It's brilliant, really, how they're contrasted. Anyway, Buddy has a lot to say about prose ... and since I am a fan of prose (as broken-down poetry), I thought I'd post some of my favorite quotes.

Thanks, Buddy.

"And while I think an economically happy prose writer can do many good things on the printed page - the best things, I'm frankly hoping - it's also true, and infinitely more self-evident, I suspect, that he can't be moderate or temperate or brief; he loses very nearly all his short paragraphs. ...

Worse of all, I think, he's no longer in a position to look after the reader's most immediate want; namely, to see the author get the hell on with his story." -- "Seymour," pp. 98-99

"It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for him, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, 'No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer.'" -- Soren Kierkegaard, epigraph to "Seymour"

Other well-written passages by Buddy Glass:

"Her voice sounded strangely levelled off, stripped of even the ghost of italics." -- "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," p. 85

"I said I didn't give a good God damn what Mrs. Fedder had to say on the subject of Seymour. Or, for that matter, what any professional dilettante or amateur bitch had to say. I said that from the time Seymour was ten years old, every summa-cum-laude Thinker and intellectual men's-room attendant in the country had been having a go at him. ...

I said that no one Goddamn person, of all the patronizing, fourth-rate critics and column writers, had ever seen him for what he really was. A poet, for God's sake. And I mean a poet." -- "Raise High," pp 59-60

with Love and Squalor,

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