Inspired by the recent arrival of #5 on ListApp. These guys write sentences that are equal parts beautiful, bewitching, and take-no-prisoners.
  1. Leonard Michaels.
    Particularly early Michaels. The late stories, though more effectively told and structured, aren't as jazzy or punchy.
  2. Stanley Elkin.
    Rhythm and sound matter to him more than to most prose writers. Sort of doesn't matter what he's writing about.
  3. Cormac McCarthy.
    Real poetry + ultraviolent Nietzschean nihilism = good times. (Though I didn't like The Road the way that everybody else seemed to.)
  4. Sam Lipsyte.
    Contemporary inheritor of the Michaels-Elkin tradition (which, by the way, came from the conversational Yiddish those predecessors heard in their childhood homes; cf. Grace Paley).
  5. One of the funniest and sharpest writers I've ever interviewed on stage. Welcome!
  6. Justin Taylor.
    His recent book, Flings, is as good an example I know of prose adapted to describe the flow of contemporary life.
  7. James Salter.
    I'm bowing to @mmckw and @zoe on this one, though for me Salter's more in the line of Hemingway's restraint, with lyricism in the ballpark of Mailer or Harold Brodkey, which doesn't scream "I'm a lyrical badass" to me the way these others do. But I can understand why it would feel like leaving off Salter is an omission.