20/21st-c Male, American Writers Who Demonstrate That "Lyrical" Need Not Equal "Milquetoast"
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.