Thursday, May 22, 2008

Junker v. Genoways (Round 2)

The Genoways and Junker bout from yesterday is going strong for Round 2.  Who's going to win this one? (Who cares?)  It's kind of interesting to watch them pummel each other and insult each other's lit mags.  At the same time, as some fine commenter on this blog pointed out, maybe they should get back to reading the slush pile and looking for work by...us.

6 comments:

puc said...

http://www.zyzzyva.org/parisreviewinterview.htm

puc said...

http://www.kottke.org/07/11/ted-genoways

uncelebrated said...

I like something Junker said that Genoways quotes. I know there's been a lot of talk about the slush pile on this blog, but Junker hits on something I often wonder about. He says about wading through the slush:

"It's worth it because, on occasion, there's a diamond in the haystack. It would be nice if these diamonds always sparkled and were therefore easy to spot, but often they don't, they take on the coloration of the slush pile."

Having been rejected from Junker's slush pile before, I have to admit that my writing is not so scintillating that it would automatically shine through the context of a slush pile that, by the editor's admission, is mostly crap. It's both frustrating and comforting to me that Junker says that the diamonds "often" don't shine through. A larger context of poor writing is just as likely to blind the reader to good writing as it is to allow her to recognize it immediately.

Part of me thinks the answer is to make my writing more scintillating, undeniably so. But another part of me is sure that even the most virtuosic writing would absorb "the coloration of the slush," because whether we're arranging them poorly or splendidly, we're pretty much using the same words...

Anonymous said...

When I used to spend hours reading slush, it really bothered me that I'd lose my bearings after a bit. I couldn't tell the good from the bad because it all seemed like a mash of words.

Just another reason for writers not to give up -- rejection could be just a matter of bad timing.

lobster face said...

God. That Genoways really comes off as a brat. Jesus. Junker's at least got some home-spun, madcap likability. If he's reading through all the slush himself, then he's at least put in the sweat equity to be able to say that slush is mostly crap. While Genoways comes off as the leader of some band of rich kids who really do think they're better than you.

It was VQR's in-crowdy, we're-all-super-fly-editors-and-you're-not, condescending vibe that colored that joke so offensive for me--not the fact that editors have to reject the bulk of what they read; not the fact that anyone's work sucks, sometimes to the point of causing first readers to roll their eyes or do spit takes; but the fact that the editors of a lit journal "of quality" felt the need to let the world in on just how crappy the work of people who submit to their journal is, illustrated blow by blow through the specific comments of their readers. It's just not the same as saying that most of the slushpile is crap, which is widely acknowledged. It went well beyond the "barrel of crap" analogy and became an elaborate, hostile show of humiliation at the expense of writers.

uncelebrated said...

Does anyone remember, a few years back, that Exquisite Corpse (edited by Andrei Codrescu) used to have a page they called the "Body Bag?" Just for fun, they used to anonymously print snippets of what they thought was the worst writing in their slush pile. It was really cruel, far worse than this VQR nonsense, I think.