Gordon Lish on revising Raymond Carver

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Apples and oranges. Let's not confuse the job a real editor does with what Martin did.

But since we're here, I take issue with statements like:

Giles Harvey wrote that the publication of Carver’s unedited stories "has not done Carver any favours. Rather, it has inadvertently pointed up the editorial genius of Gordon Lish."

Because there is no such thing as "editorial genius." The genius is in the creation. Without the creation, the "genius editors" of the world would sit around sucking on pencils and staring out the window.

I think when we compare what was done to Bukowski's prose to what was done to his poems - or lump those conversations together - we lessen the impact of the destruction of the poetry. Because an argument can be made for editing prose, even ham-fisted editing that seems like it was done as a junior high school creative writing class project. But you can't make the case that poetry should be edited by someone who is not only not a writer, but who doesn't even seem to understand the work they are "editing."
 
Top