AWP 2012 — Dear John, I’m Afraid it is Over …

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Dear John,

I’m afraid it’s over between us.

You know how important you’ve been to me. I’ve adopted The Next American Essay for classes. I reviewed The Lost Origins of the Essay and sang its praises. Carl Klaus and I have included your 2003 headnote about lyric essays, the one that introduced Jenny Boully to the world, in our new anthology, Essayists on the Essay: Montaigne to Our Time. I admire you, John, but admiration isn’t enough, and now you’ve even undercut some of that admiration. It’s over, John.

But, nevertheless, we should talk. I owe it to you to tell you what I really think.

What I think, John, is that you’ve fallen between two stools.  You have, but the essay hasn’t. Let me explain. When Karen Rosica called you a “journalist poet,” indeed a “passionate journalist poet,” you should have just gone with it. You should have…

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