paper trail

Apr 13, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

Pulitizer Prize winner Paul Harding is trying very hard not to say "I told you so."

The giddy highs and woeful lows of a quarter-century of punk publishing, as seen by Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press.

How do you like your canon served, and how do you pick up the check? That's the central question behind Open Letter publisher Chad Post's peeved reaction to Newsweek writer Malcolm Jones's critique of the Library of America. Jones asks if the LOA has "jumped the shark," because they devote volumes to the likes of Philip K. Dick and (special Newsweek shudder of disapproval) Shirley Jackson. Does Jones think that those handsome volumes of Melville and Wharton arrive from the book fairy? They're likely funded by the first Dick collection—the LOA's fastest-selling volume—because, as Post says, "a lot of readers are sick of the predictable and unchangeable American Canon.'"

Bookforum favorite Rae Armantrout's Versed has won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, while Paul Harding's Tinkers has won the fiction prize. Harding's novel was missed by many this year; the New York Times calls it "the one that got away," though Tinkers got brief mentions in the LA Times and the New Yorker, and a lengthier review in the Boston Globe and one in web zine The Quarterly Conversation. Powell's Books in Portland picked up the novel early on, releasing a special edition, and interviewing Harding, who says, "I didn't think the book would ever get published."

"First come, first saved." As extremist groups thrive in America, author Shalom Auslander gets uneasy laughs at Tablet by imagining hiding in an attic sanctuary; it ain't easy to find a crawl space roomy enough to accommodate his wife, two young children, and two large dogs.