Building the Dead Father

Building the Dead Father

Donald Barthelme

Just starting the new biography of one of my favorite writers, Donald Barthelme. It’s entitled, Hiding Man, and reads well. The author, Tracy Daugherty, was a former student of Barthelme’s, and seems to have a real feel for him, for his place in American letters, and his father’s place in his son’s artistic development. Donald Barthelme Sr was an architect, and his influence on his son, on all his children, appears to have been profound. Daugherty talks about his impact in a way that echoes Rodin’s influence on Rilke. Hard work, careful, intensely thoughtful compositions, the creation of usable space, concentrating on form and utility to make art. Dedication to aesthetics, functionality, balance and harmony.

Donald Barthelme’s birthday was yesterday. He was born in 1931, in Philadelphia. He died of cancer in 1989. I have just about everything he ever wrote, and return with delight to his works, especially his short stories collected in Sixty Stories, often. Never just a post-modernist icon, nor just a short story writer, Barthelme’s work deserves closer inspection and a much wider audience.


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Monica Carter, the editor of Salonica, is starting up a new international literary journal. From her press release:

New literary journal, E.Lire, focusing on international literature to be launched for electronic readers! Each week E.Lire will send a short story, poem, essay, or review to your e reader application. E.Lire will publish English translations from all languages of fiction, poetry, essays and literary criticism.    We desire content that can be read on your lunch hour, on the train  or plane, or waiting in line.  We want to occupy those minutes with stories, poems, essays and reviews that amuse, inspire and challenge from voices around the world.   E.Lire is currently seeking submissions no longer than 3,500 words.  For more information, please visit E.Lire


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