Will the bookies have the last laugh on those of us would love to see an American poet like Richard Wilbur or Donald Hall win the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature? A few days ago, the London odds-making firm of Ladbrokes ranked Thomas Pynchon 12th among bettors’ favorites for the Nobel to be announced tomorrow in a live Webcast at 6 a.m. Eastern time. But Pynchon (7-1) has made last-minute surge into fifth place behind Amos Oz (3-1) of Israel; Herta Müller (3-1), a Romanian-born German, who has also moved up; and the Americans Joyce Carol Oates (5-1) and Philip Roth (5-1). Here’s a link to a list of the standings of all the candidates ranked by Ladbrokes as of 5 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday. For more on the poets who may be in the running, see yesterday’s post “It Ain’t Me, Babe! Bob Dylan and Maya Angelou Lead Among American Poets in the Race for the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, London Bookies Say.”
October 7, 2009
April 27, 2007
Joyce Carol Oates on a writer’s influences …
“There are two primary influences in a writer’s life: those influences that come so early in childhood, they seem to soak into the marrow of our bones and to condition our interpretation of the universe thereafter; and those that come a little later, when we are old enough to exercise some control of our environment and our response to it, and have begun to be aware not only of the emotional power but the strategies of art.”
Joyce Carol Oates in The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art (HarperPerennial, $11.95, paperback), a collection of essays that includes “First Loves: From ‘Jabberwocky’ to ‘After Apple Picking,’” which deals with two poems that had an early impact on her.
Comment by Janice Harayda:
Writers who are asked about their literary influences tend to mention the books that inspired them in adulthood. Oates gets closer to the truth in this quote. The books that have influenced many writers the most are the first books they read, because these books help to shape your view of the world while later ones may affect only such things as your literary style.
(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.