Mary Caponegro interview

This post was written by Friday guest blogger Emma Garman.

Bard professor and former William Gaddis protege Caponegro (The Complexities of Intimacy) talks about her creative process, exploiting one’s own life for fiction, the Marcus-Franzen debate and “schools” of prose:

The stories — the short fiction, let’s say — that seemed most to captivate the American public in the eighties was “minimalism” — the Raymond Carver school. Much as I respect Carver and his contribution to American letters, I felt very frustrated by these parameters. I know that it is ludicrous to present Carver and those of his school as not themselves stylists, because after all his is a very recognizable style, but I think the problem was that the imitators of Carver became themselves the reigning paradigm and thus simplicity and concision defined the direction of American short fiction. To me this was an utterly procrustean bed in which I could not lie. (Not that anyone wished to bed me there!) I needed more room, more expanse, more lyricism, more syntactic complexity, more period. I wished more to be a maximalist…


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.