A Thing in the World

Gary Lutz, interview by Dylan Nice, Wag’s Revue 7 Fall 2010

I try not to trouble myself all that much with meaning. A sentence of mine is a layout of language. What the sentence might be about is of no permanent concern. I’m mostly drawn toward art that resists exegesis. Donald Barthelme, paraphrasing Kenneth Burke in an essay published in 1964, wrote that “the literary work becomes an object in the world rather than a text or commentary upon the world,” and a year later, Susan Sontag, in her essay “On Style,” made an eerily similar statement: “A work of art is a thing in the world, not just a text or commentary on the world.” Both writers eventually backed away from that position, but I buy it.

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