Gordon LishMinimalist Innovator
Perhaps no man has promoted contemporary minimalist literature as much as Lish.
Perhaps no man has gathered as much momentum behind contemporary minimalist literature or launched the careers of so many minimalist writers as Gordon Lish. The self-dubbed, not to mention self-loving, "Captain Fiction" did indeed steer the styles of many notable writers towards terseness during his tenures at Esquire, The Quarterly, and Alfred A. Knopf throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. Most famously, Lish edited the work of Raymond Carver, for which he has been demonized by those who believe that he over-edited short stories from What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. In his own books, such as Dear Mr. Capote and My Romance, Lish often writes "around" a subject rather than directly addressing it, suggesting rather than stating. His immaculate sentences intimate an expanse of pathos with few words, and his first person narrators shock with their subtly suggested insanity. Whether lancing sentences from his minimalist apostles or constructing his own sparse prose, Lish continues to entice between-the-lines readers with his unique literary sense of negative space.