Saturday, February 6, 2010

Padgett Powell

I found out about this guy through my boss, who is his cousin, but he might be one of the best literary minds of our time. His new book, The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? consists entirely of non-sequitor questions to the reader. Here's why I think it's relevant to our discussion-- the opening quote, from Walt Whitman:

Do you take it I would astonish?
Does the daylight astonish? or the early redstart
       twittering through the woods?
Do I astonish more than they?

Bold mine, but see what I mean? I think the whole point is embracing and making literary the bite-sized and hyper-interactive textual elements that pervade our culture. Only he's mocking it, too: he doesn't really care about your answers.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. think that there is something very special and very revealing about the non-sequitur questions he poses to the readers. They flow so beautifully and humorously from one to the other, especially when read out loud, but I think each one represents a microcosm of emotion in and of itself, of simply questioning poetically the very things that you do, or promoting an "awareness" of what's around you whether it be emotional, social, political etc. I am not sure what the discussion is since I only just now fell upon this blog, but I see how relevant the Whitman quote is, encapsulating what must be Powell's overarching theme, But I think that he does, at least in his own unique way, care about our answers. We just have to meet him half way. - Lee S.

  3. "I'm gonna say it again: aware."