Tag Archives: literature

William Burroughs, Truth, and Storytelling

The young Burroughs liked to read adventure stories. The older Burroughs did too. Stories are about characters. What’s infuriating and gripping about a good character is that she’ll have blind spots, things the reader can see that she cannot. It … Continue reading

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Nowhere Under the Sun

“This is the sun of the high plateau that bakes the land dry and leaves one nowhere to hide.” Ma Jian’s Red Dust is a book about escape, and discovering that there is no escape. A flight from something is … Continue reading

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Lessons from Los Alamos

Albert James Connell ran the Los Alamos Ranch school, which William S. Burroughs attended when he was a boy. “Many of Connell’s ideas were taken on board by Burroughs, such as that there was no such thing as an accident: … Continue reading

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Inhuman Indifference

When Kenneth Rexroth heard Dylan Thomas had died, he wrote a poem. He wrote about who he blamed for the poet’s death: and he finds fault with us, with society. He uses “You” in the poem, addressing all of us. … Continue reading

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Impressions of Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge stamps and shouts and waves the candle above his head. Gabriel tries to keep him quiet: “Softly – gently” he says, and backs away a step from the whirling flame. Barnaby is raving about his dreams, though he … Continue reading

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Where Cows Are More Real Than Policemen

Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote a poem about a dog. This dog is a “real realist,” which means he looks up and down and smells with his nose and asks questions and doesn’t have any smart answers. “Dog” is a poem about … Continue reading

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How To Make Word Dust

Besides being a science fiction novel, Nova Express is a how-to book.  It tells us how to make cut-ups and create “word dust”. For example, Burroughs has a character called “The Subliminal Kid” use tape recorders to create cut-ups: “‘The … Continue reading

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