For the last decade or so I’ve been pondering Gordon Lish’s importance to the American literature of his and our time; I’ve not seen it well written about, I’ve not seen his place properly outlined or even a real effort made to understand who he is outside the Svengali trope. This is partly because his life and his privacy are fervently protected by his closest friends, and partly because all the people who’ve known him professionally, studied with him, been published by him and slept with him have been so completely absorbed in his relationship with them, in how he moved, elevated, crushed, tempered, tyrannized, dropped, remained loyal to, betrayed, flew with, crawled with *them.* He is our Ezra Pound in so many ways, with the added touch of justice in being a Jew. You look at the beauty of a cliff, a beach, a canyon and you fall into the “inexplicable splendor” of the thing and give little thought to the massive super-heated tectonic forces of destruction that essentially created them. Or to all that might have been destroyed in the process. And therein lies our problem in coming to grips with Gordon.
I will continue with this at some point; for now I’m just putting a claim down on the real estate.