Martin Amis: “Poetry is dead.”

Martin Amis is a British novelist who is probably most famous for his book London Fields. He also teaches at Manchester University. In a very good interview with Vice, Amis discusses those writers who have influenced him most (I love what he says about Jane Austen’s subtlety), the role of politics in his writings and his opinions of culture and fiction writing. I thought that this question about fiction well captures the state of reading and writing today (it reminds me of “The lost art of reading” recently published in the LA Times):

How do you feel about the current state of fiction?

It will always be produced; I worry more about it being read. Poetry is already dead in those terms. Poetry requires that you stop the clock. When you read a poem the writer is saying, “Let’s stop and examine this writing.” People don’t like solitary reflection anymore, so poetry no longer has a place in the culture. This will eventually seep out to include the novel. The day of the long, reflective, discursive novel, such as the great Saul Bellow novels, which were eight-month best sellers in their time, are over. The novel now is streamlined and sped up. It is a reflection of the age.

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