Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prolific

Here's something from Caleb Crain that reflects on one characteristic of great writers: they tend to be prolific. Quantity and quality go hand in hand. (No, I am not feeling prolific these days ...)

There's a kind of an implicit challenge here: name a truly great artist who lived past the age of thirty but who produced very little work. I don't have any ideas off the top of my head, but maybe you do.

8 comments:

C. Dale said...

Elizabeth Bishop
Donald Justice

Or were you asking for visual artists?

Nic Sebastian said...

There's a discussion on this going on here:

http://www.everypoet.org/pffa/showthread.php?t=64301

Cheers, Nic

Andrew Shields said...

Bishop and Justice are both excellent examples, C. Dale. At least in the case of Bishop, though, I wonder whether the smallness of her corpus has as much to do with her being very selective about what to publish as it does with her not writing very much?

Rob said...

Tomas Transtromer
TS Eliot
Philip Larkin

Of course, the jury is always out on who is considered 'great' and who isn't.

Eliot did produce plenty of 'work', but not all that many poems.

SarahJane said...

szymborska

JeFF Stumpo said...

Jumping in with visual artist - Da Vinci would be the obvious one. Sometimes didn't even complete something that would have been an obvious masterpiece upon realizing that it would be. Which perhaps leads into related query that could open up your search a bit - any poets/writers known particularly for great scraps that never coalesced into finished works?

Mark Granier said...

"Which perhaps leads into related query that could open up your search a bit - any poets/writers known particularly for great scraps that never coalesced into finished works?"

I blogged about one of these. He was working on a brilliant epic sequence 'Living in Hiroshima' when he died in 2006:

http://markgranier.blogspot.com/2006/12/anthony-glavin-1945-2006.html

JeFF Stumpo said...

@ Mark - thanks. Will check out your post now. If Ed Dorn hadn't already made his rep on Gunslinger, I'd put Languedoc Variorum into the mix.