I had the opportunity to speak with poet Terence Hayes yesterday. He informed me that the University of Massachusetts only accepts "experimental" writing. What that translates to is this: Young, immature, undisciplined wanna-be writers who have nothing significant to write about. I had been told that Brown is the same. Unfortunately, I learned that after I wasted the time and money applying to their program. As expected, I got the rejection from Brown today. I didn't really think an elitist institution like Brown would ever accept a shit-kicking hellraiser from the rustbelt like myself. I guess in that specific case, my application was more like a middle-finger (which I still proudly hoist in the face of both UMass and Brown).
Let's be honest-- American fiction is NARRATIVE fiction. The great experiments of Henry Miller and then later the beatniks and finally the god-awful "work" of John Barth and David Foster Wallace have thoroughly exhausted the possibilities of "experimental" writing. The truth is, the experiment is now within narrative. The radical writers are all narrative writers and, I would argue, genre writers.
Genre fiction has ALWAYS been the most important. Is there any novel in the history of the western civilization more important than Frankenstein? Open your ears over the next week and count how many times, in how many different circumstances, you hear a reference, overt or otherwise, to Mary Shelley's book. Can anyone argue, successfully, that 1984 is not the most important book of the last hundred years? Of course not.
I wish the children and immature professors at the University of Massachusetts and Brown the best of luck. They're going to need it. Nobody in the real world wants to read your attempts to surrealize your diaries...