Starting Out in the Sixties: Selected Essays

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9781584980162: Starting Out in the Sixties: Selected Essays

Memoir. Cultural Writing. Son and biographer of William Saroyan, Aram Saroyan grew up in a world of celebrities and geniuses. His writings soon placed him among the best known figures in the New York School of poets, and his essays and reviews helped to characterize his generation. STARTING OUT IN THE SIXTIES is a powerful collection of essays, memoirs, and reflections with commentary and anecdotes about publishing, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, the author's Armenian heritage, his famous father, Jerry Brown, and much, much more. Variously humorous, reflective, and profound, Saroyan's book should prove for years to come, a key guide to the taste and literary values of the generation that 'started out in the sixties.'

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About the Author:

Aram Saroyan is an internationally known poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright. His poetry has been widely anthologized and appears in many textbooks. Among the collections of his poetry are Aram Saroyan and Pages (both Random House). His largest collection, Day and Night: Bolinas Poems, was published by Black Sparrow Press in 1999. Saroyan's prose books include Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation; Last Rites, a book about the death of his father, the playwright and short story writer William Saroyan; Trio: Portrait of an Intimate Friendship; The Romantic, a novel that was a Los Angeles Times Book Review Critics' Choice selection; a memoir, Friends in the World: The Education of a Writer; and the true crime Literary Guild selection Rancho Mirage: An American Tragedy of Manners, Madness and Murder. Selected essays, Starting Out in the Sixties, appeared in 2001, and Artists in Trouble: New Stories in early 2002.

From Publishers Weekly:

Saroyan, poet, novelist and biographer of his father, William Saroyan, presents a satisfying collection of meditations on an American literary life. His subjects range from the purely literary to the Armenian genocide of 1915, the Clinton legacy and Oliver Stone. He describes his own work as "a social and psychological history of the generation that came of age... in the sixties," and indeed the reader is treated to a recapitulation of an inspired time. Saroyan's essays are tinged with a sweet idealism redolent of the '60s, but the insights occasionally lack the nuance of a life lived also in the decades that followed. He criticizes the West, for instance, for following the Armenian genocide of 1915 with a "genocide of the mind" (wherein the event apparently disappeared from collective memory), seemingly ignoring that today it is impossible to argue that the genocide and its forgetting was not a travesty. Still, Saroyan pleads that the Armenian tragedy be "acknowledged and scrutinized and publicly aired" as if poet Peter Balakian hadn't written the much-praised The Black Dog of Fate, about his own family's experience of the genocide and urges contemporary writers to "look closely at our own domestic situation, in addition to monitoring the international literary scene." The strengths of this collection emerge from Saroyan's abstract imagination: "Children are the habit of organisms, to be a parent is to be employed by the universe itself. The reward is magic rather than money, but that doesn't hold the universe back." This is a charming and worthwhile collection, however flawed.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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