I love Ferlinghetti’s “The Old Italians Dying.”
I hate his needlessly cruel and personal critique of Brautigan:
“As an editor, I always kept waiting for Richard to grow up as a writer,” he says now. “I never could stand cute writing. He could never be an important writer — like Hemingway — with that childish voice of his. Essentially he had a naif style, a style based on a childlike perception of the world. The hippie cult was itself a childlike movement. I guess Richard was all the novelist the hippies needed. It was a nonliterate age.”
Cute writing is the worst. But if I were to speculate on why Ferlinghetti felt the need to go the extra personal mile and call the people moved by Brautigan’s writing “nonliterate,” I suppose I’d be engaging in the kind of critique I find so pointless and distasteful.
I love this by Brautigan: