Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Harry Crews: Still Growling

Harry Crews has published a new novella, his first work in eight years. The imprint is called Blood and Guts, which suits him just fine. The NYT talks to the ornery son of a bitch and paints a pretty good portrait of him. I had no idea Crews taught fiction (on and off, of course) for the University of Florida for some 30 years. His description of academia is typical of him: self-aggrandizing and contemptuous.
“Everybody in the system is scared to death,” he said in the telephone interview. “Professors are scared of department heads,” he said. “They’re just scared little people hiding out. And these other scared little people come and sit in a scared little class and tremble. I didn’t want to do that. Let’s do something memorable, and if we can’t do something memorable, then let’s go home. Or we’ll go across the street and get a drink.”
I took his class, though unfortunately it was at a stage when you were lucky if he showed up. Not much of a teacher -- especially if you didn't traffic in the manly, two-fisted fiction he wrote -- but at least he had passion for the work and a basic respect.