Two months ago, Kimberly Bourgeois asked me a bunch of very good questions about my new book Lazy Bastardism and I did my best to answer them. The result appears in the Spring 2013 issue of the MRB. One point that keeps coming up with readers and friends is how I've "mellowed." Kimberly, for instance, found my earlier essays (collected in A Lover's Quarrel) far more aggressive and wanted to know what had happened. My answer:
Age. I was younger then, and angrier. I was burning to change everything around me. I’ve since grown older, and realize that it’s harder—and more effective, in terms of the long game—to write essays and reviews that can so persuasively advocate their bias they’re able to change a reader’s mind about a poet, or cause readers to second-guess their assumptions. I now want to be in the persuasion business, not the pissing-off business. Though I do recognize that, sometimes, it’s impossible to do the former without the latter.