"A riveting aggregate of legends and lessons from the original writer's Workshop, featuring profiles of all of your MFA favorites: O'Connor, Berryman, Lowell, Vonnegut, and contemporaries such as Joy Harjo, Marilynne Robinson, and Sandra Cisneros. Where must art and commerce intersect? Just how great is the writing MFA's influence on contemporary literature? Dowling is an expert in the American literary marketplace and the bewildering machinations that have long determined what and who populates our bookstores, bookshelves, glossy magazines, and review columns. A Delicate Aggression is one part existentially dreadful, and one part genuinely fun to read."
A vibrant history of the renowned and often controversial Iowa Writers' Workshop and its celebrated alumni and faculty As the world's preeminent creative writing program, the Iowa Writers' Workshop has produced an astonishing number of distinguished writers and poets since its establishment in 1936. Its alumni and faculty include twenty-eight Pulitzer Prize winners, six U.S. poet laureates, and numerous National Book Award winners. This volume follows the program from its rise to prominence in the early 1940s under director Paul Engle, who promoted the "workshop" method of classroom peer criticism. Meant to simulate the rigors of editorial and critical scrutiny in the publishing industry, this educational style created an environment of both competition and community, cooperation and rivalry. Focusing on some of the exceptional authors who have participated in the program--such as Flannery O'Connor, Dylan Thomas, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Smiley, Sandra Cisneros, T. C. Boyle, and Marilynne Robinson--David Dowling examines how the Iowa Writers' Workshop has shaped professional authorship, publishing industries, and the course of American literature.