This is the first in several parts of posting updates about last Thursday’s Regional Wrangle at Richard Hugo House where I wrestled with Lyall Bush on the topic of “Is there a Northwest literary style?” It’s a vile topic that inspires a great deal of boredom from just about anyone who actually produces work in the Northwest and a strange kind of bored anger by people from outside of the region. However in talking to Lyall Bush this last spring he realized that there was more the issue than the use in marketing various regional products to tourists: salmon, mass produced Haidi art, and trips to Mount Rainer. I also realized that the topic was completely obscured by the supposition that all northwest literary work has to bare obvious tokens of “northwestness.” This was handily summarized recently in Ryan Boudinots SALMON, TREES, CANCER: A PRIMER
How to Write a Great Northwest Novel.
So Lyall and I opened the topic up and invited people to buy some drinks and talk on the topic. Gregory Hischak was kind of enough to serve as the referee and by the end of the evening I think he didn’t want to here a single more invocation of Murray Morgan or drizzle.
I’m going to post several things to keep the record, starting with my comments.
Getting Past Landscape
I am thinking that regionalism can be thought of the in the way you might think of surrealism. Where surrealism is the investigation of the individual subconscious; regionalism is the collective subconscious.