Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut PDF µ Conversations ↠ PDF

Kurt Vonnegut says I've worked with enough students to know what beginning writers are like and if they will just talk to me for twenty minutes I can help them so much because there are such simple things to know Make a character want something that's how you begin William Rodney Allen teaches English at the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts He is the author of Walker Percy The Southern Wayfarer

10 thoughts on “Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut

  1. says:

    Four stars for Kurt Vonnegut hell yeah but seriously much of this is rather dull and there's a whole lotta repetition in these conversations which stretch from 1969 through 1987 I blame the interviewers than the interviewee though; Kurt's cagey and he rarely gives out than he is asked and much of what he does say is ironic or cryptic or ironically cryptic even Unfortunately most of these mopes keep asking him the same damn uestions over this 18 year period and then failing to follow up when he doesn't give them much to work with in response Oh well what the hell as the author told Playboy magazine in what is probably the best conversation in the bookI can't tell you for example how many times the uestion about being a black humorist the term applied to the author by Bruce Jay Friedman in his 1965 collection of stories is asked of Vonnegut over the course of these 20 some interviewsmaybe in every single interviewand by the book's final conversation among William Rodney Allen Paul Smith and Vonnegut the term has become somewhat of a joke as to whether it can even be uttered Allen tells Vonnegut We swore those two words would not come from our lips during this interview so you can say them but we can't Vonnegut never really offers much in response to the uestion about how the term refers to his art although clearly he finds the label constricting; the best thing he says is comparing his inclusion in Friedman's collection to having a bell jar placed over him and bunch of fellow crickets and all of them being given the same namehe said that to Robert Scholes in 1973 but then fielded the uestion again and again over the next 15 yearsTen years after that Vonnegut no doubt would have enjoyed the pained look on the face of one of my students in the library who brought a book to me with a picture of the author on it it was either Allen's Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut or Stanley Schatt's Kurt Vonnegut Jr and asked with some confusion whether the publisher hadn't made some kind of awful mistake because wasn't Kurt Vonnegut black?Anyway the best of the bunch here is that 1973 Playboy interview; in it the author talks about Vietnam and McGovern and what the Democrats needed to do to win against Nixon Interestingly what they needed to do 45 years ago is what they still need to do today I would have set the poor against the rich I would have made the poor admit they they're poor Archie Bunker has no sense of being poor but he obviously is a frightened poor man I would convince Archie Bunker that he was poor and getting poorer that the ruling class was robbing him and lying to him Sadly Archie Bunker or Roseanne Connor for that matter still doesn't understand what the hell Vonnegut is talking aboutThe worst piece in this collection just might be this goofy thing from Crawdaddy published a year later where the writer decided he'd be Kilgore Trout and interview his creator Vonnegut was rather kind to him much kind than he was later to Philip Jose Farmer who tried writing an entire novel as Trout and in a later interview Vonnegut acknowledged the effort the writer had put into the piece despite expressing some shortcomings with how it was writtenI miss Vonnegut but I'm glad he's dead now and doesn't have to suffer through these sad years under Trump If he wasn't dead Trump's ignorance and avarice and cruelty surely would have killed him anywayRead these conversations if you're a fan but a better book to read first would be Vonnegut's collection Palm Sunday or even better his recent Letters edited by Dan Wakefield

  2. says:

    Continuing with my Vonnegut kick I checked this out from the library A collection of interviews that spans nearly 30 years of his career 1969 1987 this book provides a level of insight into his personality and inspirations as well as his current projects Naturally there's a good deal of repetition he is asked about being a black humorist many times uses several of the same anecdotes over and over One of the later interviews was repeated verbatim in Palm Sunday another recent read for me He appears relatively open in the interviews replying with good humor to even potentially painful uestions He seems slightly baffled as to his college age fandom even as one generation was supplanted by the next Perhaps I should have taken time with this book thrown a novel or two of his in between as I felt the same material was being rehashed over and over Nonetheless I feel this book is a useful resource for those interested in knowing about both the writer and the man uotable uotesHe KV is the impatient humanitarian the disappointed but constant optimist p 3 1969On young people The most conceited generation in history They're bright but I'm not sure that they're competent p 11 1969The President of the United States must dream the biggest dreams for all of us I think he should be called dreamer in chief p 27 1970We have entered a period when our government doesn't really seem to like us much I find this oppressive and realize that the Constitution can't help much cant help at all really if our leaders come to dislike us which they apparently do p 73 1973The things change But laughter is a response to frustration just as tears are and it solves nothing just as tears solve nothing p 89 1973In spite of chainsmoking Pall Malls since I was fourteen I think my wind is still good enough for me to go chasing after happiness something I've never really tried p 110 1973If someone has read me when he was 19 which is uite likely when he ceases to be 19 he's going to leave me behind too p 140 1974 Not soThe reason novels were so thick for so long was that people had so much time to kill p 162 1974

  3. says:

    Finished Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut yesterday and this morning learned the unfortunate news that he died yesterday Of the book like every other in the conversations with authors series the interviews do seem to become monotonous This is good and bad – on the one hand it's comforting and on the other it's disappointing – both going to expectations and disappointments in what any writer is capable of There are limits to wit and anecdote and spontaneity after all Of Kurt specifically I would say he is funny smart and kind – a mensch through and through Importantly he was also very wise about the technical foundations to good writing On a lighter note which Kurt might appreciate this morning on the BART a man and woman who was in a wheelchair sitting directly across from Heather and me noted how funny it was that Heather was reading a book called The Invisible Man Ellison and I was reading a book called Women Charles Bukowski So it is So it was So it goes Goodnight Kurt

  4. says:

    A collection of interviews conducted with Kurt Vonnegut from various sources dating from 1969 to 1999 A very interesting read if you’re a big Vonnegut fan or an aspiring writerIt’s funny I’m pretty sure that this book which weighs in at about 330 pages is longer than any of the books that Vonnegut actually wrote I really loved getting to know some of Vonnegut’s biographical history and his thought processes I also thought it was interesting to see how his interests and goals changed For a time Vonnegut thought he would mainly be a playwright I didn’t know that at allThe first half of the book is really repetitive because interviewers kept asking Vonnegut the same uestions over and over the main one was some variation of “How do you feel about the label black humorist?” It gets better as it goes but this read is probably only worth it if you’re a hardcore fanI really want to find a Vonnegut biography now

  5. says:

    Definitely suggest reading this only after you've read a good amount of his other works Meeting my Maker a visit with Kurt Vonnegut Jr by Kilgore Trout is especially worth the read

  6. says:

    I shouldn't have tried to read this book straight through but it was still worth it At the least provocation and seemingly at random Vonnegut comes out with incredible bits of wisdom Not every interview is a hit and there's a fair amount of repetition especially in the post Slaughterhouse Five early 70s ones but I'm glad to have read the whole book

  7. says:

    A fairly entertaining enlightening collection of interviews with Vonnegut from various magazines periodicals Mainly goes over ground that was better trod later in the And So It Goes biography and Vonnegut has a tendency to repeat himself almost word for word with similar uestions but there's enough in here for it to be worth a fanatic's time

  8. says:

    “V’s eyes appear to be teetering on the precipice of hilarity or despair Like his books”“If you make people laugh or cry about little black marks on sheets of white paper what is that but a practical joke?”

  9. says:

    This collection of interviews spanning 1969 through 1999 in the later edition will be of interest to hardcore Vonnegut fans but it is less engaging than Vonnegut's own volumes of non fiction When first published in 1988 this collection reprinted several items which had already appeared in Wampeters Foma Granfalloons 1974 and Palm Sunday 1981 rendering this title partially redundant More significantly however is the fact that Vonnegut as an author who was freuently being interviewed both in print and on camera as well as speaking publicly cultivated a collection of stock answers anecdotes and snarky uips any of which in isolation is golden When repeated however as they inevitably are in this collection their edge becomes uickly blunted But we should probably cut Vonnegut some slack Which of us after all is not guilty of the same minor offense? And at least we didn't have to live with Vonnegut Imagine the patience reuired by those who live with each of us on a daily basis

  10. says:

    Fun to read but I guess I don't need uite that much Vonnegut A couple uotesOn the autobiographical aspect of Slaughterhouse FiveAs a groggy war prisoner he witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden 'a terrible thing for the son of an architect to see' Ordinarily living authors are not good friends with one another It is and I have talked this over withother authors part of our stock in trade not hating other authors but pitying them laugh There is nothing a living author has written that I wish I had written and I am sure that is the case ofr ever living author This is part of the professional stance This is part of what keeps you going