Tag Archives: don delillo

Reader survey: writers and their baseball teams (also Joan Jett)

Almost World Series time!  I’m supporting the Giants — I still feel low about the title Bonds and the Giants should have won in 2002, and while Bonds is gone, my affection for his team remains.  Also, the Giants have more ex-Orioles.

I was just reading about Marianne Moore and the Dodgers and wondering what else we know about writers and the baseball teams they loved.  Offhand, besides Moore, I can think of

  • Delmore Schwartz:  Giants
  • Don DeLillo:  Yankees
  • Stephen King:  Red Sox

As for the Orioles, I’m not sure.  Tom Clancy owns a piece of the team but I don’t know whether he has a rooting interest.  Joan Jett likes us!

Baltimore Orioles:
I follow them everyday. If I could watch them everyday I would. I call Sports Phone every 10 minutes when the Orioles play whether I’m on the road or at home. I’m following them very closely as always. It seems like every time I write about them in a song they do well. Bad Reputation was dedicated to the Orioles and they did well in 1979. On Notorious, in the song, “I Want You” there’s a lyric that says “I want to go and see the O’s never lose.” I want to go to Baltimore sometime this year and see the new stadium.

Theme song to the greatest television program ever aired and dedicated to the Orioles?  Sometimes the world is too good.

Anyway, please contribute your literary baseball fans (or baseball-loving rock icons) in the comments.

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Don DeLillo to David Foster Wallace, on reading math

Kottke has a scan of some correspondence between Don DeLillo and David Foster Wallace: a DDL->DFW letter from 1997 and a DFW -> DDL from 1992.

This from DeLillo is striking:

Once, probably, I used to think that vagueness was a loftier kind of poetry, truer to the depths of consciousness, and maybe when I started to read mathematics and science back in the mid-70s I found an unexpected lyricism in the necessarily precise language that scientists tend to use  My instinct, my superstition is that the closer I see a thing and the more accurately I describe it, the better my chances of arriving at a certain sensuality of expression.

So work hard on your papers, folks — a great American novelist might be nicking your prose style.

There’s also an interesting and strange bit from DeLillo about how he pays attention to the shapes of individual letters on the page, trying to make a pleasing pattern of “round” words and “tall” words.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this from a poet, but in a novelist it seems (to use DeLillo’s own word) superstitious.  Is it possible this is really contributing to the effects he’s trying to achieve?  Look, I’m a hardliner on the point that how a sentence sounds is more important than what it means.  But this comes off fussy, even to me.

Wallace’s side of the correspondence is mostly a fan letter.  I was pleased by his love for End Zone, my favorite DeLillo novel and undeniably the funniest.  He suggests that a piece of Infinite Jest “owes a rather uncomfortable debt” to End Zone; which piece?

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