Against the Workshop:
Provocations, Polemics, Controversies
6 x 9, 272 pp.
Pub Date: 10/17/2011
  flexbound (with flaps)
Price:        $10.00


Published by Texas Review Press

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Against the Workshop:

Provocations, Polemics, Controversies

Anis Shivani

Against the Workshop is the first sustained critique of twenty-first century literary production in America under the MFA/creative writing program infrastructure. Since earlier critics like John Aldridge wrote on the subject, the creative writing regime has become vastly more institutionalized. Publishing has changed, but what does it mean for the quality of fiction and poetry? This book brings the subject completely up-to-date, by focusing on fiction and poetry generated during the last decade. The book contrasts the vast amount of sludge with the rare gems, to argue that the creative writing product is a debased one that will not stand the test of time.

ANIS SHIVANI is the author of the story collection, Anatolia and Other Stories, which was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor short story award.  He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and frequently reviews books for newspapers and magazines.  His work appears in Georgia Review, Southwest Review, Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Texas Review, Threepenny Review, Boston Review, and elsewhere.  He has just finished a novel, and is putting together a book of his interviews with leading literary authors.  He studied at Harvard College and lives in Houston, Texas.

What Readers Are Saying:

“This book is a driving, spirited, and articulate attack on what American poetry has become as ‘creative writing’ in the university degree programs."—Clayton Eshleman


Against the Workshop subtitled Provocations, Polemics, Controversies: there’s something here for everyone to disagree with and be provoked by.  Brace yourself.  You will be implicated—as I am—in more than one of the charges Shivani levels, but also challenged to recall, in the face of the cynical reputation machine, the reasons why literature has mattered, might matter, does matter."—H. L. Hix

“No contemporary literary critic has called to question the artifice of a publicity-driven book industry or taken to task the artistry of today’s literary darlings as provocatively as Anis Shivani. He has single-handedly fueled conversations that were once polite coffee house chatter into passionate debates about what’s worth reading and what should be pulped post-haste. Privileging integrity over popularity, Shivani stings when he writes, but his are the wake-up calls we’ve been waiting for!”—Rigoberto González


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