JL: Well, yes, I agree. For one thing there’s no place for pot shots. Criticism, for me should be analytical and well reasoned. Absolutely – don’t like a book, but if you want to say that in a public forum, then show the author the courtesy of explaining why with due diligence and rigour.
And yes, it’s been said before but I think it’s very difficult to be a good writer without first being a good reader. Maybe some authors, blessed with immeasurable talent might be able to get away with it to an extent but essentially if you are a writer then books are your medium, so it seems fairly insensible to not know how they work.
SMM: Is there anything about the times in which we live that contributes to your interest in publishing a journal of fiction and poetry rather than going into other media?
JL: Of course, it’s true that literature is not the primary medium anymore in terms of popularity and nor has it been for a long time. But it is still the most intellectually stimulating medium, in my opinion. It is still the closest you can come to understanding another person’s innermost thoughts about themselves and the world around them. It is easily the most intimate medium. As I said in reply to your earlier question, I think that more than most things I can think of, literature helps us to understand what it is like to see through someone else’s eyes.
ED: To begin with, I would like to expand on some themes that popped up in your 1992 essay ‘Rights of Passage’ (The World as Province: Selected Prose, 2009) regarding the act of balancing teaching with writing. Can you expand on the relationship between them? GD: Teaching is all about planning as much as anything…