What is Post-Experimentalism? (Part Eight)

by Nathaniel Tower

Today we bring you another staff definition of Post-Experimentalism, this time from Associate Editor Rick Taliaferro.


I was never big on literary “-isms.”  I just like 

good stories, interestingly told, and I think one of the characteristics of a good story is that it transcends and stands the test of time, regardless of its categorization.  But, to get to a good story, experiments are necessary. 

I think every work is an experiment of sorts — in the sense of whether something can be learned from the effort, regardless of its success or failure.

Eventually, though, the writer should conclude the experiment, apply what he or she has learned, and deliver a resonating story.  Something beautiful and startling, in the way that after their experiments, Einstein delivered E=Mc2, Crick and Watson published their two-page pearl on DNA, or Picasso arrived at “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon.”  Something elegant.  Maybe unnerving.  But something that connects with the reader.


So I would say that a post-experimental work is simply a nice finished product that provides readers with a literary experience.  Post-experimentation, what the writer owes to the reader is literary satisfaction.  And the form of that satisfaction is far-ranging and can take many shapes.  For example, the many wonderful narrative shapes that have been published in Bartleby Snopes over the years.