Lopez on literature, life and death

In an interview in the latest issue of The Alpine Review, the writer Barry Lopez (whose books include Arctic Dreams) talks about his work and his life and the aggressive form of prostate cancer that is threatening to put an end to both. Among the questions he addresses is what it means to be a writer in the 21st century:

I said to a friend the other day — it’s one of those things where you say something quickly, it was that question of, What are we supposed to be doing? — and what I said was, “To comfort the wounded and undermine the strategies of the selfish.” There is a group of people that are fundamentally selfish, What’s in it for me, me, me, me, the whole me thing. More money for them is more heartbreak for Third World people. I want to undermine that. Not destroy it or burn people at the stake, just unhinge it. I know capitalism is such a whipping boy, but at the stage at which it is practiced in the modern world, it’s lethal.

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