Ron Padgett: Motor Maids across the Continent

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There are works of literature like War and Peace. And then there's another kind of book – light, nonsensical, funny, illogical. Poet Ron Padgett reveals that in the 1960s, while a senior at Columbia, he found a dusty novel in a Manhattan bookstore. Originally written for teenage girls during World War I, Padgett has been playfully rewriting the cross-country adventure story ever since he stumbled across it. More than 50 years in the making, the result -- Motor Maids across the Continent (The Song Cave) -- can be called a doctored novel, a white-out novel or an erasure novel. Padgett calls it the literature of the fantastic.

Read an excerpt from Motor Maids across the Continent.

Photo by John Sarsgard



  • Ron Padgett - poet, essayist, fiction writer and translator