Airr .,=r7r BOOKS 5r THE CULTURE The Bogs Club BY DICK HOLLAND Texas Literary Outlaws: Six Writers in the Sixties and Beyond By Steven L. Davis TCU Press 511 pages, $35 Steven L. Davis’s compelling account of the lives and works of Billie Lee Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Peter Gent, Dan Jenkins, Larry L. King, takes us back to a day when Dallas sportswriters ran around with a stripper who worked for Jack Ruby; when a wild man from West Texas became the literary toast of New York and Washington; when a subversive football player stood up to the #,\( Dallas Cowboys ‘<" ti l t transformed American sports writing in the pages of Sports Illustrated and produced a group of signature comic novels that defined sexual and political incorrectness; and when Texas' most lyrical prose writer partied himself to death after failing to live up to his incomparable solo novel. The Dallas sportswriters were Bud Shrake and Gary Cartwright. The wild man was Larry L. King, of Putnam, Texas. The football player turned writer was Dallas tight end Pete Gent. The Sports Illustrated star was Dan Jenkins. And it was Bill Brammer who wrote The Gay Place and then was never able to fulfill the huge expectations the book created. \(The striptease artist was a blonde named Jada, who used to drive around Dallas in her gold Cadillac wear ing high heels, a mink coat, and At 41, Steve Davis is awfully young to be the recording angel for this particular group of literary hellraisers, five of whom were born between 1929 and 1934. But it's this chronological distance that enables him to concentrate on the work and free himself of the myth. His other natural advantage as a chronicler is his position as assistant curator of the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State in San Marcos, where resides a treasure trove of literary archives donated by Cartwright, King, Shrake, and the Brammer family. The form of the book is group biography. One character is introduced, then another, then a thirdsoon, friendships form and parallel careers begin. The oldest friendship / is that of Dan Jenkins management and wrote a memorable novel about it; when a wise guy , from Fort Worth Il lu s tra t ion by Bar bar a M. White hea d for Tex as Literary Ou t laws \(TCU Press 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 8/13/04
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