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Thirty Words Is a World

Michael Kimball and Joseph Young talk about words. Thirty of them. These words from Young’s Easter Rabbit:


As she read essays, she plaited one side of her hair. You’d last forever, he said, up from his puzzle. The green light of some vehicle tracked across the ceiling.

I love the kind of obsessive attention to words found in this interview.  I’m also interested in consecution and recursion, and the acoustical properties/relations of sentences in general. Does anyone know of any essays/books besides Gary Lutz’s incomparable “The Sentence Is a Lonely Place” that treat this subject in an in-depth way?

  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

2 thoughts on “Thirty Words Is a World

  1. Hey, John, thanks for the mention.

    It’s been quite a while since I read it and don’t remember a lot from it, but I just picked up Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction by Charles Baxter from my shelf and it has a chapter called Rhyming Action that seems perhaps to talk about recursion or the like. In any case, when I read the book several years ago I liked the density of the ideas. I think I might reread it again now.

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