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Guest Post, by Darby Larson: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

“They had heard or had heard said or had heard said written.”

–From James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

A peculiar between the two and three thirds I stumbled into during my conquest of Finnegans Wake, which is still roaring forward today, and that I’ll say is beautiful for its multitude of ‘h’s and ‘d’s, three ‘had’s, three ‘heard’s, two ‘said’s, two ‘or’s, one ‘they’, one ‘written,’ (we hear, we say, we write), for blending into itself when blinkly glanced at, for its music (4, 3, 5, 2, 3, 5, 4, 2, 3, 5, 4, 7), and for being a breath of fresh pronouncability floating in a sea of unsayables.

Darby Larson is the editor of Abjective.

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About John Madera

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found 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, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.
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3 thoughts on “Guest Post, by Darby Larson: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

  1. Hey Darby,

    I like your breaking down the words into the amount of letters they contain. It’s weird and funky. Kind of hermetic. Like a personal mathematics. How did you come to it?

    Another approach would be to break words down to their syllabic content. So this sentence would be:
    1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2.

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