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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.

  • 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.

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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