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Guest Post, by Jen Michalski: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

“Later in the afternoon, with sad resignation, the county fair bares its breasts.”

–“Emergency,” Denis Johnson, from Jesus’ Son
I’m a big believer that writers should use their own personal vocabulary (thanks, Michael Kimball) to show the reader how they uniquely perceive the world, and I can think of no better sentence that exemplifies that belief than this one–no one else could have written it but Johnson.

Jen Michalski is the author of Close Encounters.

  • 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.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post, by Jen Michalski: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

  1. Oh, lovely. I read that book like four times in a row and then again a few years after….but it’s been a long time. Just lovely.

  2. Man, yes.

    Though, I have to admit, my favorite sentence from Emergency is the one where the narrator wakes up in the truck, and understands how a drowning man might suddenly feel a great thirst being quenched.

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