A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: An Anthology, of Sorts

A few months ago, in April, to be exact, I started a series of posts entitled “A Sentence About a Sentence I Love” with a sentence about one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s magnificent sentences. This concentration, or, rather, this obsession with the sentence may have come from my, at the time, recent readings of William Gass’s essays wherein he concentrates much of his attention on the sentence as a primary building block in poetry and prose. Essays by Gass like “The Soul Inside the Sentence,” “The Sentence Seeks Its Form,” “The Architecture of the Sentence,” take as their focus the centrality of the sentence toward the construction of thought, and particularly of thoughts within the parameters of fiction. In “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction,” Gass claims that sentences are “the most elementary instances of what the author has constructed….a moving unity of fact and feeling.” Moreover, sentences

must be sounded, too; it has a rhythm, speed, a tone, a flow, a pattern, shape, length, pitch, conceptual direction. The sentence confers reality upon certain relations, but it also controls our estimation, apprehension, and response to them. Every sentence, in short, takes metaphysical dictation, and it is the sum of these dictations, involving the whole range of the work in which the sentences appear, which accounts for its philosophical quality, and the form of life in the thing that has been made (Fiction and the Figures of Life, 14).

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Soda Series #2 this Sunday in Brooklyn

A conversation with:  Matt Bell, John Madera, Jeff Parker and Amber Sparks at Soda Bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. 629 Vanderbilt Ave.

Soda Series website Facebook RSVP. Upcoming readers include: Sasha Fletcher, Eugene Lim and Leni Zumas

Matt Bell is the author of How They Were Found, forthcoming from Keyhole Press in October 2010. His fiction appears in literary magazines such as Conjunctions, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Willow Springs, Unsaid, and American Short Fiction, and has been selected for inclusion in Best American Mystery Stories 2010 and Best American Fantasy 2. He is also the editor of The Collagist. For more information, click here.

John Madera’s work is forthcoming in Conjunctions, The Believer, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, and Corduroy Mountain. His fiction has appeared in Opium Magazine, Featherproof Press, elimae, Everyday Genius, ArtVoice, Underground Voices, and Little White Poetry Journal #7. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, his reviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Bookslut, The Collagist, DIAGRAM, Fiction Writers Review, Flatmancrooked, The Millions, The Prairie Journal: A Magazine of Canadian Literature, The Quarterly Conversation, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, New Pages, Open Letters Monthly, The Rumpus, Tarpaulin Sky, Word Riot, and in 3:AM Magazine. He is editing a collection of essays on the craft of writing (Publishing Genius Press). He edits the forum Big Other and journal The Chapbook Review. Former fiction editor at Identity Theory, he is senior flash fiction editor at jmww. His monthly column, “A Reader’s Log(orrhea),” may be found at The Nervous Breakdown.

Jeff Parker is the author of the story collection The Taste of Penny (Dzanc) and the novel Ovenman (Tin House). His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American Short Fiction, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Indiana Review, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Walrus, and others. He co-edited Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House) and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto.

Amber Sparks’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in a bunch of places, including New York Tyrant, Unsaid, PANK, Wigleaf, The Collagist, Artvoice, and Everyday Genius. She also is the fiction editor at Emprise Review. She has a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University, and a cool job doing new media stuff for an international labor union. She lives in Washington, DC and can be found on the intertubes at www.ambernoellesparks.com.

Guest Post, by Jeff Parker: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

“Mothers calling kids inside, the bus lit inside now, fat ladies coming home from offices at the Board of Education, on Livingston Street, their weary shapes like black teeth inside the glowing mouth of the bus, the light fading, street lights buzzing as they lit, their arched poles decorated with boomeranged-up sneakers, and Mingus Rude saying, one dying afternoon, eyes never ungluing from a panel in Marvel’s Greatest Comics in which Mr. Fantastic had balled himself into an orb the size of a baseball in order to be shot from a bazooka into the vulnerable mouth of an otherwise impervious fifty-foot-tall robot named Tomazooma, the Living Totem, “Your moms is still gone?”

–Jonathan Lethem, “View from a Headlock”

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