“I do not wish to presume. I want to love. Oh God please make my mind clear.” It’s no secret that Flannery O’Connor was both an incredible writer and a devout Catholic. The New Yorker has just published a few excerpts from her Prayer Journal which are characteristically beautiful whether or not you’re a believer.
“Complacencies of the peignoir, and late / Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair, / And the green freedom of a cockatoo / Upon a rug mingle to dissipate / The holy hush of ancient sacrifice. / She dreams a little, and she feels the dark / Encroachment of that old catastrophe, / As a calm darkens among water-lights.” Wallace Stevens’s “Sunday Morning” is the perfect poem to kick off the day of rest. Here’s a a brief profile from The New Yorker on Stevens’ life and art.
George Packer at Lapham’s Quarterly writes of meeting a young Burmese reader of Charles Dickens: “‘All of those characters are me,’ [he] explained. ‘Neither a British nor American young man living in the twenty-first century can understand a Dickens as well as I can…I am more equipped to understand Dickens than modern novels. I don’t know what is air conditioning, what is subway, what is fingerprint exam.’” (via Book Bench)
At The New Yorker, Meghan O’Rourke lyrically reviews Anne Carson’s latest work Nox: “Grief is paradoxical … The literature of mourning enacts that dilemma; its solace is mainly in the ritual of remembering the dead and then saying, There is no solace and also, This has been going on a long time.”