My brother surprised me with a jewel from Half-Priced Books the other day. He brought me home an old edition of Flannery O’Connor’s Everything that Rises Must Converge. I think this is the best kind of gift–one that’s thoughtful and totally unexpected. And one that involves Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.
I wanted to share a quotation from the back.
When I read Flannery O’Connor, I do not think of Hemingway, or Katherine Anne Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles. What more can you say for a writer? I write her name with honor, for all the truth and all the craft with which she shows man’s fall and his dishonor. –Thomas Merton, Jubilee.
I myself find her both brutal and compassionate. There, two good reasons to read her!
Speaking of recommendations from the backs of books, I’ve noticed books of poetry tend to have the most colorful and fun declarations. To sample a few from Billy Collins’ books:
- “Collins is jazzman and Buddhist, charmer and prince.” —Booklist
- “What Collins does best is turn an apparently simple phrase into a numinous moment…Collins brings to mind the elegant wit of the sorely missed William Matthews, another poet of plenitude, irony, and Augustan grace.” —New Yorker
- “A typical Collins poem has a self-illuminating quality to it, or…a gratifying organic feel about it, a sense that like some splendidly blooming plant, it develops naturally from even a most inauspicious instant of germination…” –The Boston Globe
- “Collins reveals the unexpected within the ordinary. He peels back the surface of the humdrum to make the moment new.” —The Christian Science Monitor
- “[Collins poetry] should be placed next to Gideon’s Bible in every motel room in America.” —The Providence Journal
- “I have never before feltposssessive about a poet, but I am fiercely glad that Billy Collins is ours–smart, his strings tuned and resonant, his wonderful eye looping over the things, events and ideas of the world, rueful, playful, warm-voiced, easy to love.” –Annie Proulx