The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
–Samuel Beckett, from Murphy
Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
—Stephanie Grant, Guest Editor
Never read blurbs to see if a book is for you; the opening sentence should do. In this first one, Beckett makes music with a dactylic rhythm that arcs from the gloriously shining sun, and falls, having no alternative, and further still it falls, down into the nothing new. As the stress falls, and we fall with it, we are resigned to Beckett’s affirmation: He gives us the nothing new, said anew. He refreshes Ecclesiastes. Yes, this is the drudge you wake to, as plain as the sun on your face, and yet, the sun does shine, does it not? So we go on.
–Keith Payne is an Irish poet and translator