Khassan wasn’t an emotive or superstitious man and nothing like it had happened again, but he had found, layered in the infant’s half-lidded eyes, innumerable, wanting faces, none of which he had recognized.
—Anthony Marra, from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
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
The soft “Kha” followed by the even softer “san” are at once whisper and sigh, inviting the reader to ponder. The rhythmic cadence provides assurance that Khassan is not “mo” or “soo” and nothing like “en.” Then the cadence is suddenly broken by the harsh “ow” of “found.” The comma shifts our focus to something not on but “in” the infant’s “half-lidded” eyes. The compound word calls to mind the two eyes, represented visually by the round double d of “lidded” and double e of eyes, and further echoed by the hyphen itself which evokes their narrow slits. Seen inside these half open eyes are the “wah” faces, not only wanting but also wary, wailing, wallowing and awaiting an answer.
—Harvey Huddleston is the author of “Calling on Kathy” and Remain Silent