The dark apartment rustled in the dark, and it was dark in the day as well.
–Amy Hempel, from “Fort Bedd,” in Sing To It
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
This sentence achieves its biblical cadence from the two-part rhythm, the first phrase balanced by the second. The opening half features ten syllables, the closing clause nine. The two multiple-syllable words, apartment and rustled, nestle between the two darks, and then the marching rhythm of a string of single-syllable words takes over, carrying the alliterative d of dark toward day, to the end. Sound and rhythm lead to content, for Hempel; this is how music is made.
–Pearl Abraham is the author of, most recently, Animal Voices, Mineral Hum