The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 18, 2008

Here Is A Person

Okay, I lied a little bit yesterday. I wasn't going to post any fiction readings from the Grace Paley tribute at Poets House, because to be honest, I didn't know how I could justify their being posted on a blog about poetry. But I found myself thinking about this Amy Hempel reading after I'd listened to it, thinking about the beautiful simplicity and finality of that line: 'then she died.'

And then there was also this appreciation by A.M. Homes, who said:

"I think of Grace and I think about how when I first read her stories I really couldn't understand them. They were lost on me and I didn't know why. And then I borrowed a record from the library--it was a recording of Grace reading 'Goodbye and Good Luck' and 'A Conversation with My Father' and suddenly listening to the sound of the reader's voice reading her own work, her intonation like an incantation made it all perfectly clear."

Which is a huge part of what this blog is about--the way that writing when read aloud takes on a new shape and new form, and it makes you view the written word differently. If you like these stories, please do check out Grace Paley's Collected Stories, which is well worth a read especially if you primarily have appreciated Grace's poetry.

Unfortunately, we don't have Grace Paley reading her own work. But I hope that the intonation and incantation of Amy Hempel reading her short short story 'Mother' will suffice. I'm also including the whole of A.M. Homes' words, because I love the way they set up the reading.

You can download the Hempel here and the Homes here, or listen to them in the players below.

A.M. Homes:

Amy Hempel:


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