Spanning the Blogosphere...and Queens
Poetry Friday: Grace Paley

Grace Paley (1922-2007)

"Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life."

from "A Conversation with My Father," Enormous Changes at the Last Minute

"I was popular in certain circles, says Aunt Rose. I wasn't no thinner then, only more stationary in the flesh. In time to come, Lillie, don't be surprised—change is a fact of God. From this no one is excused. Only a person like your mama stands on one foot, she don't notice how big her behind is getting and sings in the canary's ear for thirty years. Who's listening? Papa's in the shop. You and Seymour, thinking about yourself. So she waits in a spotless kitchen for a kind word and thinks—poor Rosie..."

from  "Goodbye and Good Luck," The Little Disturbances of Man

Goodbye, Grace Paley.

Obituaries, reminiscences: Maud Newton, The Millions, Thulani Davis (Women's Voices for Change), Associated Press (Hillel Italie), New York Times, Amitava Kumar, Wondermachine, NPR's "All Things Considered,"  Francine Prose and others (PEN American Center), David Gates (Newsweek), Katha Pollitt ( And Another Thing blog @ The Nation), Book Book Book

Plus, Paley's "My Father Addresses Me on the Facts of Old Age," at The New Yorker.


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I love Grace Paley's writing.

Me, too, Lisa.

Oh, I adored reading Enormous Changes at the Last Minute in grad school. I felt SO smart being introduced to this writer and her world. I beat around bookstores and bought all her old books, and wrote a paper on one of her stories for a lit crit class. And she came and spoke at my school - and was one of our honorary alumnae. I really admired her, and so glad you did too.

TadMack, which story did you write about? My writing teacher insisted I read "Zagrowsky Tells." Wow.

I'm so glad you put all these tributes together, and sorry that I didn't see this and your Poetry Friday post when you first posted them. I love just about everything Grace Paley wrote, including her poems. There's one terrific one about the old people who were 80 when she was little (who knew nothing but war and no war) and the old people who were 90 (who said something like, first the world will burn, then you, little bud, must flower and save it.)

Oh. Nobody else ever wrote like her.

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