Mary Gordon: “The rhythms of those incredible sentences”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of novelist Mary Gordon, born in 1949 in Far Rockaway, New York. She grew up in a Catholic household. She wanted to be a writer from a young age, but for a while she also wanted to be a nun, and figured that she could write poetry on the side. She changed her mind about being a nun, but she never gave up on the writer idea.

She went to college at Barnard, got a master’s degree in writing, and then went to work on a Ph.D., focusing on Virginia Woolf. . . .Eventually, it was Woolf who inspired Gordon to quit her dissertation. She said she would take notes on Woolf’s writing, and that “the rhythms of those incredible sentences — the repetitions, the caesuras, the potent colons, semicolons. I knew it was what I wanted to do.”

Since then, she has published many novels as well as short stories, memoirs, and essays, including Final Payments (1978), The Company of Women (1980), Temporary Shelter (1987), Pearl (2005), The Love of My Youth (2011), and most recently, Payback (2020).

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