Jill Talbot on the Pleasure of Syntax
December 15, 2014 § 1 Comment
Jill Talbot is not only one of Brevity‘s favorite essayists but she is lately making her mark as one of our most astute essayists on the essay, helping reveal the inner working of what we do and how we do it well. Her latest effort, in The Essay Review, studies syntax at ground level, reminding us that the art is in the sentences.
“When I am reading an essay infused with lyrical, lilting, and elongated syntax, I get lost in the wonder, the wander through the language as if I’ve stepped through the door of an unfamiliar house, and I move from room to room, not understanding how I got there or why this room opens to this other one, and I forget to worry where I am or where the door is that will lead me out,” she writes, illustrating her sentence-level wanderings with fascinating examples from Maggie Nelson, Bernard Cooper, Dagoberto Gilb, Joan Didion, James Baldwin, and a host of other authors (including some Brevity essays we are proud of, from Meg Rains, Ander Monson, Roxane Gay, Brenda Miller, and Steven Church.)