I’ve known for years that I should read Anne Carson, and I’ve known that once I did, I’d probably love her. I am slow to read the books I should have read, or do the things I should be doing.
Recently I picked up Autobiography of Red and opened to a random page. The sentences I read, in that moment, felt like the most beautiful sentences I could remember reading.
“Her cool voice floated over a pile of fresh tea towels and across the shadowy kitchen where Geryon stood at the screen door.
He would remember when he was past forty the dusty almost medieval smell of the screen door itself
As it pressed its grid onto his face.”
We asked Entropy contributors to share their favorite sentences, the kind of sentence that makes you stop and read it over and over, the kind of sentence that makes you jealous, that makes you remember how much you love words.
“This is what women do, when they have an ocean of dreams but no water to put them in.”
Brando Skyhorse, The Madonnas of Echo Park
“The rain and the stars, this cold, dense mixture woke me up, opened the doors of my green, dark wood, of my wood that smells of an abyss where water flows.”
Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart
“Past the flannel plains and blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s‑quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscadine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.”
David Foster Wallace, The Pale King
“She didn’t look hard, but she looked as if she had heard all the answers and remembered the ones she thought she might be able to use sometime.”
Raymond Chandler, Trouble Is My Business
“My heart’s in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand’s in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught.”
Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers
“My world acquired a tendency to crumble as easily as a soda cracker.”
Alfred Hayes, In Love
“Everything deserves sympathy because we have an unlimited amount to give.”
August Smith, the poem “Choco Mountain” in The Mario Kart 64 Poems. The fact that this is in context to being kind to the smiling mountain in the Mario Kart track and makes the line that much more phenomenal. This whole chapbook of prose poems is filled with righteous sentences.
“I no longer care if I die, said Korin, then, after a long silence, pointed to the nearby flooded quarry: Are those swans?”
Laszlo Krasznahorkai, War and War
Paige Elizabeth Gresty:
“Everything had something behind it: life was like a long, long corridor with rows of closed doors. She had learned that at these doors it was wise not to knock- this seemed to produce from within such sounds of derision.”
Henry James, What Maise Knew
“…the muteness of the desire stood in inverse proportion to its size.”
Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts, on the desire to have children.