On the Word as Souvenir

January 8, 2022 § Leave a comment

McCracken’s willingness to reach for such artful language, and her grace in achieving so, is a benefit to the reader: even words vanish—they vanish as their referents die away, as their speakers die away, as younger generations turn to newer words to prick up the listener’s ear. And with that vanishing the writer loses a way to convince future readers of the value that bowling alleys and Punch and Judy shows and PEZ dispensers and mechanical dolls once had.

I have a new monthly gig writing for the Ploughshares blog this year. For my first post, I wrote about my favorite book from last year and how words work as souvenirs.

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