I hope you are enjoying our discussion of Kent Haruf’s Plainsong. I am, by profession, a teacher of English, but with a few publications in print, I like to think of myself as a creative writer. I enjoy studying novels and poetry for craftsmanship.
So. When I read a book, especially a GOOD book, one that really touches me, resonates with me, as Plainsong does, deeply, I like to learn something about the author’s writing process, the way that he or she sets about to write. In an interview for The Wall Street Journal, Haruf noted that he would first read a passage from a favorite author – Chekhov, Faulkner, or Hemingway—so as to remind himself “what a sentence can be.” While Haruf’s admiration of these earlier modernist writers is worthy of further exploration, what’s more important to us is to appreciate what it tells us to expect about his style – it’s spare—relatively free of detail and description; unadorned—plain, common words; yet, indirect, asking us to infer meaning.