Tuesday March 17th, 2009

“A bird hitherto unseen in this world.”

In 1964, Katherine Anne Porter wrote a brief appreciation of Flannery O’Connor, who had recently died. The two authors had met, Porter writes, “only three times over a period, I think, of three years or more.” An excerpt from Porter’s essay:

She managed to mix, somehow, two very different kinds of chickens and produced a bird hitherto unseen in this world. I asked her if she were going to send it to the County Fair. “I might, but first I must find a name for it. You name it!” she said. I thought of it many times but no fitting name for that creature ever occurred to me. And no fitting word now occurs to me to describe her stories, her particular style, her view of life, but I know its greatness and I see it — and see that it was one of the great gifts of our times.