Happy Birthday, Grace Paley

One of my favorite writers, Grace Paley, was born on this day in 1922. (The link will take you to her 1992 Paris Review interview.) She is best remembered for her short stories, and once, at the library, I found a set of cassette tapes of her reading her own fiction. If these are ever released on CD, I will be the first in line to buy them.

Paley was also well known for her political activism, and she wrote poetry. Here’s one, from Fidelity, published in 2008:

Anti-Love Poem

Sometimes you don’t want to love the person you love
you turn your face away from that face
whose eyes lips might make you give up anger
forget insult   steal sadness of not wanting
to love    turn away then turn away    at breakfast
in the evening    don’t lift your eyes from the paper
to see that face in all its seriousness    a
sweetness of concentration     he holds his book
in his hand    the hard-knuckled winter wood-
scarred fingers    turn away    that’s all you can
do    old as you are to save yourself    from love

1 reply
  1. abbiejohnsontaylor
    abbiejohnsontaylor says:

    i heard it was Grace Paley’s birthday today on The Writer’s Almanac. Apparently, when people told her they liked one of her stories, she would say, “What about the rest of them?” This inspired a poem. Thank you for sharing.


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