"I think it’s important to open that area of inquiry as early as possible."

It is a pleasure to read Matt Bell’s answers in the new “The Books We Teach” series(-to-be) of interviews offered by Ploughshares — and to read the following in particular:

One of my favorite texts to teach is Gary Lutz’s essay “The Sentence is a Lonely Place.” I couldn’t imagine not exposing students to this piece. After reading it, we spend a day considering sentence after sentence on the projector, all kinds of successful ways to get from the opening word to the final punctuation, how the sentences are built, where the power comes from, and what kind of rules we can extract about what creates emotional effect on the sentence level. It’s my experience that fiction writers—and not just beginning fiction writers—have a lousy vocabulary for talking about sentence-level acoustics and poetics, and while there’s more to learn than we could ever cover in a single lecture, I think it’s important to open that area of inquiry as early as possible.