Lydia Davis – Head Is All Heart Has

  • Lydia Davis wins Man Booker Int’l Prize

  • “Heart weeps.
    Head tries to help heart.
    Head tells heart how it is, again:
    You will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But even the earth will go, someday.
    Heart feels better, then.
    But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.
    Heart is so new to this.
    I want them back, says heart.
    Head is all heart has.
    Help, head. Help heart.”

    Lydia Davis (Click to see large) Photo by Odeta Catana

    Bombsite interview

    FP You read Beckett at 13?

    LD Yeah, I didn’t read the whole thing.

    FP Where did you find it?

    LD My father was an English professor, and somehow it must have been in the house. It made a very strong impression because it was so different from anything I had read. I opened this book and it said on the first page, “I’m lying here. I’ve dropped my pencil.” Later, in high school, I would go through one novelist after another—Nabokov, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Dostoevsky, Joyce—and read everything.

    FP Do you think about Beckett a lot now?

    LD He was very important to me in my early twenties. I studied him. I was really picking apart sentence structures, seeing exactly how he constructed a sentence. Why it worked so beautifully. I suppose I wanted to do it as well as Beckett. So if I was going to do it as well as he did, I had to learn how he did it.

  • The Believer Interview.. here.