Redux: This Caliper Embrace



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re having a little birthday party for Eudora Welty, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney, all born on April 13. Read on for Welty’s Art of Fiction interview, an excerpt from Beckett’s novel Molloy, and Heaney’s poem “Polder.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to The Paris Review and read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door. And for as long as we’re flattening the curve, The Paris Review will be sending out a new weekly newsletter, The Art of Distance, featuring unlocked archival selections, dispatches from the Daily, and efforts from our peer organizations. Read the latest edition here, and then sign up for more.


Eudora Welty, The Art of Fiction No. 47
Issue no. 55 (Fall 1972)

At the time of writing, I don’t write for my friends or myself, either; I write for it, for the pleasure of it. I believe if I stopped to wonder what So-and-so would think, or what I’d feel like if this were read by a stranger, I would be paralyzed. I care what my friends think, very deeply—and it’s only after they’ve read the finished thing that I really can rest, deep down. But in the writing, I have to just keep going straight through with only the thing in mind and what it dictates.



from Molloy
By Samuel Beckett
Issue no. 5 (Spring 1954)

There are people the sea doesn’t suit, they prefer the mountains or the plain. Personally, I feel no worse there than anywhere else. Much of my life has ebbed away before this shivering expanse, to the sound of waves in storm and calm, and the claws of the surf.



By Seamus Heaney
Issue no. 75 (Spring 1979)

After the outburst and the terrible squalls
I hooped you with my arms

and remembered that what could be contained
inside this caliper embrace

the Dutch called bosom


If you like what you read, get a year of The Paris Review—four new issues, plus instant access to everything we’ve ever published.