A Tribute to Wyatt Prunty

Christine Schutt

Fall 2019

That was the night he played all the parts in his play.
His craft talk he said was on Nothing.
The son did Rubik’s Cube tricks
before his father read. She said
she could teach me meter
in an afternoon, and she did.
He introduced himself as the general.
I was the lieutenant.

The Sewanee Writers’ Conference on the Mountain is a moment-struck affair. First summer at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, I was paired to teach with Barry Hannah; Lucy Corin was a Fellow in our class. Miriam Berkley took photographs of the three of us on the porch at the French House, happy—I was happy in Barry’s company. On the last reading of the last Saturday, we sat together in the back row of the Women’s Center. He planned a quick exit, but we stood at his truck afterwards and talked. The overcast sky, starless and close, was inauspicious, and I was weepy. I said, “I don’t think I’ll ever see you again.” And although he protested, I was right. Four years of letters—and not so very many letters at that, but I live by his wise words still.

Christine Schutt’s most recent fiction is Pure Hollywood.

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