One of America’s greatest contemporary writers died today. A novelist, short story writer and poet who was fascinated with faith, American middle class life and all the conflict, mostly unseen, to be found there. Updike was most well known for his novel about an American man trying to make sense of his life and escape it. The novel is Rabbit Run.
He is also famous for his novel The Witches of Eastwick and most recently its sequel, The Widows of Easwick.
One of my favorite poems is his “Seven Stanzas at Easter”. Here are the 4th and 7th.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
– from Telephone Poles and Other Poems © 1961 by John Updike.
The International Herald Tribune has a great article on the man. You can read it here: John Updike, lyrical American writer, is dead at 76