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2018

NORTH CAROLINA L I T E R A R Y RE V I E W

INSIDE THE MIND OF REYNOLDS PRICE a review by James W. Clark, Jr. Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor. Dream of a House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price. Staunton, VA: George F. Thompson Publishing, 2017.

JAMES W. CLARK, JR. is English Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University. He serves as President of the North Caroliniana Society. His honors include the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association’s R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for his significant contribution to North Carolina literature, for which he was also an honoree at the 2015 North Carolina Writers Conference. In 2017, he was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

ABOVE Reynolds Price’s workspace

in his home (This and the other photographs within this review, taken by Alex Harris, are from the book and are featured here courtesy of George F. Thompson Publishing.)

The two co-editors of this stunning farewell to Reynolds Price came to know and adore him during the wheelchair era of his long, happy, and very productive life. He was the great indoors man who shared his much-befriended solitude with this married couple. Duke faculty stars themselves as photographers and writers, they highly prized Price’s preoccupation with seeing and saying, passions they shared. She is a bestselling memoirist, he the keen camera eye. The title of this exquisite book of photographs and texts, his and theirs, is taken from Price’s poem “The Dream of a House.” It opened Vital Provisions, his first book of poems (1982) and is annexed to A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing (1994), the author’s second memoir. In his Collected Poems (1997) this poem opens

the front door. In each publication, including this tribute in which the verse paragraphing differs slightly, a dream catalogs the poet’s collection of blessings as he is guided on a tour of a house he still has a lifetime to learn. Sharing dreams and memories became customary in the threedecades-long friendship of Price, Harris, and Sartor. The co-editors also made a habit of sharing their dreams privately, as illustrated in the first of their two essays found at the back of the book. Waking up side by side one July morning in New Mexico six months after Price’s January 2011 death, both Alex and Margaret had dreamed of Reynolds during the night. In both dreams he was troubled about his loss of sight, the uselessness of his glasses. Alex writes, “Margaret and I didn’t know how

ALEX HARRIS is a photographer, writer, and Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies at Duke University. Harris’s photographs are represented in major collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His photographs have been exhibited widely, including two solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York City. As a photographer and editor, Harris has published seventeen books, among them, with William deBuys, River of Traps: A New Mexico Mountain Life (Trinity University Press, 1990), which was a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and, with Edward O. Wilson, Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City (Liveright/W. W. Norton, in association with George F. Thompson Publishing, 2012).

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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