Eudora Welty: “. . . standing under a shower of blessings”

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Eudora Welty: “. . . standing under a shower of blessings”

by William R. Ferris
Southern Cultures, Vol. 9, No. 3: Fall 2003

"One, two, three. I just waded out . . . through the muck. And then I got in his sailboat. Of course I was wet, but you can't ask William Faulkner to wring you out, I guess. It hadn't occurred to me until this minute that I might have."

BILL FERRIS: Eudora, I want to ask you if you could reminisce about [Robert Penn] “Red” Warren and the friendship that you shared with him, and also with Cleanth [Brooks].

EUDORA WELTY: Well, our friendship was certainly warm and long lasting. Of course, they were so good to me from the beginning. When I was totally unknown, they encouraged me and helped me in every way. I was so indebted to both of them. You know, you didn’t meet people like them, at least in my world. It was a long time before I got to meet them, either one. But when I did go down to Baton Rouge and met them down there, we had a grand time. And I felt so picked out, you know, so favored. They had published me in the Southern Review—I guess they were the first people to publish my work anywhere. So I felt that I was very close to them, even though we didn’t meet very often. Then Red came and did a lecture one time over at Belhaven College across the street [from Welty’s house in Jackson]. I was telling him about Ross Barnett, and he laughed so hard I thought he was going to strangle. He just loved all those political tales from Mississippi. He said, “Every time I think about that night I still laugh till my ribs hurt.” But he loved choice things like that.