Monday, August 08, 2005

"Powerhouse" by Eudora Welty

Listen! The charismatic, stupendously talented bluesman known as Powerhouse has come to town! Hear him as he pounds the piano, rouses his audience from their complacence, and evolves into a character (based on Fats Waller) you will likely never forget. Read by David Huddle.

Jackson, Mississippi's favorite daughter, Eduora Welty spent most of her life there, from 1909 to 2001. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, she worked as a photographer for the Works Progress Administration, but soon turned her attention to writing. Eventually she became one of America's favorite authors, far outstripping the "Southern Gothic" label she is often tagged with. Although she wrote several novels, including The Robber Bridegroom, The Golden Apples, and The Optimist's Daughter, she is perhaps best known for her short stories, of which this is one of her most popular. You might also remember stories such as "Why I Live at the P.O.," "A Curtain of Green," "The Petrified Man," and "Death of a Traveling Salesman," collected in many different volumes. One Writer's Beginnings, the story of how she matured into a storyteller, was one of her last and most enduring books. After a long and successful life, she left us in the first year of the twenty-first century, leaving behind a beloved reputation and oeuvre.

David Huddle is the James Brown of American literature: the hardest working writer we know. He has expended his considerable creative energies in an amazing variety of forms, from short fiction to novellas to novels to poetry to plays to memoir and essays. Just a few of his many books are La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl (a novel), Grayscale (poems), Intimates (short stories), The Writing Habit (essays), and Tenorman (a play). A native of Ivanhoe, Virginia, he now lives in Vermont, where he teaches at the University of Vermont in Burlington. We thank him for taking time out of his busy summer teaching schedule to read this story for us!


Anonymous said...

Eudora Welty's reading of Powerhouse, as well as Why I Live at the P.O. and A Worn Path from January 22, 1953 are available in RealAudio streaming format from links in the Aug. 14, 2005 NY Times Book Review (You may have to register to access the site). Here is the direct link to the welty.ram file for all 3 stories. Skip 23 minutes to start Powerhouse (including the author's introduction).

Scoot said...

Thanks for the information--we've heard at least part of these recordings long ago, and it will be quite nice to check them out again. We encourage our listeners to do the same, although we also think David Huddle's energetic interpretation would please even the author herself.