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In the course of his career Willie Morris (1934–1999) attained national prominence as a journalist, editor, nonfiction writer, novelist, memoirist, and news commentator. As this eloquent book reveals, he was also a master essayist whose gift was in crafting short compositions.
Shifting Interludes, an anthology that spans his career of forty years, includes pieces he wrote for the Daily Texan, Texas Observer, the Washington Star, Vanity Fair, Southern Living, and other publications. These diverse works reflect the scope of Morris’s wide-ranging interests. The collection comprises biographical profiles, newspaper editorials and columns, political analyses, travel narratives, sports commentaries, book reviews, and his thoughts—both critical and affectionate—about his beloved home state of Mississippi.
Two notable essays were published for the first time in this collection—“A Long-ago Rendezvous with Alger Hiss” and “The Day I Followed the Mayor around Town.” Another essay, “Mississippi Rebel on a Texas Campus,” was the first article he wrote for a national publication.
Morris’s subjects reflect his autobiography, his poignant feelings, and his courtly manners. He expresses his outrage as he decries southern racism in “Despair in Mississippi,” his melancholy as he recounts a visit to his hometown Yazoo City in “The Rain Fell Noiselessly,” his grace as he salutes a college football team and its fallen comrade in “In the Spirit of the Game,” his humor as he admits to a bout of middle-age infatuation in “Mitch and the Infield Fly Rule,” and his pensiveness as he remembers his much-loved grandmother Mamie in “Weep No More, My Lady.”