Quodlibet

Prose Pruning

One of the literary lessons I've learned from pruning fruit trees every spring is that a well-pruned tree, like a well-pruned essay, doesn't look pruned, just nicely shaped. None of what has come off is missed after a second glance, nor does any remembrance remain of what the tree looked like beforehand. Pruning does not simply encourage dendritic aesthetics and stimulate fruit production, but allows light and air to penetrate to the center of the tree, discouraging disease and pests. "He who pruneth not, hateth his tree"—which proverb is related to "Everybody needeth an editor."

S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor.

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more on literature from the online archives

30.2—March/April 2017

Rescuing Cervantes

on Reading Don Quixote in Its Original Christian Context by Luis Cortest

20.6—July/August 2007

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