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Kent Haruf Tribute

kent harufHave you ever been lucky enough to see how Kent Haruf works on his masterpieces? If yes, then you have definitely seen how he pulls a wool cap on the eyes, sits down in front of the manual typewriter and fully dives into the process of creation. He used to write one chapter a day, in the backyard of his home located in Salida, where Kent Haruf actually passed away at 71.

Paragraphs, punctuations as well as capitalization – all these issues were left alone before the second draft. The number one task was to generate the first draft, to let the imagery stream run smoothly, single-spaced. He simply described the world previously created in his mind.

He most famous work by Mr. Haruf is the “Plainsong” that reflects the lives of several families: a pregnant teenager, aging brothers, young boy and their mother, who suffers from depression. The author spent six years in order to complete the work. Critics highly praised the depth of his characters as well as his spare sentences and well described circumstances. No wonder that this book made Kent Haruf a real sensation!

The author was rejected the very first time he applied to the Writers’ Workshop in Iowa at the age of 20, and even more rejections waited in the future. Fortunately, the author eventually broke through! His first novel was published in 1984. Six years later the world faced with the other masterpiece from Mr. Haruf.

As for the “Plainsong”, this book provided the author with an opportunity to earn enough money to retire from the teaching position he took in Southern Illinois. At that time Kent Haruf continued to write blind. What was so special about this method? The point is that it took away the terrors and never let the author to get back and fix the sentence.

The book called “Eventide” was published in 2004 and included some characters from the “Plainsong”. Some of the critics said that Kent Haruf had this magical ability to make the readers care about the small-town folks without all unnecessary sentimental clichés.

Born in Pueblo (Colo.), on Feb. 24, 1943, Kent Haruf grew up in Yuma and Wray – the towns that are located in the northeastern region of the state. He attended junior high and high school in Canon City.

Kent Haruf was the students of Nebraska Wesleyan University situated in Lincoln. In 1965 he took the volunteer position in Peace Corps in Turkey. During the Vietnam War Mr. Haruf received conscientious-objector status and worked in an orphanage and a hospital. The author of the “Plainsong” was 41 when he actually sold his first literary work to the magazine called “Puerto del Sol”.

His first marriage ended up with divorce. In addition to his wife, a talented and truly knowledgeable writer also had three daughters – Whitney Haruf, Sorel Haruf and Chaney Matsukis, as well as five stepchildren – Joel Dempsey, Amy Dempsey, Jessica Hedayat, Jennifer Dempsey and Jason Dempsey. Many grandchildren, a sister and two brothers – Mr. Haruf was surrounded by people, who truly loved him and appreciated his eternal talents!

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