By People Staff
May 28, 1990 12:00 PM

>From Letters of Katherine Anne Porter, selected and edited by Isabel Bayley (Atlantic, $29.95).

To Rev. John F. Fahey (a seminarian in Illinois who had written Porter, author of Pale Horse, Pale Rider and Ship of Fools, about autobiographical influences in her writing).

“It is almost impossible for an artist, whose work is the transmutation of his living experience on all levels—spiritual, intellectual, moral, psychic, emotional—into symbolic interpretation, to explain how he does it. Or why his mind works that way: or what numberless forces, influences, ideas and memories shaped it through the years. But if you anywhere read cynicism or nihilism into my work, you have misread it altogether, and I am sorry for this. No true artist on no matter how humble a plane can be either cynic or nihilist. His task is one of love.

“Sincerely yours, [signed] Katherine Anne Porter”