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By scouring hundreds of essays in search of the best writing available, the editors of The Writer's Presencehave once again collected teachable readings by great writers, showcasing distinctive voices and clear points of view. The result is a blend of classic pieces by favorites like James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, and Amy Tan, and fresh pieces by rising stars like Dinaw Mengestu, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Azar Nafisi. Together the selections represent different communities, time periods, levels of difficulty, and fields of study, with topics that intersect in intriguing and nuanced ways, giving students the opportunity to think critically and develop their own voices. Over thirty of the selections are accompanied by writers' commentaries on their work, allowing students to see the origins of each writer's distinctive presence. With so many exceptional readings and so many ways to teach them, the possibilities are endless.
DONALD McQUADE is professor of English and former dean of undergraduate studies and Vice Chancellor of University Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley. A past chair of CCCC, he has directed the writing programs at Berkeley and at Queens College, CUNY, and has published widely on American literature, American culture, and composition theory and practice. With his daughter Christine, he is coeditor of Seeing & Writing for Bedford/St. Martin's.
ROBERT ATWAN is the director of The Blue Hills Writing Institute at Curry College and founder of the Best American Essays series, for which he serves as series editor. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Monthly, and Kenyon Review. For Bedford/St. Martin's, he has edited Ten on Ten: Major Essayists on Recurring Themes; Our Times: Readings from Recent Periodicals, America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals, and Convergences.
Table of Contents
* New to this edition
Alternate Tables of Contents Selections Arranged by Theme Selections Arranged by Common Rhetorical Modes and Patterns of Development
Introduction for Students: The Writer’s Presence
*Writers on the Writing Process Getting Started Drafting Revising On Reading
Part I. Personal Writing: Exploring Our Own Lives *Abani, Chris, The Lottery Alexie, Sherman, The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me Angelou, Maya, "What's Your Name, Girl?" Baldwin, James, Notes of a Native Son The Writer at Work — James Baldwin on Black English *Burroughs, Augusten, Absolutely Fabulous Carver, Raymond, My Father's Life Cofer, Judith Ortiz, Silent Dancing The Writer at Work — Cofer on Memory and Personal Essays Cooper, Bernard, A Clack of Tiny Sparks: Remembrances of a Gay Boyhood Douglass, Frederick, Learning to Read and Write *Fadiman, Anne, Under Water Gates, Henry Louis Jr., In the Kitchen The Writer at Work — Henry Louis Gates Jr. on the Writer’s Voice Hachiya, Michihiko, from Hiroshima Diary Hoagland, Edward, On Stuttering The Writer at Work — Edward Hoagland on What an Essay Is Hughes, Langston, Salvation The Writer at Work — Langston Hughes on How to Be a Bad Writer (In Ten Easy Lessons) *Jin, Ha, Arrival *Kincaid, Jamaica, The Estrangement Kothari, Geeta, If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I? Mairs, Nancy, On Being a Cripple The Writer at Work — Nancy Mairs on Finding a Voice Malcolm X, My First Conk Mamet, David, The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood Mayblum, Adam, The Price We Pay *Mengestu, Dinaw, Home at Last *Munoz, Manuel, Leave Your Name at the Border Obama, Barack, Origins The Writer at Work—Barack Obama on the Hazards of Autobiography Orwell, George, Shooting an Elephant Rodriguez, Richard, Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood The Writer at Work — Rodriguez on a Writer's Identity Satrapi, Marjane, My Speech at West Point The Graphic Memoirist at Work — Marjane Satrapi on the Language of Words and Images Sedaris, David, Me Talk Pretty One Day Staples, Brent, Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space The Writer at Work — Another Version of Just Walk on By Sullivan, Andrew, The M-Word: Why it Matters to Me *The Writer at Work—Andrew Sullivan on Essays and Blogs *Suri, Manil, “Keys to the Kingdom” Tan, Amy, Mother Tongue *Vivian, Robert, Town Walker, Alice, Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self Walker, Jerald, Scattered Inconveniences The Writer at Work—Jerald Walker on Telling a Good Story *The Student at Work—Lauren Carter, “Isn’t Watermelon Delicious?” White, E. B., Once More to the Lake The Writer at Work—E.B. White on the Essayist *Wiesel, Elie, Eight Simple, Short Words *Wolff, Tobias, Prospecting
Part II. Expository Writing: Shaping Information *Acocella, Joan, A Few Too Many Akst, Daniel, What Meets the Eye Amar, Akhil Reed, Second Thoughts: What the Right to Bear Arms Really Means *Barry, Dave, The Ugly Truth About Beauty Bérubé, Michael, Analyze, Don't Summarize *Bowden, Charles, Our Wall Brooks, David, People Like Us *Chabon, Michael, Faking It Carter, Steven L., The Insufficiency of Honesty Cunningham, Amy, Why Women Smile DeLillo, Don, In The Ruins of the Future: Reflections on Terror, Loss and Time in the Shadow of September *Didion, Joan, On Morality *Dillard, Annie, The Death of A Moth The Writer at Work, Annie Dillard on The Writing Life *Doyle, Brian, The Greatest Nature Essay Ever Eighner, Lars, On Dumpster Diving *Writer at Work—Lars Eighner on the Challenges of Writing While Homeless Epstein, Joseph, The Perpetual Adolescent Fallows, James, Throwing Like a Girl *Gilbert, Daniel, Next to Nothing *Gladwell, Malcolm,Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not be Tweeted *Gorney, Cynthia, The Urge to Merge Gould, Stephen Jay,Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs *Hawthorne, Nathaniel, My Visit to Niagara Hustvedt, Siri, Eight Days in a Corset King, Stephen, Everything You Need to Know about Writing Successfully—in Ten Minutes Kingston, Maxine Hong, No Name Woman The Writer at Work — Maxine Hong Kingston on Writing for Oneself *Koeppel, Dan, How to Fall 35,000 Feet—And Survive *Levitt, Stephen D and Stephen J Dubner, What Should You Worry About? *Lewis, Michael,The Mansion Lincoln, Abraham,Gettysburg Address The Writer at Work, Abraham Lincoln’s Hay Draft of the Gettysburg Address McBride, James, Hip-Hop Planet Momaday, N. Scott,The Way to Rainy Mountain Nafisi, Azar, Reading Lolita in Tehran Ofri, Danielle, SAT Orwell, George, Politics and the English Language The Writer at Work — George Orwell on the Four Reasons for Writing *Percy, Walker, The Loss of the Creature Pollitt, Katha, Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls Schlosser, Eric, Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good *Shreeve, James, The Greatest Journey Simic, Charles, The Life of Images Trillin, Calvin,A Traditional Family Tuchman, Barbara,"This Is the End of the World": The Black Death Turkle, Sherry, How Computers Change the Way We Think Weed, William Speed, 106 Science Claims and a Truckful of Baloney Wolfe, Tom, Hooking Up Woolf, Virginia, The Death of the Moth The Writer at Work, Virginia Woolf on the Practice of Freewriting
Part III. Argumentative Writing: Contending with Issues *Carr, Nicholas, Is Google Making Us Stupid? Diamond, Jared, The Ends of the World as We Know Them The Academic Voice — from Ecological Collapses of Past Civilizations *Ehrenreich, Barbara, Will Women Still Need Men Ephron, Nora, The Boston Photographs *Foer, Jonathan Safran, Let Them Eat Dog Gatto, John Taylor, Against School Gopnik, Adam, Shootings Hearne, Vicki, What's Wrong with Animal Rights *Hitchens, Christopher, Believe Me, It’s Torture *Iyer, Pico, The Inner Climate Jefferson, Thomas, The Declaration of Independence *The Writer at Work, Another Draft of The Declaration of Independence King, Martin Luther Jr., I Have a Dream The Artist at Work — Reenvisioning I Have a Dream, Ho Che Anderson King, Martin Luther Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail The Writer at Work — Martin Luther King Jr. on Self-Importance Kipnis, Laura, Against Love *Lynch, Thomas, Into the Oblivion Michaels, Walter Benn, The Trouble with Diversity Morris, Errol, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire *The Writer at Work—Errol Morris on Truth *Nussbaum, Martha, Veiled Threats? Paglia, Camille, The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery *Student Writer at Work: A Response to Camille Paglia’s “The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery” Pollan, Michael, What’s Eating America *Sandel, Michael J., Designer Babies Sanders, Scott Russell, The Men We Carry in Our Minds The Writer at Work — Scott Russell Sanders on Writing Essays Schwartz, Barry, The Tyranny of Choice Silko, Leslie Marmon, In the Combat Zone Singer, Peter, The Singer Solution to World Poverty The Academic Voice, from Utility and the Survival Lottery Slater, Lauren, The Trouble with Self-Esteem The Writer at Work — Lauren Slater on Writing Groups Swift, Jonathan, A Modest Proposal *Wallace, David Foster, Consider the Lobster The Writer at Work, Another Version of Consider the Lobster *John Edgar Wideman, Street Corner Dreamers Zinn, Howard, Stories Hollywood Never Tells
Part IV. The Short Story: Seven Modern Classics Alexie, Sherman, This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona *Carver, Raymond, What We Talk about When We Talk about Love Kincaid, Jamaica, Girl The Writer at Work, Jamaica Kincaid on Girl Oates, Joyce Carol, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? The Writer at Work, Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk:?Short Story into Film *O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried O'Connor, Flannery, A Good Man Is Hard to Find The Writer at Work — Flannery O'Connor on Her Own Work The Critic at Work, William Caverlee on A Good Man Is Hard to Find Updike, John, A&P