The Writer's Presence with 2016 MLA Update A Pool of Readings

by ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-07-15
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $2.10
    Check/Direct Deposit: $2.00
List Price: $76.96 Save up to $24.63
  • Rent Book $69.26
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Used and Rental copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


THIS TITLE HAS BEEN UPDATED TO REFLECT THE 2016 MLA UPDATES! Our editorial team has updated this text based on content from The MLA Handbook, 8th Edition. Browse our catalog or contact your representative for a full listing of updated titles and packages, or to request a custom ISBN.

A joint effort by Best American Essays series editor Robert Atwan and veteran writing teacher and former 4Cs chair Donald McQuade, the new edition of The Writer’s Presence collects teachable readings by great writers, showcasing distinctive voices and clear points of view on a broad range of engaging topics.

With selections that span communities, time periods, levels of difficulty, and fields of study, The Writer’s Presence shines a spotlight foremost on writers who establish a strong presence. The result is a blend of classic pieces by figures such as James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, and Amy Tan and fresh pieces by rising stars such as Silas Hansen, Ariel Levy, and Brian Doyle, with many essays accompanied by writers’ commentaries on their work. A flexible arrangement and minimal apparatus fits nearly any approach to teaching writing. Now with six annotated student essays and introductions to strategies for critical reading and writing in different essay genres, The Writer’s Presence gives students more support than ever to think critically and develop their own voices.

And now with the new edition, you can meet students where they are: online. Our newest set of online materials, LaunchPad Solo, provides all the key tools and course-specific content that you need to teach your class. Get all our great course-specific materials in one fully customizable space online; then assign and mix our resources with yours. To package LaunchPad Solo free with The Writer’s Presence, use ISBN 978-1-319-01382-0.

Author Biography

Donald McQuade is professor of English and former dean of undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He just finished a term serving as Vice Chancellor-University Relations. A past chair of CCCC, he has directed the writing program at Berkeley and at Queens College, CUNY, and has published widely on American literature, American culture, and composition theory and practice. With Bob Atwan, he is coauthor of The Writer’s Presence (2009).

Robert Atwan is director of The Blue Hills Writing Institute at Curry College and the series editor of the annual Best American Essays, which he founded in 1985. His essays, reviews, and critical articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, River Teeth, and many other publications. For Bedford/St. Martin’s, he has also edited Ten on Ten: Major Essayists on Recurring Themes (1992); Our Times (1998); and Convergences (2009). He has coedited (with Jon Roberts) Left, Right, and Center: Voices from Across the Political Spectrum (1996), and is coeditor with Donald McQuade of The Writer’s Presence (2009).

Table of Contents

The Writer's Presence, 8th edition
Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors

Alternate Tables of Contents

Selections Arranged by Theme

Selections Arranged by Common Rhetorical Modes and Patterns of Development

Short Essay Contents

Introduction for Students: The Writer’s Presence

ON WRITING: Practical Advice from Successful Writers

Getting Started
Dealing with Procrastination
Generating Ideas
Envisioning an Audience
Working with Words
On Reading

Part I. Personal Writing: Exploring Our Own Lives 
*What is Personal Writing?
*Strategies for Establishing Your Personal Presence
*Strategies for Turning Your Story into a Compelling Narrative
*Strategies for Writing Literary Prose
*Reading Personal Essays: A Checklist

Alexie, Sherman, The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me 

*Allison, Dorothy,  A Question of Class

Angelou, Maya, What's Your Name, Girl?

Baldwin, James, Notes of a Native Son 

The Writer at Work—James Baldwin on Black English

Carver, Raymond, My Father's Life 

Cofer, Judith Ortiz, Silent Dancing 

The Writer at Work — Judith Ortiz 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 

*Dubus III, Andre, The Land of No: Love in Class-Riven America

*The Writer at Work—Andre Dubus on The Risks of Memoir Writing

Fadiman, Anne, Under Water

*The Writer at Work—Anne Fadiman on the Art of Editing

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 

*Hansen, Silas, Blank Slate

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? 

*Lahiri, Jhumpa, My Two Lives

Mairs, Nancy, On Being a Cripple 

The Writer at Work—Nancy Mairs on Finding a Voice

Mamet, David, The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood 

Mengestu, Dinaw, Home at Last

Munoz, Manuel, Leave Your Name at the Border

       *(Student Essay) Milos Kosic, It’s Not the Name That Matters

Orwell, George, Shooting an Elephant

*Proulx, Annie, A Yard of Cloth

Rodriguez, Richard, Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood 

The Writer at Work — Richard 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 

*Smith, Patti, Sticky Fingers

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 

*Strayed, Cheryl, Into the Woods

*The Writer at Work—Cheryl Strayed on What Makes a Good Essay

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 

      (Student Essay) 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 

Part II. Expository Writing: Shaping Information 
*What Is Expository Writing?
*Strategies for Sharing Information
*Strategies for Analyzing Information
*Strategies for Interpreting Information
*Reading Expository Essays: A Checklist

Acocella, Joan, A Few Too Many

Akst, Daniel, What Meets the Eye 

Barry, Dave, The Ugly Truth About Beauty

Bérubé, Michael, Analyze, Don't Summarize 

Bowden, Charles, Our Wall

Brooks, David, People Like Us

Carter, Steven L., The Insufficiency of Honesty 

Cunningham, Amy, Why Women Smile 

*Didion, Joan, The Santa Ana

*The Writer at Work—Joan Didion on Why I Write

*Dillard, Annie, This is the Life

The Writer at Work, Annie Dillard on The Writing Life

*Doyle, Brian, Dawn and Mary

        His Last Game

        A Note on Mascots

*The Writer at Work—Brian Doyle on the Pleasures and Craft of Writing and Reading

Eighner, Lars, On Dumpster Diving 

The Writer at Work—Lars Eighner on the Challenges of Writing While Homeless 

*Frazier, Ian, A Farewell to Yarns

*Gilbert, Daniel, What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous

      *(Student Essay) Hewitt, Tom, Learning from Tison

Gladwell, Malcolm, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not be Tweeted

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, My Visit to Niagara

*Iyer, Pico, The Terminal Check

(Student Essay) Ahmad, Meher, My Homeland Security Journey

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 

Levitt, Stephen D and Stephen J Dubner, What Should You Worry About?

Lincoln, Abraham, Gettysburg Address 

The Writer at Work, Abraham Lincoln’s Hay Draft of the Gettysburg Address 

*Lightman, Alan, Our Place in the Universe

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 

*Pollan, Michael, The End of Cooking?

*[e-reading] United States Department of Agriculte, Miracles from Agriculture 1960 [video]

Pollitt, Katha, Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls 

Schlosser, Eric, Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good

Simic, Charles, The Life of Images 

*Stein, Joel, The New Greatest Generation

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 
*What Is Argumentative Writing?
*Strategies for Presenting the Issue
*Strategies for Building a Claim
*Strategies for Making a Case
*Strategies for Coming to a Conclusion
*Reading Argumentative Essays: A Checklist

Carr, Nicholas, Is Google Making Us Stupid?

*[e-reading] Linda Stone, Continuous Partial Attention [video]

Ehrenreich, Barbara, Will Women Still Need Men 

Foer, Jonathan Safran, Let Them Eat Dog

Gatto, John Taylor, Against School 

Hitchens, Christopher, Believe Me, It’s Torture

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 

*McKibben, Bill, A Moral Atmosphere

Michaels, Walter Benn, The Trouble with Diversity

*[e-reading] The White House, The Buffett Rule [video]

*Mosley, Walter, Get Happy

Obama, Barack, Grant Park Victory Speech

Paglia, Camille, The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery 

      *(Student essay) Sabrina Verchot, A Response to Camille Paglia’s "The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery"

*Pinker, Steven, Violence Vanquished

      *(Student Essay) Jacob Ewing, Steven Pinker and the Question of Violence

*Roach, Mary, Ed and Mary do Mars and Venus

*Sandel, Michael J., What Isn’t for Sale?

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

*Wideman, John Edgar, Fatheralong

Zinn, Howard, Stories Hollywood Never Tells


Part IV. The Short Story: Seven Modern Classics
*What Are Short Stories?
*Strategies for Understanding Narrative Point of View: Who Is Telling the Story?
*Strategies for Understanding Plot: What Happens in the Story?
*Strategies for Understanding Setting: Where Is the Story in Time and Space?
*Reading Short Stories: A Checklist

Alexie, Sherman, This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona 

*Lahiri, Jhumpa, Interpreter of Maladies

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'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








Rewards Program

Write a Review