The Writer's Presence A Pool of Readings

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-12-28
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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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.

Author Biography

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
     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

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