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The Writer's Presence: A Pool of Readings


The Writer's Presence: A Pool of Readings Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

By scouring hundreds of essays in search of the best writing available, the editors of The Writers Presence have 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 writers distinctive presence. With so many exceptional readings and so many ways to teach them, the possibilities are endless. Read the preface.

About the Author

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 Writers 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 Writers 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, “Isnt 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 Lincolns 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, Its 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 Paglias “The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery”

Pollan, Michael, Whats 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

*OBrien, 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

Product Details

Mcquade, Donald
Bedford Books
Atwan, Robert
McQuade, Donald
Publication Date:
9.125 x 6.5 in

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