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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.
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 InstructorsAlternate Tables of ContentsSelections Arranged by ThemeSelections Arranged by Common Rhetorical Modes and Patterns of DevelopmentShort 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 Drafting Revising 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 ClassAngelou, Maya,What's Your Name, Girl?Baldwin, James,Notes of a Native Son The Writer at Work—James Baldwin on Black EnglishCarver, 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 BoyhoodDouglass, 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 WritingFadiman, Anne,Under Water *The Writer at Work—Anne Fadiman on the Art of EditingGates, 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
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 VoiceMamet, David,The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood Mengestu, Dinaw,Home at LastMunoz, Manuel,Leave Your Name at the Border *(Student Essay) Milos Kosic,It’s Not the Name That MattersOrwell, George,Shooting an Elephant*Proulx, Annie,A Yard of ClothRodriguez, 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 ImagesSedaris, David, Me Talk Pretty One Day*Smith, Patti,Sticky FingersStaples, 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 EssayWalker, 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 ManyAkst, Daniel,What Meets the EyeBarry, Dave,The Ugly Truth About BeautyBérubé, Michael,Analyze, Don't Summarize Bowden, Charles,Our WallBrooks, David,People Like UsCarter, 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 LifeThe Writer at Work, Annie Dillard on The Writing Life*Doyle, Brian,Dawn and MaryHis Last GameA 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 TisonGladwell, Malcolm, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not be TweetedHawthorne, Nathaniel, My Visit to Niagara*Iyer, Pico,The Terminal Check *(Student Essay) Ahmad, Meher,My Homeland Security JourneyKing, 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 MountainNafisi, 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 GoodSimic, Charles,The Life of Images*Stein, Joel, The New Greatest GenerationWoolf, 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 DogGatto, John Taylor,Against SchoolHitchens, Christopher,Believe Me, It’s TortureJefferson, Thomas,The Declaration of Independence The Writer at Work, Another Draft of The Declaration of IndependenceKing, Martin Luther Jr., I Have a Dream The Artist at Work — Reenvisioning I Have a Dream, Ho Che AndersonKing, 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 ChoiceSilko, Leslie Marmon,In the Combat Zone Singer, Peter,The Singer Solution to World Poverty The Academic Voice, from Utility and the Survival LotterySlater, Lauren,The Trouble with Self-Esteem The Writer at Work — Lauren Slater on Writing Groups Swift, Jonathan,A Modest ProposalWallace, David Foster,Consider the Lobster
The Writer at Work, Another Version of Consider the Lobster
*Wideman, John Edgar,Fatheralong
Zinn, Howard,Stories Hollywood Never TellsPart 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 MaladiesKincaid, Jamaica,Girl The Writer at Work, Jamaica Kincaid on GirlOates, 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