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In Short: A Gathering of Brief Creative Nonfiction
     

In Short: A Gathering of Brief Creative Nonfiction

by Judith Kitchen (Editor), Mary Paumier Jones (Editor)
 
Delights and surprises await the reader in this rich gathering of "Shorts" (ranging from several paragraphs to 2,000 words). From Diane Ackerman's fascination with hummingbirds to Andrei Codrescu's idiosyncratic view of nostalgia to Albert Goldbarth's free-wheeling riff on the universe, each Short becomes a sharply focused lens on an outer world or an inner

Overview

Delights and surprises await the reader in this rich gathering of "Shorts" (ranging from several paragraphs to 2,000 words). From Diane Ackerman's fascination with hummingbirds to Andrei Codrescu's idiosyncratic view of nostalgia to Albert Goldbarth's free-wheeling riff on the universe, each Short becomes a sharply focused lens on an outer world or an inner sensibility.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Even readers skeptical of short-attention-span publishing will find these short-short (fewer than 2000 words) essays addictive. They're like a plate of Cheese Doodles at a party: not every one is crisp and perfect, but many are, and so the reader keeps going, waiting for the next flash of brilliance. The short-short essay form seems to inspire people to write about nature. Though some are flaccid, the best, such as Kathleen Norris's paean to rain and Donald Hall's wry notes about the joy we take in suffering bad weather, connect natural events to humanity. Short memoirs are poignant, and the form cuts away any sentimentality. In three paragraphs, Stuart Dybek recalls the summer nights when drivers would occasionally pass through his neighborhood with their headlights off, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. gives his family's reasoning about why white people are poor cooks. Within such a short form, the spaces between things become paramountand in the best cases make exposition unnecessary. Judson Mitcham tells of feeding his mother in the hospital, then spotting a mass of starlings on his way home. In recalling the 50 pounds of moose meat her father gave her when she departed for college in the '60s, Brenda Peterson easily explains the food chain and her place in it. The editors contribute a cogent introduction on this innovative form, and Bernard Cooper writes in his preface about how small events become powerful, then demonstrates just that principle with a concluding meditation on sighing that is both sad and funny. (July)
Library Journal
Kitchen, a poetry reviewer for the Georgia Review, and Jones, a librarian and essayist, have compiled an anthology of 90 brief pieces, ranging from a few paragraphs to a few pages each, to introduce the emerging genre of "creative nonfiction." Somewhat less informational than standard essays, these nonfiction shorts focus on distilled insights, scenes, and memories. Indeed, many of the writers showcased here are best known for their poetry (e.g., Donald Hall, Maxine Kumin, Rita Dove); some, such as Diane Ackerman, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Lee Gutkind (Creative Nonfiction, LJ 4/1/96), are seasoned in nonfiction; others are less well known. The editors have artfully arranged the works so that a theme or keyword thread connects each writing to the next one. For example, "Across the Street," an essay about a dying neighbor, is followed by "A Wind from the North," which reminisces about a recently deceased uncle. Yet each gem stands on its own. Biographical notes complete the volume. Recommended for public libraries.Cathy Sabol, Northern Virginia Community Coll., Manassas

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393039603
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/28/1996
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.49(h) x 1.23(d)

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