One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe

One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe

by Molly McQuade
     
 

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"Readers will find that the words profiled here have a new trace of meaning, warmth, and a time-worn glow."—John Morse, publisher of Merriam-Webster, Inc.

In One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe, Molly McQuade asks the question all writers love to answer: what one word means the most to you, and why? Writers respond

Overview

"Readers will find that the words profiled here have a new trace of meaning, warmth, and a time-worn glow."—John Morse, publisher of Merriam-Webster, Inc.

In One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe, Molly McQuade asks the question all writers love to answer: what one word means the most to you, and why? Writers respond with a wild gallimaufry of their choosing, from ardor to bitchin' to thermostat to wrong to very. There is corn, not the vegetable but the idea, defining cultural generations; solmizate, meaning to sing an object into place; and delicious slang, such as darb and dassn't. Composed as expository or lyric essays, zinging one-liners, extended quips, jeremiads, etymological adventures, or fantastic romps, the writings address not only English words but also a select few from French, German, Japanese, Quechua, Basque, Igbo, and others. The result is like the best of meals: filled with color, personality, and pomp. There is something delightful and significant for every reader who picks up this wonderful book.

Includes contributions by Albert Goldbarth, Forrest Gander, Brenda Hillman, Mimi Schwartz, Daisy Fried, Thylias Moss, Srikanth Reddy, Susan Bernofsky, Michael Martone, Cole Swensen, and more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This sublime anthology is poetry for people who don't read poems, collecting 67 essays, short stories, and memoirs in which seasoned writers and novices expound, meditate, or riff on a single word. The words range from the familiar (forget by Mimi Schwartz, crash by Dan Moyer) to the obscure (darb by Erin McGraw , umunnem by Kelechi Okere , from the short (a by Joel Brouwer takes up eight pages) to the long (floccinaucinihilipification by Siobhan Gordon . Thylias Moss's disquisition on fork and related words itself forks in many directions. Jason Iwen detects capitalist ideology in interesting, which first appeared in 1711 in an economic context. Poets are almost half of the contributors, but they also include critics, translators, academics, and novelists. These marvelous little pieces of writing highlight not so much the words themselves as what words do, how they exist as themselves but also as the carriers of meanings, which shift and branch into many paths real and metaphoric, juicy with sound. (Oct.)
Library Journal
For this collection of original pieces, editor McQuade (An Unsentimental Education) asked the contributors, "What word means the most to you and why?" Here she arranges the 66 responses alphabetically by word chosen, from "A" to "Wrong." The contributors are poets, journalists, teachers, and some simply described as "young writers." None is a household name. Most, but not all, have picked an English word. Many offer riffs of creative writing in which they never really explain why they chose their word. Others, such as Karen Stolz ("Careen"), Lawrence Raab ("Sweetie"), and Kelechi Okere ("Umunmen"), present pieces that are both informative and poetic, rather than self-indulgent or affected. Best appreciated by confident creative writers rather than those seeking practical advice on language.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932511697
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Publication date:
11/01/2010
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author


Molly McQuade: Molly McQuade has worked as an editor of books, journals, and magazines for the Great Books Foundation, Publishers Weekly, Wesleyan University Press, TriQuarterly, Parnassus, Chicago Review, and others. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Yale Review, The New Criterion, The Washington Post, the Village Voice, The Atlantic, American Scholar, Daedalus, Literary Imagination, Threepenny Review, Paris Review, and more. McQuade writes two columns for the American Library Association, and served previously as a columnist for Hungry Mind Review. She has received fellowships or awards from the National Council of Teachers of English, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Among her books are a collection of her essays, Stealing Glimpses (Sarabande Books) and An Unsentimental Education (University of Chicago Press). A frequent panelist and presenter at conferences including the AWP, the MLA, and elsewhere, she has taught literature and writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, the Unterberg Center, and other venues. She blogs for PEN.

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