One Word asks the question writers and readers love to answer: what word means the most to you, and why?
Publishers WeeklyThis 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 JournalFor 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.
- Sarabande Books
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