The Writer's Presence: A Pool of Readings / Edition 6

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The readings in The Writer’s Presence are selected exclusively for the quality of the writing. Editors Donald McQuade of the University of California, Berkeley, and Robert Atwan, Series Editor of The Best American Essays scoured hundreds of essays in search of teachable readings with strong 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 Michael Pollan, Geeta Kothari, James McBride, and Daniel Harris. The voices in The Writer’s Presence represent different communities, time periods, levels of difficulty, and fields of study, and the topics intersect in intriguing and nuanced ways, giving students the opportunity to think critically and develop their own voices.

Organized by type of writing and with minimal apparatus, The Writer’s Presence gives instructors unsurpassed teaching flexibility. With so many exceptional readings and so many ways to teach them, the possibilities are endless.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312486860
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 1/12/2009
  • Edition description: Sixth Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 1040
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet 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, now in its third edition from 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, now in its fifth edition, America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals, now in its seventh edition, and Convergences, now available in its second edition.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Personal Writing: Exploring Our Own Lives

Alexie, Sherman, The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me

Angelou, Maya, "What's Your Name, Girl?"

*Arana, Marie, Ghosts: Pishtacos

Baldwin, James, Notes of a Native Son

The Writer at Work — James Baldwin on Black English

*Beller, Thomas, The Problem with T-Shirts

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

*Daum, Meghan, Toy Children

Didion, Joan, On Keeping a Notebook

Douglass, Frederick, Learning to Read and Write

*Dove, Rita, Major Steps

*Doyle, Brian, The Knock

*Ford, Richard, A City Beyond the Reach of Empathy

Frank, Anne, from The Diary of a Young Girl

*Gates, Henry Louis Jr., In the Kitchen

The Writer at Work — Henry Louis Gates Jr. on the Writer’s 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)

*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, Homeboy

Mamet, David, The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood

Mayblum, Adam, The Price We Pay

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 Writer at Work — Marjane Satrapi on Comics

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

Tan, Amy, Mother Tongue

Trudeau, Garry, My Inner Shrimp

Walker, Alice, Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self

*Walker, Jerald, Scattered Inconveniences

*The Writer at Work — Jerald Walker on Writing

White, E. B., Once More to the Lake

Part II. Expository Writing: Shaping Information

*Akst, Daniel, What Meets the Eye

*Amar, Akhil Reed, Second Thoughts: What the Right to Bear Arms Really Means

*Bérubé, Michael, Analyze, Don't Summarize

*Bettelheim, Bruno, Hansel and Gretel

Brooks, David, People Like Us

*Budiansky, Stephen, The Physics of Gridlock

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

Eighner, Lars, On Dumpster Diving

Epstein, Joseph, The Perpetual Adolescent

Fallows, James, Throwing Like a Girl

Frazier, Ian, All-Consuming Patriotism

*Gertner, Jon, The Futile Pursuit of Happiness

Gladwell, Malcolm, Big and Bad

Gould, Stephen Jay, Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs

*Harris, Daniel, Celebrity Bodies

*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

Lincoln, Abraham, Gettysburg Address

The Writer at Work, Abraham Lincoln’s Hay Draft of the Gettysburg Address

*McBride, James, Hip-Hop Planet

*McGrath, Charles, The Pleasures of the Text

*Menand, Louis, Name that Tone

*Miller, Hanna, American Pie

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

Pollitt, Katha, Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls

*Safire, William, Changing Warming

Schlosser, Eric, Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good

Simic, Charles, The Life of Images

*Sparrow, Fighting CIS

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

*Ullman, Ellen, Dining with Robots

*Weed, William Speed, 106 Science Claims and a Truckful of Baloney

Winn, Marie, TV Addiction

*Wolfe, Alan, On Loyalty

Wolfe, Tom, Hooking Up

Woolf, Virginia, The Death of the Moth

*Wright, Will, Dream Machines

Part III. Argumentative Writing: Contending with Issues

*Appiah, Kwame Anthony, The Case for Contamination

*Bass, Rick, Double-Talk

*Chaudry, Lakshmi, Mirror, Mirror on the Web

*Cullinan, Cormac, If Nature Had Rights

Diamond, Jared, The Ends of the World as We Know Them

*The Academic Voice — from Ecological Collapses of Past Civilizations

*Dickerson, Debra, Who Shot Johnny?

Dillard, Annie, Living Like Weasels

The Writer at Work — Annie Dillard on the Writing Life

Easterbrook, Greg, The Myth of Fingerprints

Ehrenreich, Barbara, Family Values

Ephron, Nora, The Boston Photographs

Gatto, John Taylor, Against School

Gibson, William, The Net Is a Waste of Time

*Gopnik, Adam, Shootings

Hearne, Vicki, What's Wrong with Animal Rights

Jefferson, Thomas, The Declaration of Independence

Kakutani, Michiko, The Word Police

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

*Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner, Trading Up: Where Do Baby Names Come from?

McKibben, Bill, Worried? Us?

*Michaels, Walter Benn, The Trouble with Diversity

*The Writer at Work, Walter Benn Michaels on Working with Sources

*Morris, Errol, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Nussbaum, Martha, Can Patriotism Be Compassionate?

*The Academic Voice, from Cultivating Humanity in Legal Education

*Paglia, Camille, The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery

*Pinker, Steven, Sex Ed: The Science of Difference

*Pollan, Michael, What’s Eating America

*Postrel, Virginia, In Praise of Chain Stores

*Sandel, Michael J., The Case Against Perfection

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

Truth, Sojourner, Ain't I a Woman?

Twain, Mark, Corn-pone Opinions

Vidal, Gore, Drugs

Wideman, John Edgar, The Night I Was Nobody

Williams, Terry Tempest, The Clan of One-Breasted Women

Zinn, Howard, Stories Hollywood Never Tells

Part IV. Voices of Modern Fiction: Six Short Stories

Alexie, Sherman, What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

*Carver, Raymond, What We Talk about When We Talk about Love

*The Editor at Work, Raymond Carver’s The Beginners

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 on Reading

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

*The Critic at Work

* new to this edition

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