Words Made Fresh: Essays on Literature & Culture

Words Made Fresh: Essays on Literature & Culture

by Larry Woiwode
     
 

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These collected and revised essays from Larry Woiwode reflect on the words and places—cultural, spiritual, and literary—that shape us in the image of the incarnate God.

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Overview

These collected and revised essays from Larry Woiwode reflect on the words and places—cultural, spiritual, and literary—that shape us in the image of the incarnate God.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In these newly revised essays, award-winning author Woiwode (What I Think I Did) journeys through topics near and dear to his heart: home and place, Shakespeare and Updike, Bob Dylan and CNN. He illuminates his essays with a Christian perspective, which argues that as we become culturally disconnected from our scriptural heritage, "the verve and excitement of discovery" evaporates from language. Woiwode works to infuse life back into words, finding the sacred in Updike's conviction that the truth can't shock God, in the stricken eyes of a dying deer. Woiwode believes in the incarnational value of story, and his essays, filled with recollections, offer the enjoyment of eavesdropping on the conversations of a man who has lived richly for the past 50 years. Readers might wish for more than a scant five pages on Reynolds Price, fewer on Updike, but the essays on Wendell Berry, on Woiwode's North Dakota home, and on Shakespeare satisfy without overdoing. Despite some unevenness, Woiwode's skill with and love of both words and the Word infuse these pages. (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433527401
Publisher:
Crossway
Publication date:
06/28/2011
Pages:
191
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“This is a book for writers and readers, for those uncertain and certain of God. Woiwode’s examination of literature is so masterful that one can’t help but weigh his prose hand in hand with the art he admires, and I will not be surprised if you should find his sentences richer. I’ve been a student of Woiwode’s work for thirty years and am not yet done—this stunning collection of thought and prose has made me think and dream as I haven’t in years.”
G. W. Hawkes, Professor of English, co-director of Creative Writing, Lycoming College; author, Spies in the Blue Smoke and Playing out of the Deep Woods

“Larry Woiwode is an American original. His thoughts and words serve up a rich intellectual feast, causing the reader at times to raise an eyebrow in uncertainty, at times to smile with pleasure, and always to feel rewarded.”
Philip Yancey, author, What's So Amazing About Grace?; editor, Christianity Today; editorial board co-chair, Books and Culture

“A pilgrimage of power and delight: beginning with an intellect as brilliant and widespread as a prairie nighttime sky, to a spirit as revelatory and pure as a child observing that same prairie's flowers. To read Woiwode is to learn, to know, to understand, and to be amazed by workmanship.”
John L. Moore, author, The Breaking of Ezra Riley, Take the Reins, and Bitter Roots

“Living up to the inventiveness of the book’s title, these essays are fireside chats with a well-known author on a range of subjects—literary criticism to cultural critique. The result is a valuable blend of information and assessment of culture and authors ranging from modern writers like John Updike and Reynolds Price to William Shakespeare (the subject of the culminating essay in the book, a small classic).”
Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College

“Woiwode’s collection of essays showcases the finest features of this great American writer: an authentic voice and point of view. Now lambent, now strident, the essays, which range from guns, Gardner, and God, to Updike and Shakespeare, evince Woiwode’s formidable critical clarity and intellectual acuity.”
Ellen Lansky, author, Golden Jeep

“Larry Woiwode is as gifted an essayist as he is a novelist, bringing something rare in today’s literary culture—intellectual engagement grounded in spirituality—to each offering in Words Made Fresh. As with his outstanding fiction, these reflections on literature and culture are not only refreshing but deeply rewarding.”
Charles Johnson, award-winning author, Middle Passage; Professor Emeritus of English, University of Washington

“An ideal essay collection is one that makes me feel as if I should sit down in a book-lined den and read at leisure. That’s what Woiwode accomplishes here as he breaks the bread and pours the wine of favorite books, authors, and challenging ideas, all of it informed by a deep respect for humans and the God who created them. Reading through this collection I couldn’t help but delight in the quality of the mind behind the vigorous prose and the unfolding transformation of my understanding.”
Albert Haley, writer in residence, Abilene Christian University; author, Home Ground: Stories of Two Families and the Land

“Mark me among those who admire just about everything Larry Woiwode touches with his pen. Few American writers achieve the elegance he does with nearly every sentence. Whether story or essay, the music in his prose is a joy, a wonder, a gift of grace. Words Made Fresh is as refreshing as it is insightful, and Woiwode’s critiques of Berry, of Gardner, Updike, and others are as thoughtful and precise as we would expect from a writer so greatly gifted.”
Jim Schaap, Professor of English, Dordt College

“A kaleidoscopic and fascinating commentary on literary things, much of it over my head, but now and again touching my heart.”
G. I. Williamson, retired minister, Orthodox Presbyterian Church; author, Westminster Confession of Faith: For Study Classes

“Great writing is greatest when its weft and warp are inseparable, when what is being said weaves so tightly into how it is said that new meanings are brought forth, and whole tapestried landscapes are suddenly apprehended. Words Made Fresh, in its omnivorous density, in its evenhandedness that reveals a lapidary perspective, in its moral engagement and in its fuerte of feeling, is great writing at its greatest.”
Lynn Stegner, Lecturer in Continuing Studies, Stanford University; author, Because a Fire Was in My Head

“This absorbing collection of essays presents Woiwode at his most insightful and most provocative. Woiwode provides astute analysis and sensitive observations, linking personal narrative with commentary on the Word and its connections with and disconnections from contemporary culture. He is not only one of our finest novelists, Woiwode also offers a strong Christian aesthetic and a cultural savvy that is penetrating and wise.”
Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies, Wheaton College

“A magnificent crunch of words to their essence. Woiwode at his best. A true great American writer.”
Timothy Strong, bookseller, The Birchbark Bookshop, Potsdam, New York

“An urgently important chance to understand the beliefs of a great American writer.”
Thomas McGuane, author, Ninety-Two in the Shade

“Larry Woiwode’s prose is so piercing and precise, so concrete and muscular, that I would read his reflections on the price of potatoes. In an era when words have become weapons or commodities, Woiwode reminds us that they can still become flesh and blood, full of grace and truth.”
Gregory Wolfe, editor, Image; author, Beauty Will Save the World

“Reading these essays brought back a wonderful year spent in Finland, much of it with Mickelsson’s Ghosts, a book I loved but hadn’t had a way to think about until now. I felt the same returning to Updike, someone I’ve taught, but not with this sort of precision and sympathy and wariness. This is what writing looks like from the inside. Woiwode and the writers he focuses on feel God’s presence like a steady pressure, all but taking the breath away. They show us what it’s like to respond to that pressure—in time, in a body, here on this earth.”
Thomas Gardner, Professor of English, Virginia Tech; author, A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson

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