Wife Daughter Self: A Memoir in Essays

Wife Daughter Self: A Memoir in Essays


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Curiously, inventively, Beth Kephart reflects on the iterative, composite self in her new memoir-traveling to lakes and rivers, New Mexico and Mexico, the icy waters of Alaska and a hot-air balloon launch in search of understanding. She is accompanied, often, by her Salvadoran-artist husband. She spends time, a lot of time, with her widowed father. As she looks at them she ponders herself and comes to terms with the person she is still becoming. At once sweeping and intimate, Wife Daughter Self in a memoir built of interlocking essays by an acclaimed author, teacher, and critic.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942436447
Publisher: Forest Avenue Press
Publication date: 03/02/2021
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 376,857
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Beth Kephart is a National Book Award finalist, a Pew fellowship winner, an NEA grant winner, and the multi-genre author of more than thirty books that often appear on “best of” lists. She is an award-winning teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, co-founder of Juncture Workshops, and a widely published essayist and critic who has written extensively about memoir and traveled the country giving workshops. Essays have appeared in Ninth Letter, the New York Times, The Normal School, North American Review online, Salon, Catapult, Literary Hub, Creative Nonfiction, The Millions, Brevity, The Rumpus, and the Chicago Tribune. Her essay “Set Pearls in the Dark” is a Notable Essay of 2019 (Best American Essays 2020). Beth and her husband, artist William Sulit, collaborate on picture books, middle grade novels, Juncture Workshops, and a series of memoir workbooks and illustrated journals.

William Sulit is a Salvadoran-born, Yale-educated architect and visual artist. He has collaborated with his wife, Beth Kephart, on multiple book projects, including the middle-grade novels Wild Blues, Cloud Hopper, and Dr. Radway’s Sarsparilla Resolvent; the memoir Ghosts in the Garden; the corporate fable, Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business; a series of memoir workbooks; and the picture book Trini’s Big Leap. He is the co-founder, with Beth, of Juncture Workshops. Find him on Instagram at ws_studioarts.

Table of Contents


Prefatory 3

Lily Lake 5

The Short Version 12

The Longer Version 14

Paynes Gray 19

Why I Never Learned to Speak My Husband's Language 23

Double Parentheses 25

A Shelter for the Truth 31

For As Long As We Have 58


Prefatory 63

Cut the Light 64

Lessons in Soft and Hard Sounds 74

This Blue Jaunt 80

Family Resemblance 87

Break Down 91

Here If You Need Me 101

Panic Attack 112

The Weight of My Confessions 128

There Are Nice People Here 133


Prefatory 139

Clean 143

The Age of Innocence 147

Second Coming 150

Then I Am Not a Writer 161

Then Try These On for Size 162

Baby Shoes 166

The Four Times I Became a Teacher 170

The Apostrophe Wife 177

Why I Never Learned to Speak Your Language 207

Caw 208

When He Goes 211

When He Comes Back 214

Collisions 216

Ideas of Happiness 223

Fixing Beauty 228

After World 235

Acknowledgments 241

About the Author 243

Small Pieces; On the Making of Wife Daughter, Self 247

Citations 251

Credits 253

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