Best American Essays 2001

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She has also written numerous poems collected in several volumes, at least three plays, many critical essays, and articles and reviews on various subjects while fulfilling her obligations as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, where with her husband Raymond Smith she edited the Ontario Review, which the couple has continued since moving to Princeton in 1978.

She has earned a reputation as indubitably one of our most prolific writers and very likely one of our best.

This singular collection is nothing less than a political, spiritual, and intensely personal record of America’s tumultuous modern age, as experienced by our foremost critics, commentators, activists, and artists.

Joyce Carol Oates has collected a group of works that are both intimate and important, essays that move from personal experience to larger significance without severing the connection between speaker and audience.

From Ernest Hemingway covering bullfights in Pamplona to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” these essays fit, in the words of Joyce Carol Oates, “into a kind of mobile mosaic suggest[ing] where we’ve come from, and who we are, and where we are going.” Among those whose work is included are Mark Twain, John Muir, T. Eliot, Richard Wright, Vladimir Nabokov, James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, Susan Sontag, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Joan Didion, Cynthia Ozick, Saul Bellow, Stephen Jay Gould, Edward Hoagland, and Annie Dillard.

JOYCE CAROL OATES is the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the winner of the National Book Award.She currently makes her home at the confluence of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains in the New River Valley of southwestern Virginia.This singular collection is nothing less than a political, spiritual, and intensely personal record of America's tumultuous modern age by our foremost critics, commentators, activists, and artists. Perelman • Langston Hughes • Katherine Anne Porter • Mary Mc Carthy • Rachel Carson • James Baldwin • Loren Eiseley • Eudora Welty • Donald Hall • Martin Luther King, Jr. Gass • Maxine Hong Kingston • Alice Walker • Adrienne Rich • Joan Didion • Richard Rodriguez • Gretel Ehrlich • Annie Dillard • Cynthia Ozick • William Manchester • Edward Hoagland • Stephen Jay Gould • Gerald Early • John Updike • Joyce Carol Oates • Saul Bellow An eclectic anthology of 55 essays chosen by Oates (Blonde, p.S., from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the deserts of the Southwest to the Appalachians of western Virginia.Melanie spent many seasons working in California’s Sequoia National Park, a place that first inspired her journey into nonfiction writing.Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature.Her title Give Me Your Heart made the New York Times Best seller list for 2011.Among her major works are We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls.It is impossible to spend any time bellydown on the boardwalk; face to face with that wobbly cover, and not eventually reach over and push your fingers in. From the safety of whatever boardwalks we have chosen, we linger at the edges, testing the mire with the tips of galoshes, a long stick, a hand. A swamp that to my child's mind had no depth, only white flatness, a slick surface to glide across. I lived, at that time, in a neighborhood whose northern edge abutted a small swamp. I remember the icy hummocks we used as hassocks, half-sitting, half-leaning against them when we bent over to tie our skates on, the still, shallow water solidly frozen and skimmed with white, the swamp edges solid as playground benches. I scratched mosquito bites until they bled and walked around all summer, lifting the hard crusty edges of scabs, the way I might have lifted manhole covers in a city street. I loved imagining my shins dotted with shallow ponds the size of lentils, complete with sedgy fringes and the chorus of spring peepers, the possibility of lowering myself into a labyrinth.


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