Jane Cooper For her five volumes of poetry over the course of her career, Jane Cooper (1924–2007) was deeply admired by her contemporaries, and teaching at Sarah Lawrence College for nearly forty years, she served as a mentor to many aspiring poets. Her elegant, honest, and emotionally and formally precise poems, often addressing the challenges of women’s lives—especially the lives of women in the arts—continue to resonate with a new generation of readers.
A Radiance of Attention
by Martha Collins and Celia Bland
Martha Collins and Celia Bland bring together several decades’ worth of essential writing on Cooper’s poetry. While some pieces offer close examination of Cooper’s process or thoughtful consideration of the craft of a single poem, the volume also features reviews of her collections, including a previously unpublished piece on her first book, The Weather of Six Mornings (1969), by James Wright, a lifelong champion of her work. Marie Howe, Jan Heller Levi, and Thomas Lux, among others, share personal remembrances of Cooper as a teacher, colleague, and inspiration. L. R. Berger’s moving tribute to Cooper’s final days closes the volume. This book has much to offer for both readers who already love Cooper’s work and new readers, especially among younger poets, just discovering her enduring poems.
“[T]he range of mood of [Jane Cooper’s] poetry is very great; its voice is unusually intimate; and the poems seem intent on articulating the full truth, however complex— resulting sometimes in scalp-crawling moments when it seems the poet has gone beyond what is possible to say, to walk out ahead of knowing.”
Martha Collins founded the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, and for ten years was Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Night Unto Night (2018).
Celia Bland is Associate Director of the Bard College Institute for Writing & Thinking. She is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Cherokee Road Kill, with illustrations by Kyoko Miyabe (2018).
Imprint: University of Michigan Press (March 29, 2019)
Paperback Price: $29.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-472-03741-4
Ebook Price: $29.95
The American Essay and the Future of Writing Studies
by Nicole B. Wallack
“A brilliant and often beautiful book. The writing is gorgeous, the readings of the essays perceptive, and the central argument of the book seems to me so completely and utterly correct that I found myself wondering why this book had not been written before.”
—John Duffy, University of Notre Dame
"An important contribution to literary studies, composition, and the burgeoning field of essay studies. . . . Crafting Presence deftly and confidently straddles all these."
—Ned Stuckey-French, Florida State University
"[O]ne of the best recent books on how professors, students, and essayists should read, critique, and write the essay . . . This book is a must read for anyone attempting to change the current dynamic. . . . Highly recommended."
Essays are central to students’ and teachers’ development as thinkers in their fields. In Crafting Presence, Nicole B. Wallack develops an approach to teaching writing with the literary essay that holds promise for writing students, as well as for achieving a sense of common purpose currently lacking among professionals in composition, creative writing, and literature.
Wallack analyzes examples drawn primarily from volumes of The Best American Essays to illuminate the most important quality of the essay as a literary form: the writer’s “presence.” She demonstrates how accounting for presence provides a flexible and rigorous heuristic for reading the contexts, formal elements, and purposes of essays. Such readings can help students learn writing principles, practices, and skills for crafting myriad presences rather than a single voice.
Crafting Presence holds serious implications for writing pedagogy by providing new methods to help teachers and students become more insightful and confident readers and writers of essays. At a time when liberal arts education faces significant challenges, this important contribution to literary studies, composition, and creative writing shows how an essay-centered curriculum empowers students to show up in the world as public thinkers who must shape the “knowledge economy” of the twenty-first century.
Nicole B. Wallack is senior lecturer in discipline in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and director of the Undergraduate Writing Program at Columbia University. As a senior associate of the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College, she leads writing-across-the-curriculum workshops for high schools and colleges around the country.
Imprint: Utah State University Press
Paperback Price: $29.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-534-5
Ebook Price: $24.95
30-day ebook rental price: $12.50