Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction

 
Also Edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone
 

The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction

 
ALSO BY LEX WILLIFORD
 

Macauley’s Thumb

 
ALSO BY MICHAEL MARTONE
 

Michael Martone: Fictions

 

Unconventions

 

The Flatness and Other Landscapes

 

The Blue Guide to Indiana

 

Seeing Eye: Stories

 

Pensées

 

Fort Wayne Is Seventh on Hitler’s List

 
 

Touchstone
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

 

Copyright © 2007 by Lex Williford and Michael Martone

 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsover. For information address Touchstone Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

 

continuation of the copyright page.

 

TOUCHSTONE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

 

Designed by Mary Austin Speaker

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Touchstone anthology of contemporary creative nonfiction : work from 1970 to the present / [edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone].
      p. cm.
    “A Touchstone Book.”
    1. American essays — 20th century. 2. American essays — 21st century. 3. Reportage literature, American. 4. English essays — 20th century. 5. English essays — 21st century. 6. Reportage literature, English. I. Williford, Lex, 1954–. II. Martone, Michael.
PS688.T68 2007
814′.5408 — dc22

2007039255

 

ISBN-10: 1-4165-4511-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-4511-8

 

Visit us on the World Wide Web:
http://www.SimonSays.com

Acknowledgments
 

The editors would like to thank editors Cherise Davis and Meghan Stevenson for their hard work and advocacy for this anthology. Putting the anthology together took much longer than any of us expected — problems with crashed computers, software, long negotiations over authors’ permissions, and the like — and we appreciate their patience in the face of delays in fast-approaching production deadlines. We’d also like to thank Jeff Wilson, executive director of contracts at Simon & Schuster, for his calm and generous support with permissions and contracts, as well as Amit Ghosh and his terrific BorderSenses Technology team (http://bstelpaso.com) — Javier Sanchez, Ernesto Flores, and Edevaldo Orozco — who designed the website and the survey’s complex databases, administered the surveys, and then compiled all the data for simpleminded literary types who can barely add up a column of numbers.

Thanks also go to Scott Russell Sanders for his marvelous introduction and the many distinguished teaching writers who took time out of their busy summers — the only time many of them could write — to take our survey: Diana Abu-Jaber, Laurie Alberts, Marcia Aldrich, Rilla Askew, Christopher Bakken, Kim Barnes, Helen Barolini, Randolph Bates, David Borofka, Andrea Hollander Budy, Bobby Byrd, David Carkeet, Kelly Grey Carlisle, Christopher Chambers, Kelly Cherry, Rita Ciresi, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Burke Davis, Jeffrey DeLotto, Janet Desaulniers, Julie Edelson, David Galef, Albert Garcia, Gaynell Gavin, Denise Gess, Tod Goldberg, Benjamin Grossberg, Marian Haddad, J. C. Hallman, Jane Hammons, Janet Heller, Richard Hoffman, Noy Holland, Sonya Huber, T. R. Hummer, Laura Kasischke, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Wayne Koestenbaum, Martin Lammon, David Leavitt, Sara Levine, Paul Lisicky, Elizabeth Macklin, Lee Martin, Richard McCann, Thomas McConnell, Margaret McMullan, Gregory McNamee, Bart Midwood, Kathleen Volk Miller, Kyle Minor, Roger Mitchell, Dinty W. Moore, Patricia Murphy, James Nolan, Judith Pascoe, Joe Ashby Porter, Lynn Powell, Lia Purpura, Keith Ratzlaff, John Repp, Kathryn Rhett, Natania Rosenfeld, Margaret Rozga, Andrew Schelling, Marc Sheehan, Sue Silverman, Linda Simone, Floyd Skloot, Ron Smith, Angela Sorby, David St. John, Maureen Stanton, Martin Steingesser, Judith Strasser, Pia Taavila, David Taylor, Richard Terrill, Jessica Treat, Lee Upton, Martha Vertreace-Doody, G. C. Waldrep, Charlotte Walker, Gabriel Welsch, Tom Whalen, Laurance Wieder, Chris Willerton, Paul Winner, and Mark Wunderlich.

Lucky for us, work by many of these same distinguished writers also appears in this anthology, not because they nominated their own work or had friends nominate it for them but because their work is powerful and important.

Without these and other authors, such an anthology as this would never have been possible. Although permissions costs have doubled and even tripled over the last decade, authors, their agents, and their publishers were willing to receive the same low permissions fee to keep the cost of this anthology affordable. We thank them all.

For interested writers who have published at least three essays in nationally distributed literary magazines, please email [email protected], and we’ll add your name to our database so you may participate in surveys for any future editions.

Contents
 
 

Foreword

 

Introduction
by Scott Russell Sanders

 

Jo Ann Beard
The Fourth State of Matter

 

Wendell Berry
Getting Along with Nature

 

Eula Biss
The Pain Scale

 

Mary Clearman Blew
The Unwanted Child

 

Charles Bowden
Torch Song

 

Janet Burroway
Embalming Mom

 

Kelly Grey Carlisle
Physical Evidence

 

Anne Carson
The Glass Essay

 

Bernard Cooper
Burl’s

 

Michael W.Cox
Visitor

 

Annie Dillard
Living Like Weasels

 

Mark Doty
Return to Sender

 

Brian Doyle
Leap

 

Tony Earley
Somehow Form a Family

 

Anthony Farrington
Kissing

 

Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
The Beautiful City of Tirzah

 

Diane Glancy
Sun Dance

 

Lucy Grealy
Mirrorings

 

William Harrison
Present Tense Africa

 

Robin Hemley
Reading History to My Mother

 

Adam Hochschild
World on a Hilltop

 

Jamaica Kincaid
A Small Place

 

Barbara Kingsolver
High Tide in Tucson

 

Ted Kooser
Small Rooms in Time

 

Sara Levine
The Essayist is Sorry for Your Loss

 

E.J. Levy
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

 

Phillip Lopate
Portrait of My Body

 

Barry Lopez
Flight

 

Thomas Lynch
The Undertaking

 

Lee Martin
Sorry

 

Rebecca Mcclanahan
Interstellar

 

Erin Mcgraw
Bad Eyes

 

John Mcphee
The Search for Marvin Gardens

 

Brenda Miller
The Date

 

Dinty W. Moore
Son of Mr. Green Jeans

 

Kathleen Norris
Celibate Passion

 

Naomi Shihab Nye
This is Not Who We Are

 

Lia Purpura
Autopsy Report

 

Richard Rhodes
Watching the Animals

 

Bill Roorbach
Shitdiggers, Mudflats, and the Worm Men of Maine

 

David Sedaris
Repeat After Me

 

Richard Selzer
Imelda

 

Sue William Silverman
The Pat Boone Fan Club

 

Floyd Skloot
A Measure of Acceptance

 

Lauren Slater
Black Swans

 

Cheryl Strayed
The Love of My Life

 

Amy Tan
Mother Tongue

 

Ryan Van Meter
If You Knew Then What I Know Now

 

David Foster Wallace
Consider the Lobster

 

Joy Williams
Hawk

 

Credits

Foreword

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