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An American Hometown

Terre Haute, Indiana, 1927

Tom Roznowski. Foreword by Scott Russell Sanders

They lived "green" out of necessity -- walking to work, repairing everything from worn shoes to wristwatches, recycling milk bottles and packing containers. Music was largely heard live and most residential streets had shade trees. The nearby Wabash River -- a repeated subject of story and song -- transported Sunday picnickers to public parks. In the form of an old-fashioned city directory, An American Hometown celebrates a bygone American era, focusing on life in 1920s Terre Haute, Indiana. With artfully drawn biographical sketches and generously illustrated histories, noted musician, historian, and storyteller Tom Roznowski not only evokes a beauty worth remembering, but also brings to light just how many of our modern ideas of sustainable living are deeply rooted in the American tradition.

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American Husband

Life is a mystery, a puzzle, “a house of inscrutable signals,” leaving us “often stranded in the middle of a feeling.” With exquisite manipulation of language, the poems in Kary Wayson’s collection, American Husband, seek to unravel the mystery and solve the puzzle by parsing everyday experiences—observing life while lying about on the couch, on the floor, in bed and out—and everyday relationships—between the self and the mother, the self and the father, the self and the lover, the self and the self, and the self and god. English, “the telephone and the telephone book and the table with one vase and the cut rose,” is the means through which Wayson, drawing not only on her own wisdom but also on that of Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Shajahana, Mother Goose, Federico García Lorca, Edward Gorey, and others, enacts intersections between self and meaning. At each intersection, love’s loneliness forms and dissolves, expands and contracts, and then passes much like weather, or the mysterious changeable relationship between silence and words. Wayson may feel that she lives “with a desk where nothing gets done,” but with every poem she finds “some nook or cranny to plumb, some crook or nanny dumb enough to tell them what,” and another puzzle piece falls in place.

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An American in the Making

The Life Story of an Immigrant

M. E. Ravage and Edited by Steven G. Kellman

M.E. Ravage, one of almost two million Jews, was lured by tales of success to America at the turn of the twentieth century. After learning a new language and finding success in college he penned a vivid account of his own assimilation. Steven G. Kellman brings Ravage's story to life again in this new edition, providing a brief biography and historical and literary contexts. An American in the Making contributes to an understanding of the notion of "America" and remains timely, especially when massive immigration from Latin America and Asia, challenges ideas of national identity.

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American Metempsychosis

Emerson, Whitman, and the New Poetry

John Michael Corrigan

"The transmigration of souls is no fable. I would it were, but men and women are only half human." With these words, Ralph Waldo Emerson confronts a dilemma that illuminates the formation of American individualism: to evolve and become fully human requires a heightened engagement with history. Americans, Emerson argues, must realize history's chronology in themselves--because their own minds and bodies are its evolving record. Whereas scholarship has tended to minimize the mystical underpinnings of Emerson's notion of the self, his depictions of "the metempsychosis of nature" reveal deep roots in mystical traditions from Hinduism and Buddhism to Platonism and Christian esotericism. In essay after essay, Emerson uses metempsychosis as an open-ended template to understand human development. In Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman transforms Emerson's conception of metempsychotic selfhood into an expressly poetic event. His vision of transmigration viscerally celebrates the poet's ability to assume and live in other bodies; his American poet seeks to incorporate the entire nation into his own person so that he can speak for every man and woman.

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American Originals: Novellas and Stories

Tracy Daugherty

The novellas and stories in American Originals convey the power of the West Texas desert to swallow people—literally, or through the rituals of labor, or through the raptures of ecstatic vision, induced by blessings or madness—and people’s ability to forge connections in spite of extreme conditions. Each piece in this thematically-linked collection assumes a unique shape, whether poetically compressed, echoing (only to break) the contours of mystery stories, or redolent of the forms of classical prayer. The Texas of AMERICAN ORIGINALS becomes the landscape of strife and hope, struggle and love, lost and found.      

The characters in the stories and novellas here learn, sometimes the hard way, the truth of T. S. Eliot's insight that the "end of all our exploring" in life is to "arrive where we started" and to know, for the first time, who we really are. Saints and sinners, and the blurred lines between them, drive these spare narratives set in the plains and deserts of Texas.  


 

[Daugherty's fiction] "leaves us dry-eyed and wiser in that place far beyond tears that we know from our own lives."--Shelby Hearon

 

"Daugherty combines the serious and literary with the funny and offbeat, resulting in sparkle-plenty prose with an ear for dialogue that never fails."--Beverly Lowry

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American Poetry Now

Pitt Poetry Series Anthology

Ed Ochester

American Poetry Now is a comprehensive collection of the best work from the renowned Pitt Poetry Series. Since its inception in 1967, the series has been a vehicle for America's finest contemporary poets. The series list includes Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Toi Derricotte, Denise Duhamel, Lynn Emanuel, Bob Hicok, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Ted Kooser, Larry Levis, Sharon Olds, Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Virgil Suárez, Afaa Michael Weaver, David Wojahn, Dean Young, and many others.

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American Political Plays after 9/11

#REF!

Edited by Allan Havis

The incisive social themes and issues of political plays reveal clues to our national identity. American Political Plays: Post 9/11, edited by Allan Havis, celebrates political texts that are bold, urgent, and provocative. 

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American Salvage

Bonnie Jo Campbell

A lush and rowdy collection of stories set in a rural Michigan landscape, where wildlife, jobs, and ways of life are vanishing.

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The American Shore

Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme”

Samuel R. Delany

The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme” was first published in 1978 to the intense interest of science fiction readers and the growing community of SF scholars. Recalling Nabokov’s commentary on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Roland Barthes’ commentary on Balzac’s Sarazine, and Grabinier’s reading of The Heart of Hamlet, this book-length essay helped prove the genre worthy of serious investigation. The American Shore is the third in a series of influential critical works by Samuel R. Delany, beginning with The Jewel-Hinged Jaw and Starboard Wine, first published in the late seventies and reissued over the last five years by Wesleyan University Press, which helped win Delany a Pilgrim Award for Science Fiction Scholarship from the Science Fiction Research Association of America. This edition includes the author’s corrected text as well as a new introduction by Delany scholar Matthew Cheney.

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American Spikenard

2006 Iowa Poetry Prize winner

“If everyone decided to call themselves a girl / that word would stop.” In this award-winning volume of authoritative and assertive poems, Sarah Vap embarks on an emotional journey to the land of America’s female children. Questioning, contradicting, radically and restlessly demanding acceptance, she searches for a way to move from serious girlhood to womanly love. Demonstrating the seriousness of female childhood—which is as dangerous and profound as war, economics, and history, that is, as manhood, in her view—Vap reveals the extremes of self-doubt and self-righteousness inherent in being a contemporary American girl.
“When we’re overcome / by everything we think we love—then by morning / we’re adults.” Just as the oil of American spikenard may provide relief from childhood, so does Sarah Vap provide the kind of holy and extravagant love and honor that can relieve the growing pains of “everyone’s little girl.”

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