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The Muses Among Us is an inviting, encouraging book for writers at any stage of their development. In a series of first-person letters, essays, manifestos, and notes to the reader, Kim Stafford shows what might happen at the creative boundary he calls "what we almost know." On the boundary's far side is our story, our poem, our song. On this side are the resonant hunches, griefs, secrets, and confusions from which our writing will emerge. Guiding us from such glimmerings through to a finished piece are a wealth of experiments, assignments, and tricks of the trade that Stafford has perfected over thirty years of classes, workshops, and other gatherings of writers. Informing The Muses Among Us are Stafford's own convictions about writing--principles to which he returns again and again. We must, Stafford says, honor the fragments, utterances, and half-discovered truths voiced around us, for their speakers are the prophets to whom writers are scribes. Such filaments of wisdom, either by themselves or alloyed with others, give rise to our poems, stories, and essays. In addition, as Stafford writes, "all pleasure in writing begins with a sense of abundance--rich knowledge and boundless curiosity." By recommending ways for students to seek beyond the self for material, Stafford demystifies the process of writing and claims for it a Whitmanesque quality of participation and community.
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The desire to create, to write, to fulfil our artistic dreams is a powerful human need. Yet the number of people who make a living solely by their pen is actually quite small. What does that mean for the rest of us, the self-described writing geeks, who are passionate about writing and who still want to sustain successful literary lives? What does it really mean to find time to build a rewarding writing life while pursuing a career, being a partner or raising a family, in the distracted, time-deprived, 21st-century? In The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life, based on her Huffington Post blog of the same name, Stephanie Vanderslice shares the secrets and tools to developing a successful, rewarding writing practice in a way that inspires the reader to persevere through the inevitable lows and even the highs of a literary life, so that anyone can pursue the path to realizing their artistic dreams.
Theorists of Orientalism and postcolonialism argue that novelists betray political and cultural anxieties when characterizing "the Other." Shameem Black takes a different stance. Turning a fresh eye toward several key contemporary novelists, she reveals how "border-crossing" fiction represents socially diverse groups without resorting to stereotype, idealization, or other forms of imaginative constraint. Focusing on the work of J. M. Coetzee, Amitav Ghosh, Jeffrey Eugenides, Ruth Ozeki, Charles Johnson, Gish Jen, and Rupa Bajwa, Black introduces an interpretative lens that captures the ways in which these authors envision an ethics of representing social difference. They not only offer sympathetic portrayals of the lives of others but also detail the processes of imagining social difference. Whether depicting the multilingual worlds of South and Southeast Asia, the exportation of American culture abroad, or the racial tension of postapartheid South Africa, these transcultural representations explore social and political hierarchies in constructive ways. Boldly confronting the orthodoxies of recent literary criticism, Fiction Across Borders builds upon such seminal works as Edward Said's Orientalism and offers a provocative new study of the late twentieth-century novel.

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