Letters to Kate

Author: Carl H. Klaus
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587296691
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Sorrow is “not a state but a process” that needs “not a map but a history. . . . There is something new to be chronicled every day,” writes C. S. Lewis in A Grief Observed. When Carl Klaus's wife of thirty-five years died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage, right before Thanksgiving in 2002, he took the only road toward recovery that made sense to him: he started writing letters to her, producing a unique history of grief, solace, and love. His vivid and thoughtful letters will resonate with everyone whose loss confronts them with emotional, psychological, and philosophical questions for which there are no easy answers. During his first year without Kate, Carl writes himself into the life that comes after the life he loved. From days of grief in the darkness of a midwestern winter, to springtime, with a return to life in the garden and a memorial service for Kate on a sunny afternoon, to fall, with a pilgrimage to their favorite vacation spot in Hawaii, Carl documents his year-long experience of remembering, meditating, and evolving a new life. Individually his letters provide the insights of a master diarist; collectively, they have the arc of a master essayist. Recording the full range of mourning from intense shock to moments of exceptional affirmation, Klaus's stories and reflections on loss bear witness to universal truths about the first and most significant year of mourning.

My Vegetable Love

Author: Carl H. Klaus
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 0544343522
Format: PDF, Docs
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“Home gardeners, cooks and nature lovers will savor this delightful account” of a journey from first spring planting to final fall harvest (Publishers Weekly). My Vegetable Love is a daily record of a growing season in Iowa—but it’s about much more than planting peppers, tending tomatoes, or harvesting eggplants. It’s about all the things that influence this gardener: the weather, the neighborhood, his wife’s possibly recurring cancer, the changing nature of the academic community. It’s about the last months of his twenty-year-old cat, about his dog, and about all the other humans and animals in his gardening world. And about his family: the aunts and uncles who cared for and fed a six-year-old orphan, and helped him understand that good food was a way of knowing that someone cared. In all the gardens he has tended, the dills he has pickled, and the dinners he has cooked, Carl H. Klaus has tried to carry on that tradition and pass it on to his own children—and in this “delectable” book, he shares it with us as well (Publishers Weekly). “Part Gilbert White, part Henry David Thoreau, this chronicle of an Iowa gardener’s year has drawn from the heartland a calm, compassionate harvest.” —Roger B. Swain, host of PBS’s Victory Garden “Wholeheartedly celebrates friendship, love, pets, the elements of family, academia, cooking, eating—and of course, gardening . . . Bon appétit—and good reading.” —Smithsonian

Life After Life

Author: Kate Atkinson
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
ISBN: 0316230804
Format: PDF, ePub
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What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.

A Self Made of Words

Author: Carl H. Klaus
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1609382145
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Confident or fretful, solemn or sassy, tough or tender, casual or formal: the self you project in writing—your persona—is the byproduct of numerous decisions you make about what to say and how to say it. Though any single word or phrase or sentence might make little difference within the scope of an entire essay or book, collectively they create an impression of who you are or seem to be—an impression that’s sure to influence how readers respond to your work. Thus it’s essential to take charge of how you come across on the page, to craft an appropriate persona for whatever you’re writing, whether it’s a personal essay, a blog, a technical report, a letter to the editor, or a memoir. In this wise and ingenious little guide, noted essayist Carl Klaus shows you how to adapt your self to the needs of such varied nonfiction, by varying his own persona to illustrate the distinctive effect produced by each aspect and element of writing. Klaus divides his book into two parts: first, an introduction to the nature and function of a persona, then a survey of the most important elements of writing that contribute to the character of a persona, from point of view and organization to diction and sentence structure. Both parts contain exercises that will give you practice in developing a persona of your choice. Challenging and stimulating, each of his exercises focuses on a distinctly different aspect of composition and style, so as to help you develop the skills of a versatile and personable writer. By focusing on the most important ways of projecting your self in nonfiction prose, you can learn to craft a distinctive self in your writing.

The Made Up Self

Author: Carl H. Klaus
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 9781587299469
Format: PDF
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The human presence that animates the personal essay is surely one of the most beguiling of literary phenomena, for it comes across in so familiar a voice that it’s easy to believe we are listening to the author rather than a textual stand-in. But the “person” in a personal essay is always a written construct, a fabricated character, its confessions and reminiscences as rehearsed as those of any novelist. In this first book-length study of the personal essay, Carl Klaus unpacks this made-up self and the manifold ways in which a wide range of essayists and essays have brought it to life. By reconceiving the most fundamental aspect of the personal essay—the I of the essayist—Klaus demonstrates that this seemingly uncontrived form of writing is inherently problematic, not willfully devious but bordering upon the world of fiction. He develops this key idea by explaining how structure, style, and voice determine the nature of a persona and our perception of it in the works of such essayists as Michel de Montaigne, Charles Lamb, E. B. White, and Virginia Woolf. Realizing that this persona is shaped by the force of culture and the impress of personal experience, he explores the effects of both upon the point of view, content, and voice of such essayists as George Orwell, Nancy Mairs, Richard Rodriguez, and Alice Walker. Throughout, in full command of the history of the essay, he calls up numerous passages in which essayists themselves acknowledge the element of impersonation in their work, drawing upon the perspectives of Joan Didion, Edward Hoagland, Joyce Carol Oates, Leslie Marmon Silko, Scott Russell Sanders, Annie Dillard, Vivian Gornick, Loren Eiseley, James Baldwin, and a host of other literary guides. Finally, adding yet another layer to the made-up self, Klaus succumbs to his addiction to the personal essay by placing some of the different selves that various essayists have called forth in him within the essays that he has crafted so carefully for this book. Making his way from one essay to the next with a persona variously learned, whimsical, and poignant, he enacts the palimpsest of ways in which the made-up self comes to life in the work of a single essayist. Thus over the course of this highly original, beautifully structured study, the personal essay is revealed to be more complex than many readers have supposed. With its lively analyses and illuminating examples, The Made-Up Self will speak to anyone who wishes to understand—or to write—personal essays.

Grammar Lessons

Author: Michele Morano
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587297450
Format: PDF, Docs
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In the thirteen personal essays in Grammar Lessons, Michele Morano connects the rules of grammar to the stories we tell to help us understand our worlds. Living and traveling in Spain during a year of teaching English to university students, she learned to translate and interpret her past and present worlds—to study the surprising moments of communication—as a way to make sense of language and meaning, longing and memory. Morano focuses first on her year of living in Oviedo, in the early 1990s, a time spent immersing herself in a new culture and language while working through the relationship she had left behind with an emotionally dependent and suicidal man. Next, after subsequent trips to Spain, she explores the ways that travel sparks us to reconsider our personal histories in the context of larger historical legacies. Finally, she turns to the aftereffects of travel, to the constant negotiations involved in retelling and understanding the stories of our lives. Throughout she details one woman’s journey through vocabulary and verb tense toward a greater sense of her place in the world. Grammar Lessons illustrates the difficulty and delight, humor and humility of living in a new language and of carrying that pivotal experience forward. Michele Morano’s beautifully constructed essays reveal the many grammars and many voices that we collect, and learn from, as we travel.

In Earshot of Water

Author: Paul Lindholdt
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587299852
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Whether the subject is the plants that grow there, the animals that live there, the rivers that run there, or the people he has known there, Paul Lindholdt’s In Earshot of Water illuminates the Pacific Northwest in vivid detail. Lindholdt writes with the precision of a naturalist, the critical eye of an ecologist, the affection of an apologist, and the self-revelation and self-awareness of a personal essayist in the manner of Annie Dillard, Loren Eiseley, Derrick Jensen, John McPhee, Robert Michael Pyle, and Kathleen Dean Moore. Exploring both the literal and literary sense of place, with particular emphasis on environmental issues and politics in the far Northwest, Lindholdt weds passages from the journals of Lewis and Clark, the log of Captain James Cook, the novelized memoir of Theodore Winthrop, and Bureau of Reclamation records growing from the paintings that the agency commissioned to publicize its dams in the 1960s and 1970s, to tell ecological and personal histories of the region he knows and loves. In Lindholdt’s beautiful prose, America’s environmental legacies—those inherited from his blood relatives as well as those from the influences of mass culture—and illuminations of the hazards of neglecting nature’s warning signs blur and merge and reemerge in new forms. Themes of fathers and sons layer the book, as well—the narrator as father and as son—interwoven with a call to responsible social activism with appeals to reason and emotion. Like water itself, In Earshot of Water cascades across boundaries and blends genres, at once learned and literary.

Little Big World

Author: Jeffrey Hammond
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587299437
Format: PDF
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Jeffrey Hammond’s Little Big World: Collecting Louis Marx and the American Fifties is the story of a middle-aged man’s sudden compulsion to collect the toys of his childhood: specifically themed playsets produced by the Louis Marx Toy Company. Hammond never made a conscious decision to become a collector of any kind, so he was surprised when his occasional visits to web sites turned into hours spent gazing at, and then impulsively purchasing, the tiny plastic people and animals in the Civil War set, the Fort Apache set, Roy Rogers Ranch, and Happi-Time Farm—just a few of the dozens of playsets the Marx Company produced. Hammond interweaves childhood memories with reflections on what they reveal about the culture and values of cold war America, offering an extended meditation on toys as powerful catalysts for the imagination of both children and adults. Never sentimentalizing his childhood in an effort to get his old toys back, Hammond exposes the dangers of nostalgia by casting an unsettling light on the culture of the fifties and the era’s lasting impact on those who grew up in it. Writing in a lovably quirky voice, Hammond not only attempts to understand his personal connection to the Marx toys but also examines the psychology of his fellow eBay denizens. In this warm, funny, and contemplative work, the reader encounters an online community of serious adult collectors who, as the author suspects, are driven to obsession by middle-aged nostalgia. When Hammond questions this preoccupation with the past, he comes to realize that his own collecting has prevented him from moving forward. With this insight, he offers an insider’s take on the culture and psychology of collecting.

Dream Not of Other Worlds

Author: Huston Diehl
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587297167
Format: PDF
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When Huston Diehl began teaching a fourth-grade class in a "Negro" elementary school in rural Louisa County, Virginia, the school’s white superintendent assured her that he didn't expect her to teach "those children" anything. She soon discovered how these low expectations, widely shared by the white community, impeded her students' ability to learn. With its overcrowded classrooms, poorly trained teachers, empty bookshelves, and meager supplies, her segregated school was vastly inferior to the county's white elementary schools, and the message it sent her students was clear: "dream not of other worlds." In her often lyrical memoir, Diehl reveals how, in the intimacy of the classroom, her students reached out to her, a young white northerner, and shared their fears, anxieties, and personal beliefs. Repeatedly surprised and challenged by her students, Diehl questions her long-standing middle-class assumptions and confronts her own prejudices. In doing so, she eloquently reflects on what the students taught her about the hurt of bigotry and the humiliation of poverty as well as dignity, courage, and resiliency. Set in the waning days of the Jim Crow South, Dream Not of Other Worlds chronicles an important moment in American history. Diehl examines the history of black education in the South and narrates the dramatic struggle to integrate Virginia's public schools. Meeting with some of her former students and colleagues and visiting the school where she once taught, she considers what has--and has not--changed after more than thirty years of integrated schooling. This provocative book raises many issues that are of urgent concern today: the continuing social consequences of segregated schools, the role of public education in American society, and the challenges of educating minority and poor children.

Weathering Winter

Author: Carl H. Klaus
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587291266
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In winter, when the only things growing seem to be icicles and irritability, what pleasures exist for a gardener or for anyone who lives in a northern climate? In his distinctive daybook, Weathering Winter, Carl Klaus reminds readers that the season of brown twigs and icy gales is just as much a part of the year as when tulips open, tomatoes thrive, and pumpkins color the brown earth. From the first cold snap of late December 1994 to the first outdoor planting of onion sets and radish seeds in mid-March 1995, Klaus kept track of snow falling, birds flocking, soups simmering, gardening catalogs arriving, buds swelling, and seed trays coming to life. Gardeners, lovers of the out-of-doors, and weather watchers will recognize themselves in the ways in which Klaus has come to terms with the harsh climate and chilly truths that winter embodies. His constant, careful checks on the temperature and on the geraniums overwintering in the attic, his contentment in the basil- and garlic-flavored tomato sauce he cooked up from last season's crops, and his walks with his wife in the bitter chill of starry January nights reflect the pull between indoors and out, the contrast between the beauty and the cruelty of the season.