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Writing from the Center [Paperback]

Scott Russell Sanders

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Book Description

July 1 1997 0253211433 978-0253211439 New edition

"... essays of substance and beauty, and they belong beside the work of Annie Dillard, Samuel Pickering, and Wendell Berry." —Library Journal

"[Sanders] eloquently expresses his love of the land and the responsibility he feels for preventing further erosion of our natural resources... " —Publishers Weekly

"Skillfully written in a clear, unmannered style refreshingly devoid of irony and hollow cleverness, the author starts with everyday experiences and gleans from them larger truths." —The Christian Science Monitor

"[These] essays are so good one is tempted to stand up and applaud after reading them.... Sanders is a modern day prospector who finds gems of spiritual meaning in both familiar and unusual places." —Body Mind Spirit

Writing from the Center is about one very fine writer’s quest for a meaningful and moral life. Lannan Literary Award winner Scott Sanders (Secrets of the Universe, Staying Put, A Paradise of Bombs) seeks and describes a center that is geographical, emotional, artistic, and spiritual—and is rooted in place. The geography is midwestern, the impulses are universal.

"The earth needs fewer tourists and more inhabitants, it seems to me—fewer people who float about in bubbles of money and more people committed to knowing and tending their home ground." —Scott Russell Sanders, from the book

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Exile is a romantic notion for many American writers; those who don't make it to Paris or Tokyo gravitate to New York or Los Angeles, as if pulled by some sort of undertow to the country's edge. Scott Russell Sanders spent some time abroad, but he found that he answered less to the lure of foreign soil than the gentle tug of his native Midwest. Just as Sanders is nourished by living in the landscape that he most considers home, so is the reader nourished by the writing that grows out of that experience. "Any landscape is made up of particulars--sweet ferns and wheatstacks, this creek and that meadow," writes Sanders, "and writers who imagine the land with most authority honor the details." Sanders honors the details, whether pondering a canoe trip with his daughter, a kitchen renovation, or the place of the writer in the academy, and his authority is evident from the book's first page. It is with great pleasure that one reads these 12 evocative essays, which somehow manage to detail the devastation we humans wreak on nature and on one another and yet still affirms all that is good about home, the land, community, and honest hard work. For Sanders's father, that work involved carpentry and farming; Sanders's trade is writing, and he sees it as no more or less grueling than such manual labor. "Writing is work, and it can leave you gray with exhaustion, can devour your days, can break your heart," he writes. "But the same is true of all the real work that humans do, the planting of crops and nursing of babies, the building of houses and baking of bread." --Jane Steinberg

From School Library Journal

YA?The essays in this collection can stand alone, but together they complete the picture of a self-described writer of place whose place is the Midwest. Sanders's themes include "...our place in nature, our murderous and ingenious technology, the possibilities of community, love and strife within families, the search for a spiritual ground." At the same time, the author offers 12 examples of clear, concise, lyrical writing. In the essay "Voyageurs," a father and daughter paddle a canoe together and learn more about one another as they face danger in the wilderness of northern Minnesota. YAs will find both inspiration and hard truths about creative writing as a career in essays such as "Writing from the Center," "The Writer in the University," and "Letter to a Reader." There is also much here for those interested in discovering what in the world around them is essential to their own well-being.?Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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YEARS AFTER MY father's heart quit, I keep in a wooden box on my desk the two buckeyes that were in his pocket when he died. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Landscapes and Inscapes Dec 14 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
"Although grounded in the personal, all my essays push toward the impersonal; I reflect on my own experience in hopes of illuminating the experience of others," confides the author, and yet, it is the personal sense of Scott Russell Sanders--fair minded fellow traveller--which is the chief blessing of his works. Sanders' character--vulnerable yet open, sensitive yet insistent, boldly direct yet fine minded--sets the ultimate human value of his work. Reading Sanders is like walking with him down a Midwestern street, out of town, along a path through a wilderness that brings you back home safe and more sane, and that is why his books of essays A PARADISE OF BOMBS (1987), SECRETS OF THE UNIVRESE (1991), STAYING PUT (1993) have won so many awards and gathered such a large and attentive audience.
A recent winner of the Lannan Literary Award, Sanders joins such company as Wendell Berry, Barry Lopez, Edward Hoagland, and Noam Chomsky--those bioregionalist writers who deal so earnestly with living sanely in our time and place. Always deeply rooted in the Midwest--Ohio and Indiana country--Sanders nevertheless takes on large questions and universal themes, many of them dealing with what it means to write from a strong sense of place. WRITING FROM THE CENTER is perhaps his most diverse and demanding collection as he deals with questions of landscape and values, work and family, love and regret. For this reader, the family portraits ring strikingly true as they attempt to deal with the issues of living today. Sanders has always been most excellent at scoping out a subject, in leading us into the territory, and bringing us close to those truths nearest to home

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