Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I've been reading books from Graywolf Press's "The Art Of" Series, edited by Charles Baxter. The three I've read so far are outstanding and from flipping through the others I have they also look really good.

The series was created in part to "restore the art of criticism while illuminating the art of writing" (quote from the back of Mark Doty's book). I am convinced that attention to literary criticism is one of the best ways of improving in the art/ craft of writing.

The first series book I read is Charles Baxter's Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction. Definitely outstanding. Then I read Baxter's The Art of Subtext, also outstanding. I'll be re-reading these two. Last week I finished Mark Doty's The Art of Description: World into Word (2010). It, too, is outstanding and I'll likely be revisiting it as well.

Next I'll begin Robert Boswell's The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction (2008). Then I'll read The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song by Ellen Bryant Voigt (2009).

One day soon I hope to get other books in The Art Of series.

This particular project drafts an important author on the craft of writing and each book in the series examines a "singular, but often assumed or neglected, issue facing the contemporary writer of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry."

You might want to look into "The Art Of Series from Graywolf Press, too. I can always tell how much I've gained from any particular book by the number of underlines, stars, bent pages, and/ or highlighted passages I have in the book. I have many such reminder markings in this outstanding series. (The books I love have no resale value-- I mark them up too much.)

See more at about the books in the series at http://www.graywolfpress.org/ (Check under Creative Writing.)

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At 6:18 PM, Blogger Trisha said...

Hmmkay, they do sound like very good and useful reads for any writer! Thanks for the tip!

At 3:05 AM, Anonymous Somerset wedding gal said...

I greatly admire Baxter and read his work avidly - so nice to see him recommended! But somehow never heard of Mark Doty before, so will definitely look him up now :)


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