How We Speak to One Another is some of the most engaging evidence we’ve got that the essay is going strong. Here, essayists talk back to each other, to the work they love and the work that disquiets them, and to the very basic building blocks of what we understand essay” to be. What’s compiled in these pages testifies to the endless flexibility, generosity, curiosity, and audacity of essays. Even more than that, it provides the kind of pleasure any great essay collection doesupsetting our ideas and challenging the way we organize our sense of the world.
Ander Monson is the author, most recently, of Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries (Graywolf Press). He is also the author of Vanishing Point, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Neck Deep and Other Predicaments.
Craig Reinbold's writing has appeared in journals and magazines including the Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, New England Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, and Brevity. He was the managing editor of Essay Daily from 2013 to 2016.
Contributors include: Ander Monson, Marcia Aldrich, Kristen Radtke, Robin Hemley, Robert Atwan, Matt Dube, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, T. Clutch Fleischmann, Rigoberto González, Kati Standefer, Julie Lauterbach-Colby, César Diaz, Emily Deprang, Lucas Mann, Danica Novgorodoff, Bonnie J. Rough, Peter Grandbois, Albert Goldbarth, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Steven Church, Bethany Maile, David Legault, Joni Tevis, John D'Agata, Meehan Crist,Thomas Mira Y Lopez, Danielle Deulen, John T. Price, Maya L. Kapoor, Chelsea Biondolillo, Megan Kimble, Brian Doyle, Nicole Walkder, Paul Lisicky, Brian Oliu, Pam Houston, Dave Mondy, Phillip Lopate, Amy Benson, Patrick Madden, Elena Passarello, Erin Zwiener, Patricia Vigderman, and Ryan Van Meter.
* A Fat Man Story: ANDER MONSON on HL Mencken's "A Forgotten Anniversary"
* MARCIA ALDRICH on Bernard Cooper Invisible Engineering: The Fine Art of Revising: “The Fine Art of Sighing”
* MARYA HORNBACHER on What an Essay is Not
* KRISTEN RADTKE on Chris Marker's “Sans Soleil”
* Majestic Ruins: ROBIN HEMLEY on The Work of James Agee
* MARGOT SINGER on Relics, Alchemy, and Primo Levi’s “Chromium”
* ROBERT ATWAN: The Assault on Prose: John Crowe Ransom, New Criticism, and the Status of the Essay
* LUCAS MANN: On Writing Young
* MATT DUBE on Joan Didion, Repo Man, and a '76 Malibu
* MARK EHLING: “Two Clowns on Tarkovsky”
* T CLUTCH FLEISCHMANN Wants You to Read Samuel Delany
* KATI STANDEFER on the Mysterious Leslie Ryan and the Structure of a Trauma Narrative
* JULIE LAUTERBACH-COLBY on Arianne Zwartjes’ “This Suturing of Wounds and Words” and Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel’s “Cannulated Screw”
* Living Within the Ellipses: CÉSAR DIAZ on Ilan Stavans' book On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language
* SEAN LOVELACE on Augusto Monterroso's "Fecundity"
* SEAN PRENTISS on Charles Bowden's "Torch Song"
* EMILY DEPRANG on Joan Didion: On the Morning After My Twenties
* Email from BONNIE J. ROUGH
* STEVEN BARTHELME: Talent and Fifty Cents
* ALISON HAWTHORN DEMING on Julian Barnes
* STEVEN CHURCH on Tom Junod's "The Falling Man"
* BETHANY MAILE: We Sought But Couldn't Find - Coming Up Empty in David Shields' “Death is the Mother of Beauty”
* GENINE LENTINE on Michael Cunningham & the Nemesis
* Movie Quotes as Misery: DAVID LEGAULT on Claudia Rankine's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely"
* CASSANDRA KIRCHER: On E.B. White, Adoption, and Writing Hybrid Reviews
* JONI TEVIS on the Long Lyric Essay
* MICHAEL MARTONE: More or Less: the Camouflage Schemes of the Fictive Essay
* JOHN D'AGATA: The Essays of Ansel Adams: An Allegory
* MEEHAN CRIST's 10 Thoughts on Elision
* CRAIG REINBOLD: John D’Agata Breaks Rules, Windows
* NED STUCKEY-FRENCH: Time for a New Essay - Eric Walrond's "On Being Black"
* THOMAS MIRA Y LOPEZ on Donald Hall’s "Out the Window”
* JILL TALBOT on The VanMeteresque
* DANIELLE DEULEN on the Virtues of Drowning: Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water
* COLIN RAFFERTY on Sherman Alexie's “My Encounters With the Homeless People of the Pacific Northwest”
* JOHN T. PRICE: On Hoagland, Animal Obsession, and the Courage of Simile
* MAYA L. KAPOOR on Writing Trout
* CHELSEA BIONDOLILLO: On Long Winters, Short Essays, and a Sky that Stretches Forever
* MEGAN KIMBLE on Wendell Berry and Why I'm Not Going to Buy A Smartphone
* BRIAN DOYLE: It is a Shaggy World, Studded with Gardens
* PETER JAY SHIPPY: Angle On
* NICOLE WALKER on Rebecca Campbell's Thick Paint
* PAUL LISICKY on The Fugue, Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother, DFW, and the Resistance to the One Thing
* ALISO STINE on Street Art
* BRIAN OLIU on The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker
* PAM HOUSTON on Rick Reilly's "Need a Fourth" from Sports Illustrated, March 31, 1997
* DAVE MONDY on Jim Bouton
* PHILLIP LOPATE on A Little-Known Gem by Max Beerbohm
* JOY CASTRO on Margery Latimer’s “The New Freedom”: A Manifesto of the Modernist as a Young Woman
* AMY BENSON on Eliot Weinberger's "Wrens"
* WENDY RAWLINGS on Natalia Ginzburg's The Little Virtues
* PATRICK MADDEN on Charles Lamb’s “New Year’s Eve”
* ELENA PASSARELLO on the Book of Days
* PATRICIA VIGDERMAN on Alexander Stille
* RYAN VAN METER on Endings
Winner in the Anthology Category for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award
“Less a practical guide than an anthology of think pieces, How We Speak to One Another will nonetheless send nonfiction writers eagerly back to their desks. And it’s a fun read, even for nonwriters.” —Publishers Weekly
“This book clearly demonstrates the essay is alive and well, kicking and evolving, grappling with its place in literature.” —Kirkus Reviews
“How We Speak wins its argument that the essay is worthy of extended contemplation.” —Booklist
“This collection confirms what Ander Monson suggests in the introduction: each essay is one in a network of intersecting tunnels, forming a landscape of ideas and experiences about what it means to be human.” —Cleaver
“To read the collected essays here is to feel invited to a salon.” —Signature
“In veering from one [essay] to another the book, as a whole, finds its energy. The heart of these essays lies in the revelation of a preoccupation of the author through their examination of another’s text.” —Puerto Del Sol
“These writers look at the essay forty-seven ways through both words and images, following thoughts wherever they may lead. And there, Monson notes, 'sometimes something interesting happens.' In How We Speak to One Another, many interesting thoughts definitely do happen.” —Woven Tale Press
“With their shared literacies, prosaic disguises, madcap readings, and possible plagiarisms, the essays in [How We Speak to One Another] form a beguiling echo chamber.” —Brazos
“Essays react, essays entertain, essays establish, essays contradict, and essays beget—illustrations, discussions, illuminations, and of course more essays. This big collection of (of course) small or manageably sized essays about great essays offers beautiful comics and reminiscences, fake interviews and real fencing, along with approachable, step-by-step, classroom- and subway-car- friendly lit crit. And it does not just try (or ‘essay’) to do things you’ll remember, things you’ll appreciate (from introducing Samuel R. Delany to helping you write past trauma), it succeeds.” —Steph Burt