Writing the World
Kelly Cherry
176 pages
6 x 9
1995

Formats available:
Hardcover   $27.00 SH
ISBN: 978-0-8262-0992-4

About the Book

In a series of passionate, profound, often humorous, observations, Kelly Cherry explores the art of writing, its relationship to place, and its importance in our lives.

"I have never written a 'travel essay,'" Cherry says, but her travels inform her poetry and fiction. Now, seeking to understand what it means to write from any particular place, she charts a course in creative nonfiction prose. From Cleveland to Yalta, Wisconsin to Latvia, England to the Arizona desert or the Philippines, she writes as a way of knowing the world.

Along the way we become acquainted with the author herself, whose parents were string quartet violinists. They didn't go to church and, caught up in a rehearsal, sometimes forgot to put dinner on the table, but there was always music in the house (or the tenement flat). Cherry recalls warmly the stories of her childhood: "I don't know whether or not there's a God," her mother would say, "but I know there was a Beethoven, and that's good enough for me."

And always there was writing. As young writers do, Cherry earned her living at a variety of jobs--creating fictional histories of overseas orphans for their U.S. sponsors; editing and writing religious textbooks; a stint as a visiting professor in southwest Minnesota, where, in order to live in the dormitory, the only housing practicable for someone without a car, she had to enroll simultaneously as a student (she took astronomy). And in the evenings, the mornings, and other stolen moments, she wrote--as she does now--to create beauty from a specific kind of knowledge, the knowledge we acquire by creating beauty.

Cherry explores what it means to be a Southern writer and a woman writer, and discusses the changing face of the profession of writing. "To be a writer in America is to be marginal," she notes, adding that perhaps the best place for a serious writer to reside is "on the edge, outside looking in."

You seek to know what it means to be living where you are, and that search is, for a writer, a searching out of language. That quest is, for a writer, a questioning. For a writer, beauty and knowledge begin in the same place.

With its brilliant insights and beautiful language, Writing the World is an eloquent meditation on what it means to be a writer. Like Annie Dillard's The Writing Life and Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings, Cherry's Writing the World will be a lasting inspiration for anyone who has ever dreamed of being a writer.


Authors/Editors

Kelly Cherry is the author of more than a dozen books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, including the critically acclaimed memoir The Exiled Heart. Her fiction has been represented in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and The Pushcart Prize. For her poetry, she has received the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and she writes wherever she is.


Reviews

Words will take you anywhere. . . . That's the exhilaration of it--all those stories and poems out there, just waiting to be discovered.



Awards

The Council for Wisconsin Writers Lynde and Harry Bradley Major Achievement Award for 2000The Award for a Distinguished Volume of Short Stories Published in 1999

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