Alchemy of the Word

Alchemy of the Word.jpg
Alchemy of the Word.jpg

Alchemy of the Word


edited by Nicola Morris and Aimee Liu

Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk About Writing is a book like no other, from a writing program like no other. In this remarkable collection of essays, twenty-five acclaimed novelists, poets, playwrights, memoirists, cross-genre and nonfiction writers engage the reader in a virtual literary conversation, filled with passion, insight, wit, and warmth.

The Goddard MFA was the first low-residency program in creative writing; now there are around fifty operating in the United States. Program Director, Paul Selig says, “What greeted me at my first Goddard residency was the kind of community I had never dreamed possible . . . the faculty—well, they were teachers of the first order, and I found their dedication to shepherding a new generation of writers came from a place of deep generosity, wisdom and integrity.”

Alchemy of the Word introduces you to this faculty—not through their writing tips, tricks, and exercises, but through their experiences of themselves as professional writers living in the world, tackling issues they care about deeply and reporting back. To read this anthology is to travel to the wellsprings of literary inspiration, and to eavesdrop on a room full of mentors. 

Words become us. Our lives become words. So begins the introduction to this powerful collection. The essays that follow are eclectic and range from the practical to the mystical, the humorous to the scientific, and the political to the personal. The book is broken down by topic into chapters (“Composing the Wilderness”, “Originality and Influence”, “Points of View”, “Literary Activism.”) which feature work by writers like Ryan Boudinot, Deb Brevoort, Rebecca Brown, Bhanu Kapil, Michael Klein, Rachel Pollack, and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto. Throughout, each essay explores, exhorts, inspires, and exhilarates . . . illustrating in its own distinctive way the transformative power of language: the alchemy of the word.

"Whether you’re a young beginner or a veteran writer like me, you’ll get support from reading Alchemy of the Word. These authors’ thoughts are mystical and practical, political and inspiring and funny. I’ve found companions on this lonely journey."

—Maxine Hong Kingston, National Book Award Winner and author of China Men, The Woman Warrior, and Tripmaster Monkey

"Alchemy of the Word is a smart, exhilarating collection—a true literary conversation, filled with wit, heart, and insight. Every writer with the ambition to create meaningful work will treasure this book. As one author says, ‘Welcome to the club. Remember to pay your dues.’ "

—Kim Addonizio, author of What Is This Thing Called Love, Lucifer at the Starlite, and Tell Me, a finalist for the National Book Award

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