Reviews for Writing from the Center


Book News Reviews
The new-agey text on the dust jacket nearly obscures the fact that these essays are elegant, thoughtful, and utterly engaging. Sanders just won the big, fat 1995 Lannan Literary Award, thereby joining the ranks of Wendell Berry, Barry Lopez, and others. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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Choice Reviews 1996 February
This volume is an important addition to the growing body of texts, both autobiographical and critical, that make up the new Midwestern regionalism. In the same vein as Kathleen Norris's Dakota (1993), Richard Rhodes's The Inland Ground (1970), and Marilyn Coffey's Great Plans Patchwork (1989), the present volume uses personal history as a vehicle to probe the Midwestern sense of place and cultural ethos--and conversely, to explore the ways the US heartland shapes the person. This is regionalism at its best: a literate, lyrical, self-conscious journey to find what is discrete and distinctive about life in the nation's middle border. In a series of 12 interlinking essays, Sanders uses the concept of centeredness to discuss a range of subjects spanning ancestral history and marital life, landscape and ecology, work and faith, community and selfhood, and ultimately to rediscover his Ohio roots in his contemporary Indiana home. The book eludes easy categorization--part memoir, part poetic rumination, part academic discourse--but its success lies in this very medley of forms. Especially recommended for general readers and libraries with collections in regionalism, cultural geography, environmental literature, and local history. Copyright 1999 American Library Association

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Library Journal Reviews 1995 September
In this collection of 12 essays, Sanders (English, Indiana Univ.) writes about family, community, the natural world, the Midwest, the art of writing, academia, and his own life. Sanders has published nonfiction, fiction, and children's works to some acclaim; he writes, he says, to glimpse the condition of wholeness that occurs when individuals are not separate from their fellow beings and communities are one with the natural world. "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 homeground." Consequently, he finds himself baking bread or canoeing with his daughter. Some of his essays have been published previously; they sometimes overlap or fail to acknowledge each other, but they are essays of substance and beauty, and they belong beside the work of Annie Dillard, Samuel Pickering, and Wendell Berry. For both academic and public library collections.?Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C. Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1995 August #3
In his latest collection of carefully crafted essays, Sanders, an author (Staying Put) and a professor of English at Indiana State Univ., reflects on the sense of belonging he has found while raising his family in the Midwest, and on his career as a writer. He eloquently expresses his love of the land and the responsibility he feels for preventing further erosion of our natural resources, including a description of a canoe trip he took with his daughter into northern Minnesota. The simple joys of domestic life unfold in an account of a morning spent baking bread, and he also explains how a dreaded kitchen renovation provided him and his wife with unexpected pleasure. In one informative essay, Sanders ties his feelings for the Midwest to what other writers such as Willa Cather and Sinclair Lewis have written about the area. He views writing as his chosen work, one that must be attended to daily and in solitude, and values it only insofar as it articulates his vision of community. (Oct.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 February
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, thesearch 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 inthe 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 muchhere 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 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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