Best American Essays 2001

Best American Essays 2001-10
S., from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the deserts of the Southwest to the Appalachians of western Virginia.

S., from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the deserts of the Southwest to the Appalachians of western Virginia.Melanie spent many seasons working in California’s Sequoia National Park, a place that first inspired her journey into nonfiction writing.

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She has also written numerous poems collected in several volumes, at least three plays, many critical essays, and articles and reviews on various subjects while fulfilling her obligations as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, where with her husband Raymond Smith she edited the Ontario Review, which the couple has continued since moving to Princeton in 1978.

She has earned a reputation as indubitably one of our most prolific writers and very likely one of our best.

Her first six novels, including Them (1969), which won the National Book Award, express these qualities in varying ways.

she is also the recipient of an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Lifetime Achievement Award, and the F.

I lived, at that time, in a neighborhood whose northern edge abutted a small swamp. I remember the icy hummocks we used as hassocks, half-sitting, half-leaning against them when we bent over to tie our skates on, the still, shallow water solidly frozen and skimmed with white, the swamp edges solid as playground benches.

I scratched mosquito bites until they bled and walked around all summer, lifting the hard crusty edges of scabs, the way I might have lifted manhole covers in a city street. I loved imagining my shins dotted with shallow ponds the size of lentils, complete with sedgy fringes and the chorus of spring peepers, the possibility of lowering myself into a labyrinth.

Her fiction alone demonstrates considerable variety, ranging from direct naturalism to complex experiments in form.

However, what chiefly makes her work her own is a quality of psychological realism, an uncanny ability to bring to the surface an underlying sense of foreboding or a threat of violence that seems to lurk just around the corner from the everyday domestic lives she depicts so realistically.

Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Bayou Magazine, Fourth Genre, and Flyway, and has been included in the anthologies American Nature Writing; Figuring Animals: Essays on Animal Images in Art, Literature, Philosophy, & Popular Culture; Between Song and Story: Essays for the Twenty-First Century; and Permanent Vacation: Twenty Writers on Work and Life In Our National Parks.

Her work has also earned her notable mention in Best American Essays and an AWP Intro Award.

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