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 does—upsetting 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. He edits DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press. Monson lives in Tucson and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona.
Craig Reinbold’s writing has appeared in many 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 2013-2016.
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.
“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