Distance and Direction

Essays by Judith Kitchen

September 1, 2001 • 5 x 7.5 • 220 pages • 978-1-56689-121-9

An engaging blend of personal essay and public speculation about our attachments to people and landscape.

Judith Kitchen’s essays are lyrical and affecting meditations on place—those places to which we go back and the bittersweet ones to which we can never return. A Pushcart-prize winning writer and editor, Kitchen writes crystalline prose about the human connection to both built and natural environments. Blended with intelligent speculation on national history and literary legacy, these exquisite pieces contain tender and lucidly detailed homage’s to Fred Astaire’s hands, Kitchen’s aging father, the color blue, and familiar and dreamed-about places.

About the Author

Judith Kitchen first book was Only the Dance: Essays on Time and Memory, from University of South Carolina Press. She is the editor of two Norton anthologies of creative nonfiction and has won a Pushcart Prize, an Anhinga Prize, and a NEA Fellowship. She is currently a Writer-in-Residence at SUNY at Brockport.


“These lovely pieces flow like reveries (as, indeed, quite a few of them are) and reveal in virtually every case Kitchen’s capacious heart. Like thoughts, the essays do not always end where they began and often establish surprising connections and uncover buried treasure. . . . ‘Some books are better than others,’ she declares. This is one of the former.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Judith Kitchen is a gifted writer of immense humanity, grace, and depth. Travel with her, trusting where she takes you. These essays gleam with wisdom and innate poetry. Whether a trail spins out in widening spirals or penetrates deep layers of memory, readers are nourished by the journey—lo, uplifted!—and gratefully changed.” —Naomi Shihab Nye

“Gliding, as the most fluent and stirring essayists do, between observation and philosophy, carefully collected knowledge and inexplicable impressions, the mutability of memory and experience and the steadfastness of the earth, Kitchen captures the shimmer of consciousness, the most fascinating place of all.” —Booklist

“A literate reminder that we can journey even more deeply into the mind and the heart than we can across the globe.” —Albert Goldbarth