Issue #37, 2009

The Best Creative Nonfiction, Volume 3

Anyone still asking, “What is creative nonfiction?” will find the answer in this collection of artfully crafted, true stories. These stories—ranging from immersion journalism to intensely personal essays—illustrate the genre’s power and potential. Edwidge Danticat recalls her Uncle Moïse’s love of a certain four-letter word and finds in his abandonment of the word near the end of his life the true meaning of exile. In “Literary Murder,” Julianna Baggott traces her roots as a novelist to her family’s “strange, desperate (sometimes conniving and glorious) past” and writes about her decision, in The Madam, to kill off a character based on her grandfather. And Sean Rowe explains why, if you must get arrested, Selma, Alabama is the place to do it. This exciting and expansive array of works and voices is sure to impress and delight.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Agent of Change Lee Gutkind ... read more
An Insider's Guide to Jailhouse Cuisine: Dining In Sean Rowe
Literary Murder Julianna Baggott
Rock Dust Stan Badgett
Show, Don't Tell John Griswold
The Rope Swing, the Swastika, the Oldest Whale I Know Scott Black
Table of Figures Brenda Miller
Okahandja Lessons Emily Rapp
No Other Joy Christina Olson
First Year Laura Bramon Good
Letter from a Japanese Crematorium Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Uncle Moïse Edwidge Danticat
The Face of Seung-Hui Cho Wesley Yang
The Poet's Mother's Deathbed Conversion Jeffrey Ethan Lee
The Storyteller Jay Lewenstein
Lavish Dwarf Entertainment Alice Dreger
Chicago Transit Priority Matt Wood
Grasshopper Margaret Conway
What Comes Out Dawnelle Wilkie
(names have been changed) Aislinn Doyle
Community College Tim Bascom
Cantata 147: The Final Chorale Amy Andrews
I Can't Answer Michael Copperman
An Open Letter Kathy Rhodes
A Perfunctory Affair Chris Cobb
Return to Hayneville Gregory Orr

Contributors

Amy Andrews

Amy Andrews has worked as high school English teacher for the past ten years. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the Rainier... read more

Stan Badgett

Stan Badgett and his wife live in the mountains of western Colorado, where they raised four children. Badgett currently teaches English at... read more

Julianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott is the author of fifteen books: six novels, including The Madam; three collections of poetry, most recently Lizzie Borden... read more

Tim Bascom

Tim Bascom’s memoir Running to the Fire (University of Iowa Press, 2015) is about his missionary family leaving the town of Troy,... read more

Scott Black

Scott Black has had the good fortune to attend Northland College, University of Baltimore, Auburn University, and Ohio State’s Creative... read more

Laura Bramon Good

Laura Bramon Good lives with her husband, Ben, in Washington, DC, where she works on human trafficking issues. She holds an MA from the... read more

Chris Cobb

Chris Cobb is an artist based in San Francisco who sometimes writes. His work has been in Flash Art, ArtWeek, TENbyTEN, and McSweeney’s... read more

Margaret Conway

Margaret Conway has an MFA from San Francisco State, where she has taught creative writing. She lives in San Francisco. “Grasshopper” is a... read more

Michael Copperman

Michael Copperman teaches low-income, first-generation college students of diverse backgrounds at the University of Oregon. His prose has... read more

Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was twelve. She is the author of several books, including Breath... read more

Aislinn Doyle

Aislinn Doyle lives in the Dominican Republic, where she is completing a postgraduate fellowship with an educational nonprofit organization... read more

Alice Dreger

Alice Dreger is a Clinical Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethic in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics program of the Feinberg... read more

John Griswold

John Griswold is the author of a novel, A Democracy of Ghosts. He’s also published stories, essays, and poems in Ninth Letter, Brevity,... read more

Lee Gutkind

Lee Gutkind, recognized by Vanity Fair as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” is the founder and editor of Creative... read more

Jeffrey Ethan Lee

Jeffrey Ethan Lee’s poetry book identity papers (Ghost Road Press, 2006) was a 2007 Colorado Book Award finalist. He also published the... read more

Jay Lewenstein

Jay Lewenstein lives in Mexicali, Mexico, and teaches community college English on the U.S. side of the border. Currently, he is developing... read more

Brenda Miller

Brenda Miller is the author of five essay collections, most recently An Earlier Life (Ovenbird Books, 2016). She also coauthored Tell... read more

Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Marie Mutsuki Mockett was born in Carmel, California, to a Japanese mother and an American father. She is a graduate of Columbia University... read more

Christina Olson

Christina Olson’s first book of poems, Before I Came Home Naked, is forthcoming from Spire Press. Her poetry and creative nonfiction can be... read more

Gregory Orr

Gregory Orr is the author of ten collections of poetry, the most recent of which is How Beautiful the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)... read more

Emily Rapp

Emily Rapp is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir (BloomsburyUSA). Her work has appeared in The Sun, StoryQuarterly, Narrative, Good... read more

Kathy Rhodes

Kathy Rhodes is the author of Pink Butterbeans: Stories from the Heart of a Southern Woman, a collection of fifty personal essays. ... read more

Sean Rowe

Sean Rowe has been a reporter for the Miami Herald and senior writer for the Miami New Times. He is the author of Fever, a maritime... read more

Dawnelle Wilkie

Dawnelle Wilkie is currently finishing an MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College. She lives in Washington State with her daughter. read more

Matt Wood

Matt Wood is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at Northwestern University, where his final thesis, "Through an... read more

Wesley Yang

Wesley Yang writes for the n+1, Nextbook, and the Abu Dhabi National. He has reviewed books for the New York Times Book Review and the Los... read more

Reviews

"Energetic"

Publishers Weekly

May 25, 2009

With the big subjects of life and death framing the smaller frustrations of everyday existence, this third volume in the Creative... read more

"Excellently edited"

The New Yorker

July 27, 2009

Excellently edited by Lee Gutkind, the founder of the journal Creative Nonfiction, and the man whom Harper’s has called “the... read more

"Powerful...compelling prose"

Library Journal

August 2009

For the most part, the writing in this collection is powerful—the essays and blogs entertain, inform, and inspire. Followers of... read more