Lori's Book Nook

The Personal Essay

Posted on: September 25, 2006

Type “personal essay” into the Google search bar and you get pages upon pages of links to tips on how to write your college/university entrance essay…and lots of people linking to what seems to be the definitive book of essays, Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. (Oh, and if you’re of the Book Club ilk, you can even find a book club guide at Random House.)

Funny that. Pretty much exactly how I ended up with a copy of the book in my library. I was working on an application to a grad program, and wanted to write something more than the ‘this is what I’ve been up to’ style essay, so I picked up Lopate’s book, and lost myself in some of the essays. Used some of the rhetorical tricks therein, had a couple of grad student friends give it a vicious going over, and was pretty proud of the end result. (It landed me the interview, but I don’t think I was hungry enough for academia in person.)

I like reading personal narrative essays, in magazines, online…if, and only if, they are good. You all know what I’m talking about — I want meaty insight, intense story, thunderclap of recognition…no wimpy stories about lessons learned from your cat/dog/precocious child.

This ramble today was triggered by my StumblingUpon this essay site: Fresh Yarn: the Online Salon for Personal Essays. I haven’t fully delved yet, maybe you can all help me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!
%d bloggers like this: