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For two decades, essayist John D'Agata has been exploring the contours of the essay through a series of innovative, informative, and expansive anthologies that have become foundational texts in the study of the genre. The breakthrough first volume, The Next American Essay, highlighted major work from 1974 to 2003, while the second, The Lost Origins of the Essay,showcased the essay's ancient and international forebears. Now, with The Making of the American Essay, D'Agata concludes his monumental tour of this inexhaustible form, with selections ranging from Anne Bradstreet's secular prayers to Washington Irving's satires, Emily Dickinson's love letters to Kenneth Goldsmith's catalogues, Gertrude Stein's portraits to James Baldwin's and Norman Mailer's meditations on boxing.

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Ruefle has written numerous books including "Trances of the Blast," "Indeed I Was Pleased with the World," "A Little White Shadow," "Post Meridian" and "The Adamant," winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as a Whiting Writers' Award, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been anthologized in Best American PoetryGreat American Prose Poems, American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets and The Next American Essay. Ruefle has also published a collection of fiction, "The Most of It."

In The Next American Essay John D’Agata writes:

The Next American Essay | Graywolf Press

John D'Agata received MFA degrees in both nonfiction and poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been named "one of the most significant U.S. writers to emerge in the past few years." In Halls of Fame (2003, Graywolf Press), a collection of "lyric essays," he reflects on a variety of subjects ranging from the Hoover Dam and outsider artist Henry Darger to the Flat Earth Society and the beam of light emanating from the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Annie Dillard credited him with "redefining the modern American essay." He has also edited the anthology The Next American Essay (2002, Graywolf Press), with contributions by David Antin, Joan Didion, John McPhee, Susan Sontag, Thalia Field, Carol Maso and many others. "He transforms a mere anthology into the living biography of an art form," observed Michael Silverblatt on public radio's "Bookworm." D'Agata currently serves as editor of lyric essays for the Seneca Review. He is an Assistant Professor in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.