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Ensouling Language : On the Art of Nonfiction and the Writer's Life - Stephen Harrod Buhner

Ensouling Language

On the Art of Nonfiction and the Writer's Life

Paperback Published: 23rd August 2010
ISBN: 9781594773822
Number Of Pages: 480

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The first comprehensive work on nonfiction as an art form

• Shows how nonfiction, especially how-to and self-help, can take on the same power and luminosity as great fiction

• Develops processes to reliably induce the dreaming state from which all writing comes

• Teaches the skill of analogical thinking that is the core perceptual tool for writers

• Explores the subtle techniques of powerful writing, from inducing associational dreaming in the reader, to language symmetry, sound patterning, foreshadowing, feeling flow, and more

Approaching writing as a sacred art, Stephen Buhner explores the core of the craft: the communication of deep meaning that feeds not just the mind but also the soul of the reader. Tapping into the powerful archetypes within language, he shows how to enrich your writing by following “golden threads” of inspiration while understanding the crucial invisibles essential to the art of both fiction and nonfiction: how to craft language with feeling and vision, employ altered states of mind to access the writing trance, clear your work by recognizing the powerful sway of clich‚d thinking and hidden baggage, and intentionally generate duende--that physical/emotional response to art that gives you chills, opens up unrecognized aspects of reality, or simply resonates in your soul. Covering some very practical aspects of writing such as layering and word symmetry, the author also explores the inner world of publishing--what you really will encounter when you become a writer. He then shows how to develop a powerful and engaging book proposal based on understanding the proposal as a work of fiction--the map is never the territory, nor is the proposal the book that it will become.

This book, written using all the techniques discussed within it, offers a powerful, experiential journey into the heart of writing. It does for nonfiction what John Gardner’s books on writing did for fiction. It is one of the most significant works on writing published in our time.

"For readers and writers who are tired of hearing the same advice that writing instructors and editors have been handing down through the ages, however, Buhner's mystical (some might say touchy-feely) approach to writing may well be what the doctor ordered."--Small Press Review, September 2010
" . . . Ensouling Language is an important book that encourages inner reflection before and during writing as well as focusing on the feelings of the reader. The technical proponents of publishing are addressed and intertwined throughout giving the writer a glimpse into the 'heart of writing'."--Irene Watson, Reader Views, October 2010
"Ensouling Language is a richly engaging book written for everyone who has been deeply touched by something they have read and wishes to write like that too."--East West Bookshop, April 2011
"The American writer, Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of the iconic Ensouling Language On the Art of Non-fiction and the Writer's Life - and an inspiration to our editors - also appeals for openness to these wellsprings of creativity. He challenges the arid and mechanical quality of much non-fiction writing, and the danger of much creative writing being afflicted in the same way, because of the formulaic teaching on American MFAs in particular. For Buhner, as for Edward Bond, there is urgent need in our time of writing, in any genre, that - to adapt Buhner's own words - attempts to extend awareness "further than society wants it to go" - a view strongly endorsed by our editors."--The Lampeter Review, May 2011
"The point Buhner is making is vital: that whatever genre we're writing, whether we're a graduate from an MFA program or not, writers must never dissociate from their feelings or the feeling of their words. Given the passionate spirit in which Ensouling Language was written, it is sure to resonate with many readers, and is certainly worth a read by anyone who wishes to become a published author."--Lisa McSherry, Facing North, October 2013
"Ensouling Language is Stephen Harrod Buhner at his most spellbinding and enchanted. Every sentence is infused with a livingness that is rare in today's nonfiction. More than simply a book about writing, it is about wielding power--and responsibility--of language itself. Stephen encourages us to breathe the Breath of Life into the words we write, to call forth such a deep richness of meaning that it transmits feeling from the writer to the reader like some otherworldly telepathy. If you can feel you can write, write in this way, turning otherwise empty leaden words into golden Ensouling Language."--Daniel Vitalis, June 2010
"Stephen Buhner's Ensouling Language invites you to sit down for 23 cups of coffee and talk about the mystic journey of the writer, the solitary pilgrim, the witness yearning to tell the world indelible stories that cannot be known by any other voice than yours. If you are a teacher, a writer, a friend of a writer, this book will offer companionship in this life quest. This book harvests lessons from a writer and helpless lover of books who is old in experience but young in perennial devotion."--Kim Stafford, director of Northwest Writing Institute and William Stafford Center, Lewis & Clark Col
"Ensouling Language is a fierce and generous meditation on the writer's life. Fierce, because Stephen Buhner goes right at prevailing commercial and academic assumptions about literature. For him, writing is above all a portal into vividness, compassion, and discovery. Generous, because he weaves his own quest as a writer into his reflections about the art of nonfiction. Books, in both the reading and the writing, have absorbed him for a lifetime. And the connections he conveys here are always arresting, sometimes extravagant in their intensity, and very often funny. As a writer and a teacher, I've learned more from Buhner's book than from anything I've read about writing since the works of John Gardner and William Stafford. I'm truly grateful to him for having written it."--John Elder, Professor and Director of Breadloaf School of English, Middlebury College, and author of
"Stephen Harrod Buhner has counted 'beacoup coups' in penning Ensouling Language. As history almost unanimously attests, writing well about writing is at best a rarity, perhaps mythic, a yeti of sorts. But Buhner's flair, sage advice, and most of all his passion for writing touches every sentence. The book brings writing to life and will add life to any author's own words."--David Cremean, past president, Western Literature Association

Before Buying This Bookp. xi
The Touch of a Golden Thread
The Bookmanp. 2
The Secret All Beginning Writers Want to Knowp. 12
Inhabiting the Word
On the Art of Nonfictionp. 22
You Must Begin with Something Deeper in the Selfp. 35
"The Road of Feeling"p. 51
"It Burns the Blood Like Powdered Glass"p. 62
The Skill of Duendep. 79
Following Golden Threadsp. 90
Dreaming and the Journey to the Imaginal
"A Certain Adjustment of Consciousness"p. 115
"The Secret Kinesis of Things"p. 126
Aisthesisp. 138
Synaesthetic Writing and the Beginnings of Analogical Thoughtp. 149
Analogical Thinkingp. 166
The Dreamer and the "Secret Room where Dreams Prowl"p. 183
The Imaginal Realmp. 209
Poesisp. 223
On Technique
The First Draft, Revision, Clariv, and Refinement
The First Draft and the Beginnings of Revisionp. 233
Problems and Further Revisioningp. 252
Clichéd Thinking and Killing the Genuinep. 264
Hidden Baggagep. 284
Some Subtle Refinements of the Artp. 302
Grammar Nazis and Editors-from-Hellp. 346
Some Final Words on the Writing Lifep. 363
Epiloguep. 375
The Appendices-On the Business of Writing
The People in Publishing and the Business End of the Professionp. 380
The Art of the Book Proposal (Training in the Big Lie)p. 407
Further Reading, Resources, and Recommendationsp. 425
Notesp. 433
Bibliographyp. 448
Indexp. 457
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781594773822
ISBN-10: 1594773823
Series: No
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 23rd August 2010
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.45 x 15.34  x 3.35
Weight (kg): 0.56