Out of Place

Largeness and Light

I have lived in North Carolina for thirteen years. I know because my daughter is thirteen now and was only three months old when we moved here. A handy mnemonic device. I teach at a public university in this recently…

Losing the House

The house is like a novel. For many years I called it “my father’s house,” but that was wrong. It is my mother’s house, and it has always been. It is my mother’s novel. It is my mother’s house,

Mapping the Country

Wallace Stegner believed that writing from and about the American West was ignored, and as he became known throughout his home region, he chafed against being considered regional—when considered at all—by the East. I remember watching a television interview with…


There is always something missing. Is there always something missing? Yesterday I was lying in a hammock in a beautiful courtyard. It is summer now, but it was a coolish day, and a row of birches stood off to my left,

On the Gallows with Henry David

Five years ago this spring, the Georgia Review ran a special feature called Culture and the Environment. The corner­stone of that feature was Scott Russell Sanders’s essay, “Simplicity and Sanity,” which described how Henry David Thoreau’s words might help us…

The Essay’s Place

We live in a time when essays are often bullied into being articles, when the marketplace and the Internet, both ever-hungry for action, serve to cattle-prod the lounging essayist out of his or her natural ambling pace and into something…