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The Tribal Knot
The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change
A multi-generational memoir based on hundreds of letters and documents spanning more than a century...

The Tribal Knot explores the complications of communal bonds and celebrates the strength of ordinary people facing poverty, war, filicide and suicide, economic depressions and personal disasters while holding tight to the ties that bind them.

Word Painting
Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively (2nd edition)
• Now in its 6th printing and first KINDLE edition
• Over 40,000 copies sold

Used as a text in dozens of writing programs, this self-guided text is filled with examples and exercises to strengthen imagery, characterization, setting, plot, and narration through description. For poets and prose writers alike.

The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings

Memoir essays that explore intimate familial relationships, especially the bonds of sisters, daughters, mothers and "other mothers," those childless aunts and mentors who shape our lives.

Deep Light
Deep Light: New and Selected Poems

Eighty-seven poems, arranged to create an alternating pattern of shadow and light to suggest "memoir held to the candle of insight," as one reviewer wrote.

Write Your Heart Out
Write Your Heart Out

A combination of writing exercises, direct instruction, examples from published texts, and personal reflections on the writing process, this book is appropriate for both beginning and experienced writers. Early sections deal with discovering authentic subjects, writing with honesty and authority, and developing the habits of a writer.

Mrs. Houdini
Mrs. Houdini

Women speak their stories through poems: the seven wives of Zeus, a clay-eater, the Old Testament Leah, a medieval woman accused of witchcraft, a suicidal mother, Peter Pan's Wendy, and the poet herself.

Naked As Eve
naked as eve

Portraits of marriage, its joys and ruptures; a "Regrets Only" party where our pasts gather; Passion Week 1966; ordinary angels.

One Word Deep
One Word Deep: Lectures and Readings

Informal lectures about the writing process, especially poem-making, combined with brief, illustrative readings.

Mother Tongue
mother tongue

Rebecca's first book of poems ranges far and wide: fairy tales and nightmare images, Marvin Gaye, Marine Corps brats and blind students and "full service" gas station attendants.

essays on writing


If you've been researching your family's history, but aren't sure where to go from there, take heart. These 5 techniques will help you use your findings to bring your family's story (and your own) to life on the page.

read an excerpt
6 Misconceptions about Writing

It's no wonder we believe anyone can write a book. The truth is, anyone can't write a book. Only the person who writes the book can write the book.

i second that emotion

The more emotional a reader's performance, the less effect it seemed to have.