Anthology for Creative Writers, An: A Garden of Forking Paths, 1st edition

  • Beth Anstandig
  • Eric Killough


  1. An Anthology for Creative Writers: A Garden of Forking Paths is a multi-genre literary anthology with extensive selections of contemporary poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, alternative forms, and essays about writing and the creative process. 

The text also features activities and other apparatus for the composition of original work. 



To learn more, visit The Creative Café online.  In the Creative Café you can:

  • Watch video clips of contemporary writers discussing their writing process
  • Hone your own writing techniques
  • Learn insider tips on getting published…. and much more. 

The Creative Café is packed with resources for the aspiring writer, including various links to literary journals and the nation’s top writing programs.  Go to

Table of contents

Beth Anstandig and Eric Killough

Table of Contents

Section One


More Than Just the Truth:  Creative Non-Fiction


I. Discussion of the Genre


II. A Quintessential: “The Undertaking” by Thomas Lynch


III. Reading Selections


Mitch Albom “The Ninth Tuesday:  We Talk About How Love Goes On”

Dave Barry  “Borrrinnng!”

Charles Bowden  “Tortoises”

Bernard Cooper  “101 Ways to Cook Hamburger”

Andre Dubus “A Woman in April”

Lars Eighner “Austin to Tucson:  Hitting the Road”

Vivian Gornick from “Fierce Attachments”

Jim Harrison “Eat or Die”

Donald Hall  “To Read Fiction”

Linda Hogan “Walking”

Nick Hornby “Home Debut”

Mary Karr from “The Liar’s Club”

Tony Kushner “American Things”

Ursula K. Le Guin  “Winged:  The Creatures on My Mind”

Barry Lopez  “Children in the Woods”

Nancy Mairs  “On Being a Cripple”

Chris Offutt from “The Same River Twice”

Sharman Apt Russell “Not a Butterfly”

David Sedaris “The Youth in Asia”

Sarah Vowell “Shooting Dad”


IV. Catalysts


1.         The Autobiographical Object


2.         Pushing a Metaphor to its Limits


3.         Finding Humor in Heartache


Section Two


  Telling Tales:  Short Fiction



I. Discussion of the Genre


II. A Quintessential: “A Private Landscape”by Melissa Pritchard


III. Reading Selections


Kim Addonizio “In the Box Called Pleasure”

Sherman Alexie “Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw

     Jimi Hendrix Play 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at Woodstock”

Donald Barthelme “A Shower of Gold”

Ron Carlson “Bigfoot Stole My Wife”/“I am Bigfoot”

Angela Carter “The Quilt Maker”

Michael Chabon “The Little Knife”

Philip K. Dick  “Beyond Lies the Wub”

Chester Himes  “Prediction”

Gish Jen “Who’s Irish?”

Denis Johnson “Work”

Doris Lessing  “The Story of Two Dogs”

Susan Minot "Lust"

Walter Mosely "Pet Fly"

ZZ Packer “Brownie”

Grace Paley “Friends”

Francine Prose “Talking Dog”

Mark Richard “Strays”

Muriel Spark “The First Year of My Life”

John Updike “How Was it, Really?”


IV. Catalysts


1.         Sitting on a Bench


2.         A Fish out of Water


3.         Mind Traveling:  A Solitary Adventure


Section Three     Making Lines: Poetry



I. Discussion of the Genre


II. A Quintessential:


 “Thinking About the Poet Larry Levis One Afternoon in Late May” by Charles Wright


III. Reading Selections


Ralph Angel “Love’s That Simple”

Marvin Bell “These-Green-Going-to-Yellow”

Eavan Boland “This Moment”

David Bottoms “Under the Vulture-Tree”

Michael Burkard “I Entered a House”

Scott Cairns “Interval with Erato”

Hayden Carruth “Of Distress Being Humiliated by the Classical Chinese Poets”

Lucille Clifton  “11/10 again”

Kwame Dawes “Libation”

Norman Dubie  “For Randall Jarrell,  1914-1965”

Russell Edson “The Fall”

John Engman  “The Building I Live in is Tipping Over”

Tess Gallagher “Each Bird Walking”

James Galvin “Against the Rest of the Year”

Jack Gilbert “Tear it Down”

Albert Goldbarth  “This Cartography”

Beckian Fritz Goldberg “Being Pharoh”

Linda Gregg “The Letter”

Jim Harrison “Rooster”

Bob Hicok “AIDS”

Jane Hirshfield “The Kingdom”

Tony Hoagland  “Jet”

Lynda Hull “Counting in Chinese”

David Ignatow “At eighty I change my view”

Denis Johnson “The Veil”

Carolyn Kizer “To an Unknown Poet”

Bill Knott “The Misunderstanding”

Ruth Ellen Kocher “Poem to a Jazz Man”

Yusef Komunyakaa “Believing in Iron”

Stanley Kunitz “Day of Foreboding”

Larry Levis “The Poem Returning as an Invisible Wren to the World”

Thomas Lux  “The Man Inside the Chipmunk Suit”

Clarence Major “The Swine Who’s Eclipsed Me”

William Matthews  “A Happy Childhood”

Christopher Merrill “Three Boats”

Jane Miller “Poetry”

Naomi Shihab Nye “Blood”

Adrienne Rich “Amends”

Tomaz Salamun “I Have a Horse”

Jeannine Savard “Transfer”

Dennis Schmitz “About Night”

Charles Simic “Dream Broker”

William Stafford “Not Very Loud”

Jean Valentine “Silences:  A Dream of Governments”

Bruce Weigl “Anniversary of Myself”

David Wojahn  “Cold Glow:  Icehouses”

C. D. Wright   “only the crossing counts”

Al Young “Desert Footage: Three Dissolves”


IV. Catalysts


1.         In Search of the Image


2.         The Narrative Poem


3.         The Newspaper Poem


Section Four


Evolving Worlds and Disoriented Words:  Experimental Writing 



I. Discussion of the Genre


II. A Quintessential: “The Colonel” by Carolyn Forché


III. Reading Selections


Kim Adonizzio  “Survivors”

Cathryn Alpert “That Changes Everything”

Tom Andrews  “Cinema Verite”

Donald Barthelme “The Glass Mountain”

Michael Benedikt “The Meat Epitaph”

Kenneth Bernard  “Sister Francetta and the Pig Baby”

Marilyn Chin “The True Story of Mr. and Mrs. Wong

Michael Chitwood  “Hard Surface Road”

Lydia Davis  “This Condition”

Stephen Dixon “Flying”

Russell Edson  “Ape and Coffee”

Molly Giles “The Poet’s Husband”

Timothy Kelly  “Babe Ruth Pointing”

Jamaica Kincaid “Girl”

Philip Levine “Travelling Music”

Gordon Lish  “Fear:  Four Examples”

Steve Martin  “Cows in Trouble”

Michael McFee  “The Halo”

E. Ethelbert Miller  “Changing the Channel”

Rick Moody “Primary Sources”

Michael Ondaatje “7 or 8 Things I Know About Her -- A Stolen Biography”

Michael Palmer “A Word is Coming Up on the Screen …”

Francine Prose “Pumpkins”

Bruce Holland Rogers  “Murder, Mystery”

Charles Simic from “Dimestore Alchemy”

Gary Snyder “The Ship in Yokohama”

Jerome Stern “Morning News”

James Tate “Distance from Loved Ones”

Beth Tornes  “Sleep”

Charles Wright  “The Poet Grows Older”

David Young  “Four About Metaphysics”


IV. Catalysts


1.         This is Just to Say:  The Poem Disguised as a Letter


2.         Interrupted Radio Broadcast: The Non-fiction Collage


3.         In the Midst:  Short-Shorts, Flash Fiction, and Prose Poems

Section Five  


The Map Maker’s Unmade Map:  Writing about Writing



I. Discussion of the Genre


II. A Quintessential: “Memory and the Imagination” by Patricia Hampl


III. Reading Selections


A. R. Ammons  “A Poem is a Walk”

Richard Bausch  “So Long Ago”

Charles Baxter  “Shame and Forgetting in the Information Age”

Eavan Boland  “Poetic Form:  A Personal Encounter”

Jorges Luis Borges  “Borges and I”

Jacob Bronowski  “The Reach of Imagination”

Rosellen Brown  “Don't Just Sit There: 

     Writing as a Polymorphous Perverse Pleasure”

Bernard Cooper  “Marketing Memory”

Mark Doty from  “Still Life with Oysters and Lemons”

Russell Edson  “Portrait of the Writer as a Fat Man: 

     Some Subjective Ideas or Notions on the Care and Feeding of Prose Poems”

Donald Hall  “Goatfoot, Milktongue and Twinbird”

Jane Hirshfield  “Poetry and the Mind of Consciousness”

Richard Hugo  “Writing Off the Subject”

Erica Jong  “My Grandmother on my Shoulder”

William Matthews  “A Note on Prose, Verse and the Line”

Thomas McGrath  “Language, Power, and Dream”

Roger Rosenblatt   “I Am Writing Blindly”

Michael Ryan  “Tell Me a Story”

William Stafford  “A Way of Writing”

Luisa Valenzuela  “Writing with the Body”


IV. Catalysts


1.         Gift Memories: A Meditative Essay on the Recollection of Borrowed Images


2.         The First House of Memory: Images in Hiding


3.         I and I:  Addressing the Self



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Published by Pearson (February 15th 2006) - Copyright © 2007