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The Muses Among Us:
Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft
By Kim Stafford
University of Georgia Press, 2003
138 pages
ISBN: cloth edition: 0-8203-2324-1: $39.95
ISBN: paper edition: 0-8203-2496-5: $17.95

Kim Stafford grew up in a household with an appreciation for the spoken and written word. His parents encouraged their children to express themselves and kept a book called LOST WORDS, "a compendium of all the unusual things the four children in my family said when we were small." Both of Stafford's parents were teachers and Kim followed his father William's footsteps into writing and teaching.

The Muses Among Us is a "how to" book on the writing profession. Using techniques designed for his writing workshops at the Northwest Institute at Lewis and Clark College, the author gives the writer practical advice, suggestions, and exercises. Stafford uses personal illustrations, including first-person letters, essays, manifestos, and notes. He encourages all writers to keep a notebook at all times and listen carefully writing down anything of interest. Stafford expresses a belief in the common person's ability to utter truths useful to the writer.

Stafford's writing style is clear, concise, and personal. His exercises are useful and easily incorporated into any stage of writing. The Muses Among Us is a welcome addition to any selection of books on writing.

Kim Stafford's books include A Thousand Friends of Rain and Having Everything Right.

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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