Writers on Writers8

Writers on Writers is a series of brief, personal, and creative books in which leading contemporary writers take the measure of other important writers (past or present) who have inspired, influenced, fascinated, or troubled them in significant ways. These books illuminate the complex and sometimes fraught relationships between writers, while also revealing the close ties between creative and critical writing.

  • On Seamus Heaney On Seamus Heaney Roy Foster

    The most important Irish poet of the postwar era, Seamus Heaney rose to prominence as his native Northern Ireland descended into sectarian violence. A national figure at a time when nationality was deeply contested, Heaney also won...

  • On Henry Miller On Henry Miller: Or, How to Be an Anarchist John Burnside

    The American writer Henry Miller's critical reputation--if not his popular readership—has been in eclipse at least since Kate Millett's blistering critique in Sexual Politics, her landmark 1970 study of misogyny in literature and art....

  • On Empson On Empson Michael Wood

    Are literary critics writers? As Michael Wood says, "Not all critics are writers—perhaps most of them are not—and some of them are better when they don't try to be." The British critic and poet William Empson (1906–84), one of the...

  • On Whitman On Whitman C. K. Williams

    In this book, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet C. K. Williams sets aside the mass of biography and literary criticism that has accumulated around Walt Whitman and attempts to go back to Leaves of Grass as he first encountered it—to...

  • On Elizabeth Bishop On Elizabeth Bishop Colm Tóibín

    In this book, novelist Colm Tóibín offers a deeply personal introduction to the work and life of one of his most important literary influences—the American poet Elizabeth Bishop. Ranging across her poetry, prose, letters, and...

  • On Conan Doyle On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling Michael Dirda

    A passionate lifelong fan of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, Pulitzer Prize–winning critic Michael Dirda is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars—the most famous and romantic of all Sherlockian groups. Combining memoir and...

  • What W. H. Auden Can Do for You What W. H. Auden Can Do for You Alexander McCall Smith

    When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie—Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith—often refers to the great twentieth-century poet W. H....

  • Notes on Sontag Notes on Sontag Phillip Lopate

    Notes on Sontag is a frank, witty, and entertaining reflection on the work, influence, and personality of one of the "foremost interpreters of . . . our recent contemporary moment." Adopting Sontag's favorite form, a set of brief essays...