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v2.1 Reference

The Lyric Essay as Resistance

Truth from the Margins

Lyric essayists draw on memoir, poetry, and prose to push against the arbitrary genre restrictions in creative nonfiction, opening up space not only for new forms of writing, but also new voices and a new literary canon. This anthology features some of the best lyric essays published in the last several years by prominent and emerging writers. Editors Zoë Bossiere and Erica Trabold situate this anthology within the ongoing work of resistance—to genre convention, literary tradition, and the confines of dominant-culture spaces. As sites of resistance, these essays are diverse and include investigations into deeply personal and political topics such as queer and trans identity, the American BIPOC experience, reproductive justice, belonging, grief, and more.

The lyric essay is always surprising; it is bold, unbound, and free. This collection highlights the lyric essay's natural capacity for representation and resistance and celebrates the form as a subversive genre that offers a mode of expression for marginalized voices. The Lyric Essay as Resistance features contemporary work by essayists including Melissa Febos, Wendy S. Walters, Torrey Peters, Jenny Boully, Crystal Wilkinson, Elissa Washuta, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, and many more. Their work demonstrates the power of the lyric essay to bring about change, both on the page and in our communities.

About the Authors

Zoë Bossiere is a genderfluid writer from Tucson, Arizona. She is the managing editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction and coeditor of its anthology, The Best of Brevity.
Erica Trabold is an assistant professor at Sweet Briar College, author of Five Plots, and recipient of the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize.


"The inventive formats dazzle, finding novel ways to drive home each piece's message and testifying to the rewards found when writers are willing to break the rules. These selections exemplify the profound possibilities inherent in the lyric essay."—Publisher's Weekly

"With Auden's elegy for Yeats, we tend to fixate on what poetry—or the lyric—can't do and forget that he goes on to say, 'it survives / In the valley of its making where executives / Would never want to tamper.' Indeed, its survival helps us better endure. This brilliant gathering of essayists that Bossiere and Trabold have curated for us is aimed square against kyriarchy. And the collection has me convinced. The lyric can be a powerful tool of resistance. Some truths can only be uttered from the margins."—Geoffrey Babbitt, .

"The view from the literary 'margins' has never looked as inspiring or as invigorating as it does in this collection of blazing bold voices that are pumping blood into the essay's very heart."—John D'Agata, Author of about a Mountain

"This important and exciting anthology reveals how lyric essays can be both marginal and central, experimental yet sure, fluid and sound, haunted by ghosts but by beauty too. The Lyric Essay as Resistance is a gorgeous showcase of what the lyric essay can do."—Randon Billings Noble, Editor of a Harp in the Stars: an Anthology of Lyric Essays

"I can easily see this fine anthology included in any of the courses I teach. The twenty essays herein do the triple-duty work of modeling the lyric form, expanding the platform for said form, and challenging the form to stretch so it can accommodate new, and necessary, literary voices."—Elena Passarello, Author of Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses

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