By pairing essays with other kinds of compositions — a TV show, a news report, a photo, an ad, a cast-off grocery list — Convergences asks students to respond to all kinds of visual and verbal texts. Its organization into six broad thematic chapters — each of which is broken out into six clusters — presents the materials in a way that is compelling and teachable. Convergences urges students to ask: Why did that author write that essay? Where was it published, and for what audience? What is the message of that poem? Why is that image on that Web site? Who thinks that joke is funny? How is that ad getting me to buy things I don’t need? And, most importantly — how do I make meaning of it all? With its full-color design, varied themes and texts, and helpful reading and writing support, Convergences inspires students to read the world in new ways — and to respond thoughtfully in their own compositions.
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Robert Atwan is director of The Blue Hills Writing Institute at Curry College and the series editor of the annual Best American Essays, which he founded in 1985. His essays, reviews, and critical articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, River Teeth, and many other publications. For Bedford/St. Martin's, he has also edited Ten on Ten: Major Essayists on Recurring Themes (1992), Our Times (1998), and America Now (2007). He has coedited (with Jon Roberts) Left, Right, and Center: Voices from Across the Political Spectrum (1996), and is coeditor with Donald McQuade of The Writer's Presence (2006).
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