Because the essay form is so hard to define and put in a box (thankfully) it can be hard to find resources for writing essays well....any thoughts on particularly good anthologies or books about the craft of essay writing? I'm particularly interested in the lyric essay, which seems to elude categorization- or instruction...
Thank you all for the resources. Brenda Miller co-wrote a new book that just came out in 2012. The reviews are excellent, but I couldn't find the one you mentioned--at least not on Amazon.
I really enjoyed Dinty Moore's book as well.
I own Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty Moore and find it one the best out there specifically on essay writing. I really did learn a lot from that book, and still refer to it.
Another good one is Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola (Sep 16, 2004).
I've participated in a number of essay workshops and the one book everyone seems to come back to is Philip Lopate's The Art of the Personal Essay. It's an excellent reference and in it, Lopate addresses each category of the genre. Another source, although more of a study guide but quite good is by Bryan Greethnam, How to Write Better Essays. More recently there have been some excellent on-line writing sites so you may want to "Google" the lyric essay.
I just finished "Naked, Drunk and Writing," by Adair Lara. It's quite funny and has great advice on writing the personal essay.
Thank you all for sharing these resources, I am ordering the Lopate and Minty books right now!
For those of you who are Avant Guild MediaBistro members, here's a great post from yesterday: The 7 Biggest Mistakes Personal Essay Writers Make: http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/personal-essay-writing_b11690
At the end of the article there are links to personal essay markets. Super helpful!
Looks like others beat me to the punch on Lopate and Moore.
@Allison, you mentioned Media Bistro. Is it worth the amount it costs to join? I'm just starting with the "trying to make money with writing" stage of my writing journey, as well as doing the literary essays that will just add "two free copies" to my bookshelves. I've seen MB mentioned, but can't decide if it's worth it because I can't see what they offer unless I pay first.