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Splash: Great Writing About Swimming (Ecco Companions) Hardcover – May, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: Ecco Companions
  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco Pr; 1st ed edition (May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880014490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880014496
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On the surface, the idea of a swimming anthology may seem all wet, but as with swimming itself, a whole lot more goes on beneath the surface than meets the eye. Laurel Blossom, a poet by trade, has assembled a remarkably eclectic group of writers that, one after another, builds a volume of short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that works together like a medley relay team unified by a single pursuit. The peripatetic George Plimpton dips his toes in for the preface to this "melange of stories, reminiscences, and accounts by various folk--some champions, some not--sporting, competing, whatever in swimming pools, bays, lakes, oceans" before handing off to the likes of, among others, Ray Bradbury, Maxine Kumin, John Cheever, Olympic gold medalists Dawn Fraser and Don Schollander, Jack London, Anne Sexton, and John Updike. The thought of reading the words of these fine writers should have you jumping eagerly into the deep end of the marvelous literary pool they've created. --Jeff Silverman

From Publishers Weekly

Though swimming is mentioned in books as ancient as The Odyssey, it's only much more recently that the activity has become a familiar, though not common, literary theme. And so just about all of the 46 stories, poems, essays, letters and book excerpts that comprise this splendid anthology date from the 20th century. Nonetheless, the selections made by Blossom, a poet (Any Minute), cover the waterfront, as it were, fulfilling her mission to "make the book as representative of the experience of swimming as possible." From familiar and established writers such as Cheever, Lessing, London, Sexton and Updike to lesser-knowns such as Jewelle Gomez and Linda Svendsen, and Olympic athletes with their accounts of medal-winning triumphs, each of the 45 contributors brings unique insights. Included are a black folk tale, a fantasy novel excerpt, accounts of the agony of long-distance swimming, gay and lesbian stories and some humor from Calvin Trillin. It's hard to imagine what's missing, other than the aquatic poetry of Raymond Carver. With a leisurely crawl, not a speed-stroke, readers will want to explore nearly every selection here.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

LAUREL BLOSSOM's latest book. Longevity, her second book-length narrative prose poem, will be published by Four Way Books in October 2015. Sections of the poem have been published online at Tupelo Quarterly 2, Frigg Magazine #43 (Spring 2014), and Linnet's Wings Summer 2014. A fourth section is forthcoming from Hotel Amerika.

Four Way Books was profiled in the New York Times on July 17, 2014 Arts Beat online. In order to illustrate the quality of its books, Four Way publisher Martha Rhodes quoted lines from Blossom's first book-length narrative prose poem, Degrees of Latitude, which was published by Four Way Books in 2007.

Blossom's most recent book of lyric poetry is Wednesday: New and Selected Poems, Ridgeway Press, 2004. Earlier books include The Papers Said (Greenhouse Review Press, 1993), What's Wrong (Cobham & Hatherton Press, 1987), and a chapbook, Any Minute (Greenhouse Review Press, 1979). An earlier long poem, the mock epic "Easy Come/Easy Go," was published in American Poetry Review in summer, 1976. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, edited by Billy Collins (Random House, 2005), and in national and international journals including Poetry, Pequod, The Paris Review, Pleiades, xconnect, The Carolina Quarterly, Deadsnake Apotheosis, Many Mountains Moving, Seneca Review, things, and Harper's, among others, and online at friggmagazine.com, Per Contra, Tupelo Quarterly, BigCityLit.com, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been nominated for both the Elliston Prize and (multiple times) the Pushcart Prize.

Blossom is the editor of Splash! Great Writing About Swimming (Ecco Press, 1996) and Many Lights in Many Windows: Twenty Years of Great Fiction and Poetry from The Writers Community (Milkweed Editions, 1997), among others. She served on the editorial board of Heliotrope: a journal of poetry until its final issue in Spring 2014.

Blossom has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and Harris Manchester College (Oxford University), where she was elected Regent Emeritus in 2008. She co-founded The Writers Community, the esteemed writing residency and advanced workshop program of the YMCA National Writer's Voice. She serves on the Boards of the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation in Vero Beach, Florida and the Musical Arts Association in Cleveland, Ohio.

Blossom belongs to The Explorers Club in New York City. She lives in rural South Carolina, where she curates an occasional poetry and fiction reading series.



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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book last year. I have been a swimmer for sixteen of my 21 years and have never found literature that really captured the way I felt about swimming. It helped me understand why I love my sport when the season got hard. It helped me, as captain of my team, to articulate the emotional and physical pain that a swimmer goes through. Often we find ourselves wishing the pain wasn't there, but some of these stories remind us that it's part of being a swimmer. I also read passages to the team that reminded us of the wonderful sensation of being in the water. We wouldn't trade it for the world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald Bull on October 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I got this book for Christmas two years ago and I finished reading it the next day. The anthology captures an essential truth about swimming -- when we immerse ourselves in water there's an opportunity for transformation. Some of the swimmers suffer pain and agony, others find courage, and others experience bliss. But each swimmer emerges from the water different in each story, as will the reader when they finish this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An accidental find while looking for various titles by George Plimpton, who writes the preface here. Highly recommended to all those who love to swim.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Swimming emphasizes the importance of breathing. Water takes no offense but gives no quarter. Swimming allows us to feel at home in our coats of skin. Swimming gives rise to thoughts which express our experience in the water. Swimming is the thing itself wherein all benefits are in the moment of immerision
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