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Writing on Air (Terra Nova Books) Hardcover – May 23, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Terra Nova Books
  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (May 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262182300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262182300
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,043,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Air is a spiritual barometer. It cannot help but inspire," writes poet John Olson of the insubstantial medium in which we move and breathe. This delightful collection brings together prose, poetry and illustrations on the subject of air. The art is particularly creative: how, after all, does one visualize the invisible? These artists manage to do so, with images of a hot-air balloon; clouds; the impact of a strong wind on a now-tilting structure; and a man lying on the ground, face up, his arms pointed above him as though he were about to dive into the sky. Scientists Carl Djerassi and Roald Hoffmann offer a playlet in which Antoine Lavoisier, Joseph Priestley and Carl Wilhelm Scheele argue over which one of them was the first to discover oxygen; naturalist David Lukas describes air that "is far from empty," full of dust motes, fibers of spider silk and more; and philosopher David Appelbaum considers the laugh, "a bubble drive heavenward by a physics of effervescence." This rich collection will spark the imagination of anyone eager to consider one of our most essential elements.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"This collection of essays, short fictions and poems will delight anyone who has an interest in both air and writing." Mike Holderness New Scientist

"A glorious anthology of essays... " Umbrella

"This rich collection will spark the imagination of anyone eager to consider one of our most essential elements." Publisher's Weekly

"A glorious anthology of essays..." Umbrella

"Promises to be a significant contribution in addressing a neglected but important environmental topic."--Cheryll Glotfelty, Department of English, University of Nevada, Reno

More About the Author

paulo da costa was born in Angola and raised in Portugal. He is a writer, editor and translator living on the West Coast of Canada. paulo's first book of fiction The Scent of a Lie received the 2003 Commonwealth First Book Prize for the Canada-Caribbean Region and the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. In Portuguese he has published the poetry book, notas de rodapé and he is the recipient of the ProVerbo Prize. Several audio chapbooks of fiction and poetry are also available in English and Portuguese. His poetry and fiction have been published in literary magazines around the world and have been translated to Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese. www.paulodacosta.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Kowinski on November 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love looking at clouds. But I don't often get the chance to read about them. "The sun, too, is a burning cloud..." writes John P. O'Grady in his essay in this collection. The theme of air includes atmospheres of various kinds, breathing (and not being able to), flying through the air (and what flight has and hasn't meant versus human dreams about it), wind, song and sound carried by air...all kinds of neat stuff.
There are a few fairly well known names among the writers but most are probably unfamiliar. There's verse by Lori Anderson, but no Laurie Anderson (though her "From the Air" riff would be perfect for this volume.) But mostly that only adds to the feeling of discovery. Unlike some anthologies, the selections don't seem like parts of something else; each is intriguing and usually satisfying. Just the right length to read easily one at a time and let them fill your sense of wonder with oxygen. It's playfully serious, thoughtful fun. This is a book that opens your mind and lets some fresh air in.
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