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The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory

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Using such models as Joseph Cornell’s box constructions, crazy quilts, and specimen displays, Joni Tevis places fragments in relationship to each other in order to puzzle out lost histories, particularly those of women. Navigating the peril and excitement of outward journeys complicated by an inward longing for home, The Wet Collection follows Tevis through several adventu Using such models as Joseph Cornell’s box constructions, crazy quilts, and specimen displays, Joni Tevis places fragments in relationship to each other in order to puzzle out lost histories, particularly those of women. Navigating the peril and excitement of outward journeys complicated by an inward longing for home, The Wet Collection follows Tevis through several adventures that coalesce into a narrative imbued with the light of Tevis’s Southern upbringing. Written with a poet’s lyricism, a scientist’s precision, and a theologian’s understanding of the world as it shifts around us, The Wet Collection is the exciting debut of a distinctive voice.


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Using such models as Joseph Cornell’s box constructions, crazy quilts, and specimen displays, Joni Tevis places fragments in relationship to each other in order to puzzle out lost histories, particularly those of women. Navigating the peril and excitement of outward journeys complicated by an inward longing for home, The Wet Collection follows Tevis through several adventu Using such models as Joseph Cornell’s box constructions, crazy quilts, and specimen displays, Joni Tevis places fragments in relationship to each other in order to puzzle out lost histories, particularly those of women. Navigating the peril and excitement of outward journeys complicated by an inward longing for home, The Wet Collection follows Tevis through several adventures that coalesce into a narrative imbued with the light of Tevis’s Southern upbringing. Written with a poet’s lyricism, a scientist’s precision, and a theologian’s understanding of the world as it shifts around us, The Wet Collection is the exciting debut of a distinctive voice.

30 review for The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    These are not essays exactly, but not short stories either. I think I would call them imagined non-fictions. Tevis has worked as a park ranger, selling cemetery plots, and as a factory worker. She brings her experiences into these pieces. If I read that kind of summary on a book blurb, I would expect this to read more like the "journalist needs a paycheck so her publisher pays for her to have an adventure" type of book that I hate. That isn't what this is at all. These are heartfelt, connected t These are not essays exactly, but not short stories either. I think I would call them imagined non-fictions. Tevis has worked as a park ranger, selling cemetery plots, and as a factory worker. She brings her experiences into these pieces. If I read that kind of summary on a book blurb, I would expect this to read more like the "journalist needs a paycheck so her publisher pays for her to have an adventure" type of book that I hate. That isn't what this is at all. These are heartfelt, connected to memory and family more than just the experience itself, and the emotion runs deep. My favorite pieces in this collection are Building a Funeral, The Rain Follows the Plow, and I Keep a Jar of Clay Beside My Bed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The books we read for book club are always high-caliber, so aside from not knowing what to expect from a book such as this, I had the highest of expectations. It suffices to say, then, that The Wet Collection more than exceeded my expectations. Infused with rich language, personal stories, family stories, histories real and imagined, Biblical references, Southern references, historical and natural references - this collection of essays covers a large portion of my favorite things. How could I no The books we read for book club are always high-caliber, so aside from not knowing what to expect from a book such as this, I had the highest of expectations. It suffices to say, then, that The Wet Collection more than exceeded my expectations. Infused with rich language, personal stories, family stories, histories real and imagined, Biblical references, Southern references, historical and natural references - this collection of essays covers a large portion of my favorite things. How could I not love an author who mentions Shipley Donuts and Avery Island and countless other things that make me miss my home? Building a Funeral and The Rain Follows the Plow, the two longest selections, were my favorites. The first, because it described a place I am very familiar with, and the second, because it described a place I have only been to once but which has left such an indelible mark on me that her words make me ache to return. I could drink these words in again and again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Thank you, Colleen, for lending me this book (and being so patient as I read it at the last possible minute before returning it to you). Colleen read this book for the Short Forms class this past spring semester, a class I wish I could have taken, but my non-fiction seminar met in the same time slot, and I wanted to work with this particular professor. This book is lovely--writing in ways I admire. I love the ways in which the book crosses genres--some pieces feel like a string of prose poems, o Thank you, Colleen, for lending me this book (and being so patient as I read it at the last possible minute before returning it to you). Colleen read this book for the Short Forms class this past spring semester, a class I wish I could have taken, but my non-fiction seminar met in the same time slot, and I wanted to work with this particular professor. This book is lovely--writing in ways I admire. I love the ways in which the book crosses genres--some pieces feel like a string of prose poems, other essays take imaginative leaps and create the world of the past, some are simply pieces recounting personal experiences. Rich with the kind of specific detail I love, rich with the natural world I adore being in, this book felt good to read, made me want to write myself, which is the best kind of compliment I can give to a book. I look forward to seeing what Tevis does next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Craig Reinbold

    http://essaydaily.blogspot.com/2011/1... http://essaydaily.blogspot.com/2011/1...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I found several of the essays in this book moving and sacred.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brad Erickson

    A nice little discovery of essays and non-fiction. She grew up in Easley.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book came so highly recommended to me that it would have had to have been magical to satisfy my expectations. It wasn't (so often true of books by Milkweed--they are adjacent to great, but not great). It was very good in many places, and mediocre in equally many others. I was even bored occasionally. But it was different enough from the standard that I'm giving it 4 stars for the high points. This book came so highly recommended to me that it would have had to have been magical to satisfy my expectations. It wasn't (so often true of books by Milkweed--they are adjacent to great, but not great). It was very good in many places, and mediocre in equally many others. I was even bored occasionally. But it was different enough from the standard that I'm giving it 4 stars for the high points.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Xilks

    This was also assigned for a class. Read quite a few select passages. I'd say at least half the book. Some time I'd like to come back and read it with more time and patience to get a better feel and understanding rather than being rushed though. I didn't really care for all of the Christian undertone comments. Perhaps because I'm not strongly religious and I don't feel like I was getting the full meaning of the book. Either way, it was an interesting read. This was also assigned for a class. Read quite a few select passages. I'd say at least half the book. Some time I'd like to come back and read it with more time and patience to get a better feel and understanding rather than being rushed though. I didn't really care for all of the Christian undertone comments. Perhaps because I'm not strongly religious and I don't feel like I was getting the full meaning of the book. Either way, it was an interesting read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Matthewson

    Lyrical essays and short prose pieces with exquisite language and syntax. A rich collection of nonfiction rooted in the natural world. Beautiful imagined histories as well. There were times I got lost in the language and couldn't find my way out. The first half of the book is very good. Interesting structures for her essays. The collection is loosely linked. Lyrical essays and short prose pieces with exquisite language and syntax. A rich collection of nonfiction rooted in the natural world. Beautiful imagined histories as well. There were times I got lost in the language and couldn't find my way out. The first half of the book is very good. Interesting structures for her essays. The collection is loosely linked.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brienna

    This collection of essays varies quite widely in style and form--some essays are in short sections, some are autobiographical. Tevis has an excellent command of language, and has had a crazily wide array of jobs.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I enjoyed most of the essays in this book, although there were a few that didn't quite hold my attention. Still, I think it was full of interesting pieces, and displayed, for me, another way of looking at the world. I enjoyed most of the essays in this book, although there were a few that didn't quite hold my attention. Still, I think it was full of interesting pieces, and displayed, for me, another way of looking at the world.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Key

    Brilliant. The Wet Collection is one of the best works of creative non-fiction that I have led all year. I loved its meditative quality and style. I can certainly see myself using some of these essays with students in the future.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary & Tom

    An extraordinary collection of essays by a gifted writer.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    "Going home is traveling in time to a life I once had; it should be impossible, wrought by spell casting if at all, to visit these places I see in dreams." Good stuff. "Going home is traveling in time to a life I once had; it should be impossible, wrought by spell casting if at all, to visit these places I see in dreams." Good stuff.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    This collection is a bit uneven -- in some cases a little too oblique -- but the good stuff is really good. I envy Tevis her sense memory and descriptive eloquence.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Brown

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Barelli

  18. 4 out of 5

    miss willoughby

  19. 5 out of 5

    Crystal-lee-m

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Brooks

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Roper

  22. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Micah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leona

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz Scheid

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

  28. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Chandler

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

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