A Harp in the Stars


A Harp in the Stars

An Anthology of Lyric Essays

Edited by Randon Billings Noble

310 pages
17 illustrations


October 2021


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2021


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2021


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

2021 Foreword Indies Honorable Mention for Essays

What is a lyric essay? An essay that has a lyrical style? An essay that plays with form in a way that resembles poetry more than prose? Both of these? Or something else entirely? The works in this anthology show lyric essays rely more on intuition than exposition, use image more than narration, and question more than answer. But despite all this looseness, the lyric essay still has responsibilities—to try to reveal something, to play with ideas, or to show a shift in thinking, however subtle. The whole of a lyric essay adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

In A Harp in the Stars, Randon Billings Noble has collected lyric essays written in four different forms—flash, segmented, braided, and hermit crab—from a range of diverse writers. The collection also includes a section of craft essays—lyric essays about lyric essays. And because lyric essays can be so difficult to pin down, each contributor has supplemented their work with a short meditation on this boundary-breaking form.

Author Bio

Randon Billings Noble is on the faculty of the MFA in Nonfiction Program at Goucher College and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She is the author of Be with Me Always: Essays (Nebraska, 2019) and the chapbook Devotional.


"As much of a reference book as a thrilling read."—Poets and Writers

"These are literary dishes to savor slowly and thoroughly, in order to fully appreciate their ingredients, as you enter into the experience that each passage offers. This is a resource that writers, students, teachers, and readers can refer to again and again, whether in search of instruction, inspiration, or a new way of interpreting their lives."—Fran Levin, nycbigcitylit.com

"This anthology is a treasure chest of daring ways to take one's voice to the page."—Celia Jeffries, Brevity

"Whether a product of the limbic system of the brain, where emotions and memories are processed, or of a conscious response to formal constraints, the lyric essay is highly attuned and deeply suited to making sense of things. A Harp in the Stars helps the reader make sense of things. Its neon flashes: You are not alone."—Alison Powell, Colorado Review

"The contributions represent a range of experiences and each essay brings a different perception of the form of a lyric essay. . . . I highly recommend A Harp in the Stars edited by Randon Billings Noble for those interested in writing and reading lyric essays."—Alexa Josaphouitch, Hippocampus Magazine

“I’ve been searching for a book like this for over twenty years. Its remarkable dazzle—a sharp, eclectic anthology combined with whip-smart craft essays—carves out a fascinating look into the bright heart of what the lyric essay can be.”—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

“Perhaps the best way to define the lyric essay—a notoriously borderless, slippery literary form—is to gather several dozen finely written examples that invite the reader to engage in acts of mapping and naming themselves. This anthology does just that, with the added bonuses of thought-provoking craft pieces with decidedly lyric bents and a special attention to intersections of the lyric and the personal. I can easily imagine assigning this book in any forward-thinking class, graduate or undergraduate, that involves writing or analyzing expressive prose.”—Elena Passarello, author of Let Me Clear My Throat: Essays

“Randon Billings Noble has assembled a stellar collection of lyric essays that truly highlights the best these forms have to offer. This book will be pulled from my shelf again and again—for my own reading and as a resource for my students.”—Brenda Miller, author of An Earlier Life

Table of Contents

Randon Billings Noble
Diane Seuss
Immortal Wound
Jericho Parms
Sarah Minor
Sarah Perry
Lidia Yuknavitch
Re: Sometime after 5:00 p.m. on a Wednesday in the Middle of Autumn
Daniel Garcia
Searching for Gwen
Laurie Easter
This Is the Room Where
Nels P. Highberg
The Boys of New Delhi: An Essay in Four Hurts
Sayantani Dasgupta
The Wait(ress)
Amy Roost
Beasts of the Fields
Aimée Baker
In My Brother’s Shadow
Talea Anderson
Mash-Up: A Family Album
Sarah Viren
Katie Manning
Susanna Donato
Eric Tran
Scars, Silence, and Dian Fossey
Angie Chuang
Layla Benitez-James
Amy Bowers
Elementary Primer
Michael Dowdy
The Punch
Christopher Linforth
Intersectional Landscapes
Kristina Gaddy
My Mother’s Mother
Davon Loeb
Apocalypse Logic
Elissa Washuta
The Sound of Things Breaking
Ru Freeman
Self-Portrait in Apologies
Sarah Einstein
Fragment: Strength
Casandra López
Body Wash: Instructions on Surviving Homelessness
Dorothy Bendel
Informed Consent
Elizabeth K. Brown
Thanks, but No
Emily Brisse
Frida’s Circle
Dinty W. Moore
A Catalog of Faith
Kelsey Inouye
Practical Magic: A Beginner’s Grimoire
Rowan McCandless
Depends on Who You Ask
Sandra Beasley
Against Fidelity
Leslie Jill Patterson
Loss Collection
Lia Purpura
I’m No Sidney Poitier
Curtis Smith
Why I Let Him Touch My Hair
Tyrese L. Coleman
Christen Noel Kauffman
Of a Confession, Sketched from Ten Vignettes
LaTanya McQueen
The Heart as a Torn Muscle
Randon Billings Noble
On Beauty Interrupted
Marsha McGregor
Late Bloom
Caitlin Myer
The Last Cricket
Steve Edwards
Craft Essays
Success in Circuit: Lyric Essay as Labyrinth
Heidi Czerwiec
Finding Your Voice
Marina Blitshteyn
Lying in the Lyric
Chelsey Clammer
Chance Operations
Maya Sonenberg
On the EEO Genre Sheet
Jenny Boully
What’s Missing Here
Julie Marie Wade
Source Acknowledgments


2021 Foreword Indies Honorable Mention for Essays

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