Words in Place

Reconnecting with nature through creative writing

Paul Matthews



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Words in Place is a nine-week writing course that follows a path through the realms of nature, from mineral to plants, animal, and people. By exploring the qualities of each, Words in Place encourages the writer to find a unique, authentic voice and to forge a new relationship the inner and outer worlds.

Paul Matthews offers a rich variety of creative techniques and exercises, including "haiku hikes," word and story games, written conversation, collaborative writing, and "tiny tales."

The reader will enjoy this powerful and unusual book both for its help in connecting with nature and for its insights into imagination and the poets and writers who created the literary geography of East Sussex, the author’s home.


  • WEEK ONE: Opening Our Senses to Each Other and the World
  • WEEK TWO: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire
  • WEEK THREE: Turning a New Leaf
  • WEEK FOUR: The Flowering Garden and Our Responses to It
  • WEEK FIVE: The Animal in Nature
  • WEEK SIX: Giving Voice to the Animals
  • WEEK SEVEN: Being Human
  • WEEK EIGHT: The Story We Belong to
  • WEEK NINE: Walking Back the Way We Came

A Child's Christmas in Wales

Dylan Thomas

Illustrated by Edward Ardizzone



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What to say about this great tale of Christmas with Aunts in the kitchen and Uncles in the parlor, of snowballs and cats, fires and dinner gongs, and the myriad other adventures available to a wide-eyed child in snowy, Christmas-y Wales? Actually, I don't know quite what to say, other than if you haven't read it yet, do. You'll love it. If you have read it, well, do read it again -- it is too jam-packed with delight and love not to go back to at least once a year, especially at Christmas time.

This edition is the one with the very best, right-on-target illustrations, just right for the story and just lovely on their own.

As an invitation for more fun (and to remind those who've read it why it's such a frolic), here's the opening page:

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Dante to Dead Man Walking

One Reader's Journey through the Christian Classics

Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.



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My definition of spiritual is broad. The books that follow are spiritual classics in that, with the exception of a few published within the last decade, they have worked their magic on centuries and generations of readers. They speak to the human spirit, to that divine gift by which we transcend the limitations imposed by our self-absorption, our narrow-mindedness and our moral cowardice. If we approach a book in the way Karl Rahner says we should approach life - fully open to human experience and God's grace - it can transform us in much the same way that a friend, a teacher, or a coach can help us become something we have not been before.

- from the author's Introduction

Reading this book is like taking a guided tour of some of the greatest works of literature Western Civilization has produced. And having a guide who is expert beyond any reasonable expectation!

There are 50 essays covering 50 authors or works - a sampling of those discussed ranges from The Book of Genesis to Dante Alighieri to Dostoyevsky, James Joyce, Willa Cather, Evelyn Waugh, Edward Steichen, C. S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, Shusaku Endo. Of course, there are many more. Schroth's essays go right to the heart of the matter -- what is it about the subject that is exciting, that keeps the author and his/her work alive in our hearts, that moves us forward as we read?

If you like literature, you'll love this book!

Book of the Heart

The Poetics, Letters, and Life of John Keats

Andrés Rodríguez



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Keats stands as a prophetic precursor behind much in today's radical attempts at cultural and self-transformation. Unfortunately, he is remembered, if at all, mostly as a Romantic poet whose value and standing was magnified by his early death. Eclipsed by the lushly sensuous affection of his poems, the real meaning of his life and the greatness of his achievement in poetics - how one makes sense out of experience - has been ignored.

Now Andrés Rodríguez redresses the balance by granting to Keats' Letters their huge intellectual and spiritual labor. In these Letters, among the most inspiring spiritual documents of the West, we see the poet forming and transforming a passionate life of great joys and sorrows into a self of imagination and power.

Book of the Heart gives the Letters the central place in our literature they deserve. This is a book--for all kinds of readers--about the power of the life of imagination.

-Robert Hass

A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe

The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science

Michael S. Schneider



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Looking for ways to share the glorious beauty of mathematics with your students? Or to inspire yourself with the wonder of creation? This is your book.

Michael Schneider leads us on a spectacular, lavishly illustrated journey along the numbers one through ten to explore the mathematical principles made visible in flowers, shells, crystals, plants, and the human body, expressed in the symbolic language of folk sayings and fairy tales, myth and religion, art and architecture. Here is a comprehensive guide to the patterns that recur throughout the universe and underlie human affairs.

Among the many things you will see and learn are:

  • Why cans, pizza, and manhole covers are round.
  • Why one and two weren't considered numbers by the ancient Greeks.
  • Why squares show up so often in goddess art and board games.
  • What property makes the spiral the most widespread shape in nature, from embryos and hair curls to hurricanes and galaxies.
  • How the human body shares the design of a bean plant and the solar system.
  • How a snowflake is like Stonehenge, and a beehive like a calendar.
  • How our ten fingers hold the secrets of both a lobster and a cathedral.

And there's much, much more. This is a resource you'll turn to again and again - a dazzling revelation of the beauty of creation.