Senior Moments: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Hardcover | September 13, 2016

byWillard Spiegelman

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A moving collection of essays on aging and happiness

Drawing on more than six decades' worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Willard Spiegelman reflects with candid humor and sophistication on growing old. Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead.

Spiegelman's expertly crafted book considers, with wisdom and elegance, how to be alert to the joys that brim from unexpected places even as death draws near. Senior Moments is a foray into the felicity and follies that age brings; a consideration of how and what one reads or rereads in late adulthood; the eagerness for, and disappointment in, long-awaited reunions, at which the past comes alive in the present. A clear-eyed book of memories, written in eight searching and courageously honest essays, Senior Moments is guaranteed to stimulate, stir, and restore.

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From the Publisher

A moving collection of essays on aging and happinessDrawing on more than six decades' worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Willard Spiegelman reflects with candid humor and sophistication on growing old. Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man ...

Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From 1984 until 2016, he was also the editor in chief of Southwest Review. He has written many books and essays about English and American poetry. For more than a quarter century he has been a regular contributor to the Leisure & Arts page...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.41 × 146.3 × 0.81 inPublished:September 13, 2016Publisher:Farrar, Straus And GirouxLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374261229

ISBN - 13:9780374261221

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Editorial Reviews

"Willard Spiegelman's Senior Moments is a work of deep seriousness and profundity delivered with lightness, moral poise, and a warm, witty, conversational humility. It is dulce et utile both-a balm to the reader thinking (or trying to think) about ageing and mortality; and a practical guide to some of the surprising, hardy-perennial pleasures that can unexpectedly survive and deepen, even as one's hours, days, months, years, dwindle. Spiegelman is cherishable in the same friendly, yet paradoxical, way Montaigne is-robustly sad, joyfully unillusioned, and yet alive to life in a manner that both consoles and delights." -Terry Castle, author of The Professor: A Sentimental Education"With 'Senior Moments', Willard Spiegelman gives us one of the most poignant and amusing accounts of what it's really like to go through that rite of passage that is the twelfth grade. From choosing a college, to finals, to the prom, he . . . wait. What? It's not that? Oh. Um, can I get back to you?" -Chip Kidd"Aging is our universal condition: the only question is whether we approach our seniority kicking and screaming or proceed with some degree of style and, let us hope, capacity for happiness. Spiegelman's wise, witty, spirited essays show how we might work our way over to the style-and-happiness route, and are as good a guide for living well-at any age-as any other that I know." -Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"They say we are living in a golden age of the personal essay, and it's true . . . Walk with Willard through New York, Tokyo, Dallas, his personal library, museums-walk with Willard through life." -Mark Oppenheimer, author of Knocking on Heaven's Door"Spiegelman makes a reliable ambassador for the changes that advancing years bring, animated by gratitude and warmly ready for further inquiry: he might be giving, and making more achievable, Pope's famous advice: "Keep good humor still, whate'er we lose." -Stephen Burt, author of The Art of the Sonnet"Willard Spiegelman is a wise old soul." -Raymond Sokolov, author of Why We Eat What We Eat"A book so vivid and personable that one has the impression of sitting across a dinner table from its author. He talks to us in a tone at once convivial and elegiac as he addresses some of life's biggest questions: What makes us happy? How can we make the best use of our brief lifetimes? To tackle these, Spiegelman brings to bear his vast erudition, humane intelligence, wit, and personal candor. The result is a beautiful and wise book about making daily life a meaningful pleasure." -Rhonda Garelick, author of Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History"Senior Moments takes us on a learned, witty meander from "Talk" to "Quiet," passing through Dallas, Japan, New York City, books, and art along the way. He treads so lightly, it takes a while to notice that this is a guidebook to aging and preparation-with grace and sweetness-for the final silence." -Rosanna Warren, author of Ghost in a Red Hat: Poems"Willard Spiegelman writes essays like Ferran Adria approached "molecular" gastronomy, with conscious, understated artistry." -Bill Thompson, The Charleston Post and Courier"He's an agreeable, wise and witty companion -- edifying, fun and fearless as he proffers lessons in happiness and aging learned during his long, distinguished career." -The Dallas Morning News "Mr. Spiegelman adopts the discursive, finely crafted voice of a literature professor, revealing a penchant for aphorism and allusion." -Wall Street Journal "[Willard Spiegelman is] a master of form . . . connecting the personal to the universal." "[Senior Moments is ]a sophisticated and fun read . . . a comfort, and a joy, to learn that someone with a sharp wit and even sharper mind has considered the questions, blazed a trail, and created a thoughtful record of the journey." -Ocala Star Banner "Lucid and propulsive, opening portals to heightened enjoyment of the time we have." -Kirkus Reviews"Spiegelman writes with a casual, engaging style and frequently punctuates his paragraphs with references to literature that crystallize his ideas. Readers will find this volume rich with relatable insights." -Publishers Weekly"Readers of a similar age will savor his delight in language and life as he ponders the past and peers into the future." -Booklist"I can think of no one better to help me adjust to getting older . . . This is a delightful book of essays." -Glen Roven, The Huffington Post"[Spiegelman] takes himself lightly and brings fresh energy to an appreciation of many subjects. . . with conversational whimsy and genuine gratitude for the people, places, ideas, and memories they inspire. . . The author draws on an equal blend of critical rigor and love for his themes." -Library Journal"Well-written essays by an elder who is very skilled at weaving together the experiences of his life . . . Creative and wise." -Spirituality and Practice