Anne Goldman

Coffee Table Talk


"The Kingdom of the Medusae" has been named a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2017 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2017.

Read the flash fiction, "Hurry Up, Please" on the Tin House blog as well as in The Guardian online, 11/20/16:

"Travels with Jane Eyre" has been named a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2015 and The Best American Travel Writing 2015. A blog about the writing of this piece, "Language Seizing Time," is posted on the Georgia Review's homepage. You can find it here:

"Stargazing in the Atomic Age" has been featured in the "Vault" on The Georgia Review's website. The essay earned a "notable" in Best American Essays 2007 and was nominated for a National Magazine Award.

"Souvenirs of Stone" has been recognized as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2014.  The essay can be ordered by calling the Southwest Review at (214) 768-1037 or by emailing the journal at: Here is an excerpt:

     In the Bay Area, cars pummel the roadways at all hours. Below the tar and concrete, slip-strike faults keep the rocks trembling in torque. Earth movements raise mountains; erosion levels them; faulting builds up new peaks and ranges. Not even Proteus can keep pace with stone’s ceaseless morphing: in Berkeley as elsewhere, igneous rock changes into sedimentary or metamorphic rock; sedimentary rock transforms into igneous or metamorphic rock; metamorphic rock weathers into sediments or sacrifices its rigid outlines when plate movements push it back toward earth’s core. Shale compacts into schist. The chalky shells of ancient sea animals meld themselves into marble. Heat reduces granite to glowing syrup, and then pressure veins its fractures with gold. Minerals seep up from earth’s mantle, solidifying into rocky masses at the edges of continental plates. Faulting bends these strata of stone downward into arcs geologists call “anticlines”—or the layers warp upward into the crescent shapes of “synclines.” Syncline, anticline, syncline, anticline: if time-lapse photography could make eons advance like days, the curves in a mountain’s cross-section might mimic moon-phases. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s craft shattered Ozymandias into a “colossal wreck.” Give wind and rain enough time and they will weird mesas into ruins as strange as his pharaoh’s trunkless legs and broken smile.
     One hundred and forty-five million years ago—last week on earth’s calendar—tectonic movements began to heave the coast range near my Berkeley flat into being. One hundred million years earlier, the bits of ocean floor and volcanic material earthquakes would eventually push up into San Francisco’s hills had not drifted far enough east to create the accordion folds of the Sierra. In those long-ago days, the Pacific lapped the land where Las Vegas sits. In our own age, rock grates under the Cliff House Restaurant at the western edge of San Francisco where I sometimes sit, wine glass in hand, to watch the sunset. By this quivering coastline I have attended college, married, and welcomed my family drift west one by one to settle;  I have had a child, gone to graduate school, got divorced, and watched my daughter enter college in her turn. But geologically speaking my home is still in its infancy. The hills south of Pescadero near Duarte’s Tavern where I ate artichokes and olallieberry pie with my Aunt Margie and Uncle Butch; the sloping ground by which the red steel cables of the Golden Gate Bridge rise; the ridge of trees I watched materialize from morning fog the summer I spent in Arcata studying for my exams—all of this ground is composed of chert and pillow basalt and green-glazed serpentine, a mixture geologists call an “ophiolite sequence” and which they find the world over where plate slides under plate.