This collection of Paule Marshall's short works illustrates the growth of a remarkable writer. For the first time these stories, long out of print or difficult to obtain, appear together in a single volume. Introducing the volume is Marshall's much acclaimed autobiographical essay, "From the Poets in the Kitchen" from the New York Times Book Review's series called "The Making of a Writer." This collection included newly written autobiographical headnotes to each story and "Merle," a novella excerpted from Marshall's 1969 novel, The Chosen Place, The Timeless People, and extensively reshaped and rewritten for this collection. It stands as an independent story about one of the most memorable women in contemporary fiction.