My guest this week on Word Patriots is Wayne Fields. For more than four decades, Wayne has been a professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. His scholarly focus includes rhetoric, American literature, non-fiction prose, and American political discourse. He has worn many hats at the university, serving as English department chair, dean of University College, and director of its Master of Liberal Arts Program. Countless former and current students look up to Professor Fields as an instructor and mentor, including myself. Many years ago, he sat on my MFA dissertation defense committee along with William Gass and the late Donald Finkel. Wayne is a textbook example of a Word Patriot. His publications include the memoir, “What the River Knows: An Angler in Midstream,” the short story collection “The Past Leads a Life of Its Own,” and “Union of Words: A History of Presidential Eloquence.” His articles on subjects ranging from contemporary politics to the American prairie have been published in periodicals such as “American Heritage” and “Playboy.” He also served as editor for “James Fenimore Cooper: A Collection of Critical Essays.” Fields writes nimble, lyrical sentences, no less philosophical or provocative for being lucid and musical. Images, drawn from nature but far more than natural, glide through his prose and tell their own stories. The autobiographical meditation “What the River Knows” concerns an arduous journey Fields undertook at the age of forty-two, when, toting fly rod and creel, he waded the near twenty-mile stretch of Cook’s Run, a small river in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “The Past Leads a Life of Its Own” is a series of interrelated stories focusing on one boy’s childhood in the rural Midwest in the 1950s. It is also a meditation on memory and its distortions, of what we retain and what is inevitably lost. If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: www.markseinfelt.com. Also be sure to take a look at Amazon’s Wayne Fields page: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AWayne+Fields&keywords=Wayne+Fields&ie=UTF8&qid=1315845859&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B000APVAHC.