Introduction

Carl H. Klaus, Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa and founder of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, is primarily an author of journals that chronicle significant personal experience in the form of essays rather than notes and jottings. In addition to essayistic journals, he has written about role-playing and impersonation in essays and other kinds of nonfiction prose.  Information about each of his books can be found on the right-hand side of this page, and excerpts from each of them can be found by clicking on the available links.

Forthcoming Fall 2021

The Ninth Decade: An Octogenarian’s Chronicle

Klaus’s newest work is a unique account of octogenarian life. On his eightieth birthday, eager to know about life after eighty, he could not find any chronological accounts by researchers or by eighty-year-olds themselves—the fastest growing demographic in the industrialized world. So, he decided to produce a chronological record of his octogenarian experience. Covering eight years in six-month installments, The Ninth Decade provides a detailed account not only of his life and survival routines, but also of his loving companion Jackie, strikingly different from him in her physical well-being, practical outlook, sociable temperament, and vigorous workouts. Cameos of their octogenarian friends and relatives near and far produce a wide-ranging portrayal of advanced aging, as do bios of notable octogenarians. Thus, The Ninth Decade is a work of potential interest to people in their sixties, seventies, and eighties; persons devoted to care of the aged, such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers; as well as specialists in the study of aging. Although it bears witness to the challenges of octogenarian life, The Ninth Decade also shows the pleasures of longevity to be so special that Lillian Hellman described “longer life” as “the happy problem of our time.” [An excerpt from The Ninth Decade is available via links on this page and the book excerpts page here. ]

Advance Praise

“Carl Klaus, to whom all American essayists should be indebted for his ruminations on the form, has blessed us with a scouting report of what lies ahead for those lucky enough to make it to our eighties—in prose that is intimate, warm, impeccably honest, flavorful and attentive to the minute surprises of daily life.”—Phillip Lopate, editor, The Glorious American Essay”