It is no secret to anyone who teaches writing, researches writing, or simply writes that language conveys meaning not only through the words and images on the page (or screen) but also through their very absence. In the words of Stuart Hall (1985), “Meaning is relational within an ideological system of presences and absences.” If we see writing in dialogic, Bakhtinian terms, it can be said (as do Nystrand, Greene, & Wiemelt, 1993) that “writers and readers work constantly to weigh what is said or what needs to be said against what can be (and perhaps must be) left unsaid in a given textual exchange,” or, as Rommetveit (1974) puts it: “perhaps ellipsis is the prototypical structure of linguistic communication after all” (Nystrand et al., 1993). Rhetoricians, writing scholars, discourse analysts, and others are of course well aware of the power of silence; for example, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, in their magisterial The New Rhetoric (1969), note that “the importance of presence [i.e., explicit elements] in argumentation has a negative as well as a positive aspect: deliberate suppression of presence is an equally noteworthy phenomenon, deserving of detailed study” (p. 118). Nonetheless, despite a number of book-length treatments of the subject (Picard, 1948; Dauenhauer, 1980; Tannen & Saville-Troike, 1985; Jaworski, 1993; Kalamaras, 1994; Montiglio, 2000; Farmer, 2001; Glenn, 2004), it remains what Glenn has called an “underexamined rhetorical art.” In particular, little has been done in the way of close textual analysis-the kind of analysis that can be readily put to use in writing pedagogy. If silence is so rhetorically powerful, and if its power is so widely recognized, why has so little attention been paid to it? Why, as Glenn puts it, is it so “underexamined”? I think the answer to that intriguing question resides in the simple fact of material availability: it’s difficult to analyze something that’s “not there,” especially for writing researchers and teachers whose stock-in-trade is looking closely at actual words on the page. For this reason, I have devoted much of my work on textual silences over the years to developing a theoretically informed methodological foundation for further research in this area. The pedagogical goal of the work is to sensitize students to the rhetorical power of the unsaid, thus making them more critical readers and more conscientious writers, especially in their ability to construct arguments about important public issues.