Some Things I Forgot To Mention

Well, I had several poems in an anthology of “Four American Poets” awhile back, a few that are weird experiments (poems incorporating words from Virginia Woolf and poems about animals by Adrienne Rich, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Blake, Marianne Moore and also a poem that somewhat by contrast, uses words from the refrigerator poetry application on Facebook!), a few that have been set to music by a jazz musician and composer, and a longer poem with four sections that is most similar to T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, if it is similar to anything.  You can find more here:

I also have a poem called Enveloped in Whale-Lines in an anthology of works inspired by Moby Dick:  This poem is constructed almost entirely of words I found in the text of the novel.

And at some point in the near-ish future, I will have a poem in an anthology of poetry by women put together by the A Room of Her Own Foundation.

I have spent the last 2-3 years focused on fiction but I am hoping to write some new poems soon!


‘The Word Pretty’ Is So Smart, It Hurts

My review of Elisa Gabbert’s collection of essays “The Word Pretty” for Chicago Review of Books.

Chicago Review of Books

In “On The Pleasures of Front Matter,” an essay in her new collection, The Word Pretty, Elisa Gabbert discusses a heated debate she inadvertently sparked on Twitter after posting the question “Is there an epigraph that you think of as absolutely necessary?” She writes that “[a] number of people responded in defense of the epigraph… though I hadn’t meant to imply that an epigraph shouldn’t be there if it isn’t necessary.”

Along similar lines, in the essay “Title TK,” Gabbert argues that book titles “make the book better, by telling you how to think of it.  Like a detail of a painting, they enlarge what’s important.” These quotes jumped out at me because of the way the title of this bookfulfills both functions, highlighting Gabbert’s priorities in a fundamental way, while giving you a sense of what she intends to come back to again and again throughout The…

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Poet-Librarian Anthology News

I have an essay coming out in this new anthology of writing by poet-librarians: – in my essay, I discuss the way library workers are portrayed in Edith Wharton’s novella Summer, Philip Larkin’s novel A Girl in Winter, the movie Desk Set, and the tv show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  In the course of this discussion, I look at the clash between traditional stereotypes of what a library is and what librarians do, and the way library work and libraries are re-shaping themselves in response to the vast changes in how information is communicated in the digital age.

The Garden of Evil

Back in November, my short story, “The Garden of Evil,” won Moment Magazine‘s annual Short Fiction contest.  This story is part of a collection of linked stories, “The Fallen Ones,” that I have been working on for many years, so I was really pleased to have it published, especially since it has always been the story from the group that I felt the most nervous about, because the subject matter is so important that I wanted to be sure that it was exactly right.  You can read the story here:

New Fiction: The Winter Garden

My story, “The Winter Garden,” is up at Queen Mob’s Teahouse here: – this is a story that I first wrote in the spring of 2000, at 24, that is only now being published in 2017, when I am 41.  I mention that only because the story contains the perspective of three women of different ages, so it’s interesting and a little strange to have passed from being only a little older than the youngest character to about the age of one of the two older women.  It’s also a story, that although still challenging, was probably a little “harsher” when I first wrote it, in the tone of the ending of Irene’s section and her eagerness to get away.  I think I felt at the time that the tougher it was the realer it was, but time has pushed me towards being more tender, which says nothing to what is real or not real, only to what felt right within the confines of this particular story and the reality it creates.  It would have been possible to go the other direction, from tenderness to increased harshness, and that would have been just as valid.  If this story had been published earlier, I don’t think it would have been a worse story, but it would be a different story.  For some readers, it might even be a better story; it is hard to say.  Publication is in a strange way like a kind of death for a piece of fiction, the moment when it is arrested in time, when it is fixed into a form that will never change. The writer may always be haunted by the echoes of cut sentences or even characters or changed settings or plot points or altered tone but to the reader, none of that ever existed – they are ghosts that appear only to one person, while everyone else in the room doesn’t hear or see anything at all.

Review of Henry Green’s “Caught”

My review of Henry Green’s wartime novel, Caught, is up at the Rumpus today here. First published in 1942, Green describes the novel as follows:

“This book is about the Auxiliary Fire Service which saved London in her night blitzes, and bears no relation, or resemblance, to the National Fire Service, which took over when raids on London had ended.

The characters, while founded on the reality of that time, are not drawn from life. They are all imaginary men and women. In this book only 1940 in London is real. It is the effect of that time that I have written into the fiction of Caught.”

We are so used to reading novels and movies that are written and created long after the events they describe and portray; it is worthwhile to read a novel like Caught that is the product of the uncertain time of the event itself.

Boil Madder

A collaboration I did with photographer Alex Norelli is up here at 7x7la.  How it worked is that Alex sent me a photograph, then I wrote a short text in response, then he took another photograph, then I wrote another short text, and so forth for seven “turns” each in total.  I am really happy with how this turned out.  It was interesting because I did want to have some kind of framework in mind but to maintain spontaneity as well, and that’s how I ended up with the loose framework of thinking of each turn as a day.  But I also didn’t want to get too formulaic about it and so that’s why I didn’t stick with a consistent phrasing of the sentence where I mentioned which day it was.  I hope you enjoy it!