About Me

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My work can be found in REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, New Delta Review, and Gargoyle #57, among others. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. Currently, I'm an Associate editor for Narrative Magazine. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


There is an excellent review of "The Apple's Bruise" by writer Julie Benesh at Moorishgirl today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Stephanie Anagnoson has an excellent article on Spirituality in the Workplace

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


The new issue of Bonfire is available for your reading pleasure.


New work up at Salome by the talented Michelle Garren Flye.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Living in North Carolina, and being a writer, I'd heard about the tragic, too-early death of Amanda Davis. I've had both her books, "Circling the Drain," and "Wonder When You'll Miss Me," for a while now. A couple of days ago I picked her novel to read, and just as I suspected, even more really, I was blown away by both the power of the novel, by the incredible talent Amanda Davis had, and deeply saddened that someone who offered so much of herself is no longer on this earth. At least her spirit will live on indefinitely through her words. Of that I have no doubt.

Amanda Davis

Saturday, June 25, 2005


A new short fiction from the talented Alicia Gifford at Opium.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


New lit mag reviews at New Pages.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Illuminate: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That

Knowing that I loved Lisa Glatt's story collection, The Apple's Bruise I figured I would enjoy her novel A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That, I just didn't know how much I would love it. It's really a novel-in-stories or a collection of linked stories as each story could stand on its own and some already have been published in literary journals. The main character, Rachel Sparks, cannot seem to connect to any one man, at least while she's busy holding on to her dying mother. Georgia, a young bright teenager, gives herself away too often and easily and gains nothing but venereal deseases and unwanted pregnancies but still manages to keep her dignity. Emma, a student poet, works at the women's clinic and is married to a cheating bat scientist. Angela, friend of Rachel, is prone to allergic reactions that make her lips "swell up to look like a vagina" and her face and body break out in severe hives. In the background of Rachel's life is this young man in her poetry classes that keeps showing up with offers of friendship and support.

The writing really shines and the honesty is heartbreaking. I loved reading every word.


Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers' Network reviews Laila Lalami's upcoming short story collection, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

Thanks to Mary Akers for the link.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


An interview with Ha Jin at AGNI

Friday, June 17, 2005


Two poems by Olena K. Davis.

Thanks to Amber Curtis of the fabulous Cranky for the suggestion I check out Olena's work. I just bought "And Her Soul Out of Nothing." Cranky's issue 6, due out in September will feature an interview with the award-winning Ms. Davis.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Illuminate: "Embroideries"

Yesterday I bought a copy of "Embroideries" by Marjane Satrapi. I'd actually seen a recommendation by my friend Laila Lalami on her literary blog and it sounded intriguing. It's an insightful look at a gathering of Iranian women as they share tea after lunch in one of the women's living room. They also share intimate secrets and stories; many of the stories made me laugh out loud and many are truly universal. I loved the honesty of the novel, and the self-acceptance. The drawings are a delightful match for the text. Reading "Embroideries" was like being there in the same living room with that wonderful clan of women.


Hear Michael Cunningham discuss "Specimen Days" on NPR

Illuminate: "Specimen Days"

I just finished the last page of "Specimen Days," the latest novel by Michael Cunningham. This was one cover I didn't want to close.

"Specimen Days" is a group of three novellas all linked on the surface by similar characters with the same names; by New York City as the setting; by a mysterious white bowl; and by the characters' desire to understand life beyond their own needs. It is what lies underneath the surface--terrorism, prejudice, understanding of death and the soul--that make this group of novellas really sing together.

The first part, In the Machine, is a ghost story. Set in New York back in the mid 1800s, Lucas, a young boy with a deformity and an uncontrollable urge to quote Walt Whitman lines loses his brother to the machine at which he worked. Lucas gets a job working that same machine so he can care for his ailing parents and win the heart of his brother's fiance. Lucas comes to believe the dead try to speak to us and reclaim us through the machines.

In the second part, The Children's Crusade, Cat, a sharp-witted, female crime deterrent has the job of trying to stop a band of child terrorists who quote Walt Whitman and leave pamphlets of "Leaves of Grass" as part of their manifesto. She leaves her young, successful boyfriend and takes off for something better with one of the children. Again violence and death are explored as well as love, loyalty, and prejudice. One of many brilliant moments in Cunningham's prose:

"But for now, she thought, they could go on together. They could put it off from hour to hour and maybe from month to month or year to year. She might still want to be his mother even if it proved fatal. And he might not, after all, be waiting to do it with a bread knife or a pillow as she slept; he might be willing to do it gradually, as children had been doing since time began. In a sense, he had killed her already, hadn't he? He had ended her life and taken her into this new one, this crazy rebirth, hurtling forward on a train into the vast confusion of the world, its simultaneous and never-ending collapse and regeneration, its rock-hard little promises, its owners and workers, its sanctuaries that never endured, that were never meant to be endured."

In the third part, Like Beauty, Cunningham has taken us years into the future where New York City has become a strange and cruel theme park. Simon is a nonbioligical, who has been programmed to quote Walt Whitman and is trying to stay undetected in a city that wants him disabled. He meets a female lizard nanny from the planet Nadia, who has dealt with prejudice on Earth since she arrived, and together they leave the city on a quest to find his maker. On the way they meet a young boy who helps them reach Denver, their final destination. Once there, Simon learns his capacity to feel something like love for his friend, Catareen, overrides the instinct for survival that had been implanted in him.

All three of these novellas rise off the page larger than life and certainly larger than their number of pages (about 100 each). They explore big ideas and themes all threaded together by Walt Whitman poetry, New York, and a desire to understand human nature. They work together to create something greater; a work of art to be explored again and again. Michael Cunningham truly is one of the best American novelists.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I've been hearing about Nick Hornby and his books in the last few months but hadn't read anything by him. Last week I picked up his latest novel, "A Long Way Down."

Terry Gross interviewed him today on Fresh Air and listeners heard him talk about the book, learned what he thinks about being called a writer of "ladlit," and heard his thoughts on book buying versus book reading of which I have to say he's SPOT on!


You must check out the new Hot Pot featuring a fabulous short piece by Kathy Fish and an exciting, gorgeous collage by Bev Jackson!


Found out through Myfanwy Collins the new issue of SmokeLong Quarterly is live.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Poetry by North Carolina Poet Laureate
Kathryn Stripling.


An insightful conversation between Quinn Dalton and Tayari Jones at Small Spiral Notebook


There's an excellent article on book marketing for independent publishers at New Pages.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Read this heartbreaking, gorgeous story:

The Dress

Thanks to Patry Francis for the original link.


Rusty Barnes, Editor of Night Train, interviews Steve Almond at WebdelSol

Saturday, June 11, 2005


read an interview of Curtis Sittenfeld, author of "Prep," at earthgoat.


Thanks to Ellen Meister for this link to Jennifer Weiner's take on a review of Melissa Bank's new book, The Wonder Spot.


an interview with James Salter and here

an interview with Lisa Glatt

an interview with Lara Vapnyar


Three collections you may want to put on your reading list this summer:

There Are Jews In My House,” by Lara Vapnyar gives us the stories of Russian people both in Russia and elsewhere. The title story was for me, the strongest, with a sharp eye for human nature: Galina agrees to hide her Jewish friend and her daughter during the war. She soon grows resentful and she is confronted with her own fears, weaknesses, and prejudices.

Last Night,” by James Salter offers ten sexy stories about people feeling their way through relationships. Salter is a master at creating dialogue that intrigues. He makes every word count and his sentences are nothing short of gorgeous. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post says “Salter is the contemporary writer most admired and envied by other writers…He can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence."

The Apple’s Bruise,” by Lisa Glatt is my favorite of the three. Each of the twelve stories is as strong and rich as the next. “In Dirty Hannah Gets Hit by a Car,” a young girl who is picked on by the girl who walks with her to school and who endures the gradual meltdown of her parents’ marriage is hit by a car on the way to school. In “The Body Shop,” a woman’s husband carries a stripper off stage on his back; in “Soup,” a mother finds herself attracted to the rough kid her son has begun hanging around; and in “Eggs,” a woman has a long distance affair with another professor and is confronted by an unruly student. "Grip" was the most haunting story for me, focusing on the narcissism of a couple resulting in their literal disregard and discard of their only child. Glatt’s ability to render complexities of relationships and deliver a satisfying end to the tension in her stories is amazing. This is certainly one of the strongest collections I’ve read this year and will go on my shelf of favorites.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Read Randall Brown's interview with the talented and lovely Myfanwy Collins on reading and critiquing: SmokeLong Quarterly


An interesting essay on reading nonfiction by Michael Piafsky

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


For an enlightening look at the BEA, here's a link to Nicole M. Kelby's blog

and to Laila Lalami's MoorishGirl

Sunday, June 05, 2005


The June issue of Word Riot is up with excellent new work like this story by Don Capone

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Thursday, June 02, 2005


A couple of days ago I received my copy of the lit journal "Cranky." It's loaded with incredible poetry and prose poems. A few of my favorites: "Foreign Film," by Kathy Fish; "His Two Dogs," by M. Lynx Qualey; "Be Prepared," by Barbara Decesare; and "Red Hat" by Mathew Zapruder and Joshua Beckman.

If you don't already have a subcription, get one before you miss another brilliant gem.


As a subscriber, I know just how sharp and innovative the work inside Lilies and Cannonballs is. As you can see, they've updated their site and highlighted some excerpts from previous issues, one piece in particular a favorite of mine: "States of Residency" by my brilliant and talented friend, Myfanwy Collins. No doubt: this journal has EXCELLENT taste.


Another fascinating interview session with a panel of litbloggers. Dan Wickett knows how to ask the right questions.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

On Writing

I've been working for the past week on revising a story. I used to revise with the old manuscript close by so that I could refer to it as I went. This time, I started the story again and didn't look at the old ms at all. What it allowed me to do was tell the story from the place I am now, rather than where I was when I first wrote it four or five months ago. I'm almost finished with it--I wrote about a thousand words today--and then I'll put it away for a bit before I begin my line by line revisions.

How do you revise? Do you start all over or do you stick to the original?

"Everything, especially the first draft. I don't mind revision. Revision is when it really happens. That's when you can bring artistry to bear on it and be crafty and smart. But, first drafts, it's like sandblasting with my forehead. I never do it for more than a couple of hours a day. And revising I can do all day."---Richard Bausch

read the rest of the interview: The Capital Times
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