My old friend Laurie Easter wrote a nice review on her blog of my essay "Meditating Underwater" from last summer's issue of Atlas and Alice, and also let me blather on a bit about the piece, my process, what I've been reading, and other sundries.

One of my summer reads this year was on the suggestion of Steven Church, who asked me if I'd like to review Andrew Malan Milward's short story collection I Was a Revolutionary for The Normal School. It's a really great read, an we had some great conversation about it, now up on TNS's website.

This is/was a truly beautiful thing: an intermedia game of telephone between writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, graphic designers, collage artists, filmmakers, photographers, and performance artists, starting with a fisherman's prayer and moving outward in concentric circles from there. I'm a little brown dot on the map. (OK, cheaters. Here's the shortcut to mine.)

Memorial for Charles Braver (1943-2006)

I wrote this in late 2014 for a memorial service by the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) in honor of Charles Braver, one of my most influential and beloved teaching mentors:

Charles relished his dual role as educator and mentor. Having worked with him for the last four years of his life, I watched the life-changing impact he had on so many students and, more personally, I learned from him how to be a personally invested, intellectually exemplary teacher.

It wasn’t until after he was gone that I fully realized how much maturity and intuitive understanding of people and the world he possessed. He spoke to everyone as an equal, even though most (myself included) were not; I’m sometimes still pleasantly embarrassed remembering conversations with Charles, when he gently pulled out of me and his students exactly what we were thinking but couldn’t get into the correct words. Unlike me, he never taught out of necessity—he’d already had a long, prosperous career in advertising before teaching. I’m positive he considered CLIP, though he probably wouldn’t put it this way, a civic duty.

In the last year of his life, even as his body was rapidly deteriorating, his mind continued working apace. He in fact acquired new hobbies even as he knew his end was near. In one of our last conversations, as he was discussing his newfound obsession with homebrewing, he told me how he empathized most with Scheherazade, who kept herself alive for 1,001 nights by telling a new story with each coming night. “I figure as long as I keep having something interesting to talk about,” he said, “death might see fit to keep me around another day.”

The Write Crowd: Literary Citizenship and the Writing Life, Lori A. May, 2014

Lori interviewed me at AWP 2014 about my job editing Hunger Mountain and my time at Vermont College of Fine Arts, including this:

"Living in Brooklyn as a writer can sometimes be daunting as it seems, in my neighborhood at least, that everyone is a writer or an artist or a musician or an actor, and many times when I'm feeling particularly faceless I think of my crowd in Montpelier [Vermont, site of VCFA] and smile."

Steven Church has been a great influence on me as a writer, and as a friend. A fellow Kansan - Lawrencian even - he shares with me a love of the essay as a form and The Day After as a film.  We talk about all that and more in this interview.

I was lucky enough, halfway through my MFA work, to be part of a workshop with nature writer/memoirist/social activist Barry Lopez, and I wrote this tangential little essay in response to the experience. 

I wrote this, a sort-of poem written in loose blank verse, almost entirely while at the Queensboro Plaza train station in the winter of 2000, my first winter in New York City. During this time I was doing a lot of staying out late and making a home of the city, mostly the free parts of it like parks, public commons, and mass transit.  I read it aloud at many, many open mikes until, one fateful summer evening in 2001 while gallivanting across the Brooklyn Bridge with Daniel Nester and Ravi Shankar (the poet, not the sitar virtuoso), I mentioned the piece to them; Dan asked me to send it to him for consideration in his online La Petite Zine, and the rest is history. I don't include this piece as Ephemera because I think it's ephemeral to my work in terms of content - it's actually one of my favorite pieces I've written - but because it's structurally so different from most anything else I've published.