Last week, the ever-estimable Chapter 16 published my latest review, this time focused on The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus. This was not an uncomplicated review to write, and I’m grateful to Chapter 16 for the chance to share my impressions of Guragnus’s book. You can read my review here.
I’m pleased to share a review of mine that was published recently, both at Chapter 16 and Nashville Scene. Unlikely Angel, written by musicologist Lydia Hamessley, offers a crucial contribution to the slew of recent books and other media coverage of Dolly Parton. Unlikely Angel places Parton’s songwriting chops back at the center. I know that other creative workers will be as inspired by this work as I was, and I hope they have the chance to find Hamessley’s book!
Women composers have been absurdly undervalued. So I am especially pleased to share this piece I wrote earlier in the year, as part of a series I write for Peauxdunque Review on overlooked albums. This blended essay focuses on “Music for Egon Schiele”—written by Kentucky native Rachel Grimes, then part of indie chamber group Rachel’s—but swirls together some reflections on what a single work of art contains, what it can accrue over time. (Ignore the format oddity—this appeared in our print issue originally.) You can read my essay here at Peauxdunque Review.
I couldn’t be prouder to write for Chapter 16, which offers daily book coverage of the literary landscape of Tennessee. Its model is a genuine innovation. Now, The New Yorker has picked up on how special a publication it really is! Grateful to be appear here alongside remarkable colleagues, including the glorious powerhouse editors Maria Browning and Margaret Renkl, and the Humanities Tennessee marvels Serenity Gerbman and Tim Henderson. Thank you to reporter Casey Cep! You can read Cep’s piece online at The New Yorker.
I was under quarantine myself while reviewing this powerful collection of 100+ poets’ voices turned toward our global pandemic, Together in a Sudden Strangeness. This book is both salve and challenge, and I’m grateful to Chapter 16 for the chance to write some thoughts about it. You can read the piece here.
Take note of Charles Dodd White’s new novel How Fire Runs, especially if you want to understand how modern white supremacists make insidious inroads in our communities, especially if you crave both page-burning action and depth of character in your literary fiction. Grateful to review it (and to Chapter 16) during this particular moment in time. You can read my review here.
I’m so happy to share my review of journalist Sarah Smarsh’s She Come By It Natural, a timely and thoughtful dive into the life/lyrics/career/empire/mythos of Dolly Parton. Thanks to Chapter 16 and Southern Festival of Books (virtual this year), where you can catch Smarsh on Sat., Oct. 10, at 3 PM. You can read my review here.
I’m so grateful to New Orleans’ Garden District Book Shop for inviting my Peauxdunque Review colleagues—Tad Bartlett, Nordette Adams, Maurice Carlos Ruffin—and I to join their Virtual Happy Hour yesterday. Our discussion covered the creation of a new print literary journal during these harrowing times, the origins of our group, and the necessity of community for a sustained creative life. Thanks, Rayna Nielsen and Garden District Book Shop! You can watch the vid of our discussion here.
I’m so pleased learn that Atticus Review has nominated my essay, “The Mouths of Our Caves,” for this year’s Best of the Net. This personal essay–which I hope says something useful about the ways we try to wrangle our wildest creative selves within the domesticated boundaries of our lives–was first published in late May. You can read it here.
I’m delighted to share a short story of mine, “The Falling Down Side,” which appears in the newest issue of Peatsmoke. This piece of short fiction has been with me a long time, in one form or another, and now I’m especially glad it’s found such a welcome home in this newish journal. I like what they’re doing. Many thanks to editors Wendy E. Wallace and Bess Cooley. You can read my story online in the Fall 2020 Issue of Peatsmoke.