I’m so pleased to share this (newly online) piece I wrote for the second issue of Peaxudunque Review. In this music column, I take a deep dive into albums that seemed to go overlooked when they first appeared. It’s been heartening to see an unusual focus in media on Indigo Girls recently, in connection with their new album and terrific live streams during the pandemic. It’s the kind of attention on them I was hoping for when, last fall, I wrote about their 2011 album Beauty Queen Sister. You can read my column on Indigo Girls on Peauxdunque Review’s site.
I’m thrilled to share this new personal essay, up today at Atticus Review.
The week I wrote this piece, some fluke of scheduling had me working on three separate author interviews at once, which seemed to open up an ongoing interview with my own nature—the state of my creative restlessness and the stark transitions that had taken place in my family life.
At first, my intention wasn’t to capture the potent swirl of nervous vulnerability and ecstatic devotion that can sometimes take hold of us while we work. This piece emerged in sly snatches of confused aside—as a kind of shadow chronicle I kept as I worked. Every time I tried write a tamer, more flattering version of this moment in time, the messier the truth grew as it came snarling out onto the page. Every time I tried to spare my blushes, as the Brits say, the more exposing the next paragraph became. Every time I tried to tried to confine the imagery to our world’s non-beastly physical reality, the more insufficient and untrue those metaphors seemed.
I’m pleased to share my latest review for Chapter 16. Especially now, it feels especially important to show our support for new books from small presses, like East Tennessean Shuly Xóchitl Cawood’s short story collection, A Small Thing to Want (available now from Press 53). You can read my review here.
I’m happy to share my review for the rollicking and poignant memoir, Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco. Alia Volz tells the story of her mother’s pot-brownie empire with loving closeness and a great eye for the tumultuous history happening all around her family business. My review of Home Baked is up today at an empire of an another stripe: Chapter 16.
Feels good right now to do some small bit for authors who’ve had to cancel their book tours this spring. Here’s my review of Katy Simpson Smith’s fascinating, millennia-spanning novel The Everlasting, which was released last week. My review’s up today at the ever-essential Chapter 16.
Some artists hold unique power when it comes to seeing us through dark times. For me, one of those artists is Patti Smith. Thanks to Maria Browning and Chapter 16 for running this piece of mine, despite the cancellation of this year’s Big Ears Festival, where Smith was slated to appear. In the piece, I get to write about the particular space Smith occupies in our culture (and in my life), as well as some thoughts on Smith’s most recent book, Year of the Monkey. My essay is up today at Chapter 16.
I’m delighted to share my latest review for Chapter 16, this one of Louise Erdrich’s new novel, The Night Watchman. Her novels are always a pleasure, as well as a challenge to the spirit. I didn’t want this one to end. You can read my review here.
I am thrilled to have short fiction published in the newest issue of Mississippi Review! Seeing my story so well-presented means the world to me. (And this issue’s lineup—Tiana Clark, Hanif Abdurraqib, Maggie Smith, Amina Gautier, Nick White, and a good gaggle more—is killer.) Below you can find an image of the opening page of my story, called “Teetotalers.” You can order the issue at the Mississippi Review website.
Because I haven’t had many personal essays published, I’m extra thrilled to share this new piece! It roams over some holiday ground, prompted by my lifelong pull toward Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Here are some lines: “Thomas may depict a holiday world full of snowy adventures and warm abundance, but its ghostly periphery hums with ancient voices, burns with pagan fires. All town-fed children sense the undomesticated forces that may draw them away from the family hearth and spirit them off, lost to the wild winter’s night.” The essay is up today at the ever-festive Chapter 16!
I really enjoyed reviewing Step into the Circle: Writers in Modern Appalachia, which was co-edited by novelist Amy Greene. In this book, Appalachian writers profile each other, and the profiles are augmented by great photography. The result is insightful and generous of spirit. You can read my review today at Chapter 16.