A Photo and a Title End Up on Buzzfeed


A funny little thing: A week ago, my photo ended up on Buzzfeed‘s post “33 Writers Share The Books That Inspired Them To Write.”

Backstory: While at AWP, I ran into Isaac, the editor at Buzzfeed Books and one of the nicest guy on the planet, about an hour before catching my airport shuttle. We were talking about, well, books, and he asked me to write down a title that helped shape me as a writer. “For a project,” he said. Off the top of my head, I thought of Where the Wild Things Are, which may seem like a strange choice, but it’s true. I think Wild Things, like the book There’s a Nightmare in My Closet, was one of the first children’s stories I remember that paired monsters with the concepts of empathy and emotion. Looking at my own writing today, I see that narrative thread constantly.

Anyway, he snapped a photo and it ended up on the website. Here’s a link to the piece. There are no names attached to the photos, but you can find me. Also, you may be able to spot some recognizable faces, like Will Chancellor and Julia Fierro, who both released acclaimed novels last year.

Recent News: Reviews & Adventures

Book Review, Fiction

I wrote a little section of Lockjaw Magazine‘s awesome ongoing “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. Start from the beginning here. If you never make it to my contribution, you can find it here.

Reviews: I talked about Diane Schoemperlen’s By the Book in the Spring 2015 print edition of Rain Taxi Review of Books. You can’t read it online, but if you’re headed to AWP, you can pick up a free copy at their table. Also, at Necessary Fiction, I reviewed Shelagh Connor Shapiro’s Shape of the SkyThat one is online.

Intro to Lit Reading List


I’m teaching a section of Introduction to Literature this semester, and a few friends asked about my syllabus. While I’m not going to bore anyone with such a dry document, I am willing to post the class reading list here, in (more or less) the order we’re discussing the work.

  • Matthew Dickman, “Slow Dance”
  • Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
  • Marie Howe, “What the Living Do”
  • Ernest Hemingway, “The Killers”
  • Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
  • ZZ Packer, “Brownies”
  • Kathy Fish, “Shoebox”
  • Anton Chekhov, “Oysters”
  • Gray Jacobik, “Skirts”
  • Denis Johnson, “Emergency”
  • Edward P. Jones, “The Night Rhonda Ferguson Was Killed”
  • Elizabeth Alexander, “Tina Green”
  • Mary Ruefle, “The Hand”
  • Abby Frucht, “The Empiricist”
  • Cynthia Ozick, “A Drugstore In Winter”
  • Raymond Carver, “Fever”
  • Robert Coover, “The Babysitter”
  • Richard Ford, “Rock Springs”
  • Haruki Murakami, “The Second Bakery Attack”
  • Jamaal May, “The Gun Joke”
  • James Salter, “Ahknilo”
  • Edgar Allan Poe, “Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • Shirley Jackson, “Pillar of Salt”
  • James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”
  • Lydia Davis, “Jury Duty,” “For Sixty Cents,” & “Traveling with Mother”
  • Richard Brautigan, “1/3, 1/3, 1/3″
  • Michael Oppenheimer, “Paring Knife”
  • William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”
  • Gary Gildner, “Fingers”
  • Randall Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”
  • Anton Chekhov, “Misery”
  • Douglas Glover, “The Poet Fishbein”
  • Ron Carlson, “Bigfoot Stole My Wife”
  • Zadie Smith, “You Are In Paradise”
  • Dick Allen, “To a Woman Half a World Away”
  • Donald Hall, “White Apples”
  • Emily Dickinson, “There’s a certain slant of light”
  • Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”
  • William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”
  • Quim Monzo, “Praise”
  • George Saunders, “My Flamboyant Grandson”
  • Annie Dillard, “This Is the Life”
  • Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Dog”
  • Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener”
  • Katherine Anne Porter, “Flowering Judas”
  • David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster”
  • Brian Doyle, “Joyas Voladoras”
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”
  • Julio Cortazar, “Axolotl”
  • Aimee Bender, “The Rememberer”
  • Carlos Fuentes, “Chac-Mool”

There are a few other pieces, but they’re part of midterms/finals, and I don’t want anyone snooping around to receive an unfair advantage, so I’m not including them here.