Cutthroat Composers, Satanic Finances, Celebrities and Fictional Characters Incarnate: Vica Miller Literary Salon

Packed House at Vica's Salon The Vica Miller Crew Tim Turnout Art Vica

This past week, I had the pleasure of reading at the Vica Miller Literary Salon, hosted by none other than Vica herself, who posed insightful, provocative questions throughout the evening. I shared the bill with Royal Young, who can be seen holding Fame Shark, his account of coming of age on the Lower East Side and his vexed, dogged relationship with the concept and pursuit of celebrity. Also on the bill were Lisa Dierbeck, who read from a hilarious work-in-progress about how suddenly coming into money can have unforeseen consequences–an ancient, even folkloric trope transposed seamlessly into contemporary Brooklyn, and Avital Chizhik, whose “Galatea, Galatea” was a metafictional work that called Cortázar to mind. I read from a work-in-progress myself, a story about two dueling composers whose opening I’d read at the Franklin Park Reading Series. The stance above is my “Q&A” pose.

“A Box of One’s Own” at Storyville


Storyville is a fantastic app that offers its subscribers a short story every week. The editors’ taste veers toward the eclectic and offbeat, and they’ve featured many writers whose work I adore and admire, from Claire Vaye Watkins to Joshua Cohen, Gregory Spatz to Marie-Helene Bertino. Needless to say, I’m thrilled and honored that they chose to showcase one of mine. In a brief background piece, I talk about the early influence of Monty Python, whose prints are all over this particular story.

Review at The Small Press Review

“Build an impenetrable wall from your stacks of gloomy realists, gouge out your eyes and sear your fingertips, for I present to you a collection of stories in which the author has had the gall, the coarseness, the utter audacity to have fun while writing.” 

Sam Moss’s generous and spirited review of Understories can be read here: And a nod to Mel Bosworth for starting and maintaining this superb site, and for all he does for small press books.

Ithaca New Voices Festival

Ithaca New Voices Newspaper

Over the next three days (April 24th-26th), I’ll be appearing at the first Ithaca New Voices Festival at Ithaca College, along with a bunch of fine writers: Rebecca Makkai, Jane Roper, Eleanor Henderson, Nathaniel Rich, Sheba Karim, Marie-Helene Bertino, and Robin Ekiss. We’ll kick things off with “micro-readings” at Buffalo Street Books in downtown Ithaca at 5 p.m. on Wed. the 24th, and from there it’s a whirlwind of on-campus talks, visits to classes, and literary discussions, culminating in another reading Friday, April 26th at the Handwerker on campus. It’s free and open to the public, and the whole full-to-bursting schedule is here: Lastly, here’s an article about the festival where co-founder Chris Holmes cites his inspiration as the film “Wonder Boys”–thanks to Chris, Michael Chabon and Toby Maguire.


“No News Today” Guest Post


Blank Newspaper with white background

Robert Lopez, author of Asunder and Kamby Bolongo Mean River, has for several years been running a fascinating series in which he invites writers to contribute work whose only common denominator is its leaping off point, the title phrase “No News Today.”  I was delighted to be asked to contribute, and you can see the results here, presumably without interfering one bit with your day’s news intake.

Other People Podcast with Brad Listi

Other People

Brad Listi is one of those people you might describe as irrepressible; I’ve long admired his Other People Podcast for his candor and the show’s freewheeling nature, its road-trip-like willingness to go anywhere, take entertaining detours, and pull up short at roadside attractions. He also happens to be thoughtful and an excellent interlocutor. I was excited for the chance to appear on the show and talk to him about the role of landscape in my work, as well as bibliomania, my obsession with cities, estuaries, Howard Stern, bridge climbers, my stint in a psychiatric hospital, and other topics too sundry to list. You can see how these all got strung together into a single conversation here:

Peter Tieryas’s Video Review of Understories

First things first–Peter Tieryas (a writer whose own work I admire, author of the collection Watering Heaven) wrote perhaps the most unorthodox review of Understories to date for Punchnel’s Journal, in which he seized upon the almost-title story, “The Understory,” as a leaping-off point for re-examining his own relationship to Heidegger’s philosophy, and his attempts many years ago at Berkeley to grapple with Heidegger’s Nazi affiliations.

Peter and his wife Angela are also brilliant filmmakers, and he’s taken the further step of transforming his review/memoir/essay into a video which he connects his experience to the stories and steeps us in additional layers of incredible imagery. I can only marvel, express my gratitude, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Also, you haven’t truly lived till you’ve seen Heidegger walking toward himself.


Franklin Park Footage

On February 11th, I read with Margarita Korol, Dylan Nice, Karolina Waclawiak, and Lars Iyer at the Franklin Park Reading Series, hosted by the fabulous Penina Roth. I decided to go with a work-in-progress, a story about a couple of composers with a lifelong rivalry that involves a subway accident and some flirtation over borscht; more, I cannot reveal.

“Bridge Poses” in New South

New South

I’ve got a new story, “Bridge Poses,” coming out in the latest New South, which is fresh from the printers and will be available at AWP. It was a pleasure working with Matt Sailor and the other editors on the story, and I’m looking forward to diving into the whole issue. Zachary Cox did the snazzy cover. Meet the troublemakers behind New South and pick up a copy at Booth 1005 at the Book Fair.

Interview at the Short Form

Short Form Picture

The folks at the Short Form, a  new but robust site that celebrates the short story, threw me some great questions and turned Clay Enos’s author photo of me into a cartoon. What more could I ask for?