The BOOKS section of THE BROOKLYN RAIL (June 2017)

As I finish up my editing work on the next issue of The Brooklyn Rail, I want to take a minute to celebrate the most recent issue, June 2017, full of interviews and reviews with poets, fiction writers, and essayists, many of them debut authors. Lisa Ko talks with Nicole Treska about Ko’s debut novel THE LEAVERS. Gabino Iglesias reviews Morgan Parker’s newest collection of poems THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCE. Melissa Febos talks with Ryan Berg about her newest collection of essays, ABANDON ME, which Berg calls a “fiercely intelligent and remarkably intimate investigation of love and obsession, trauma and resiliency.” Our regular fiction critic John Domini reviews Lance Olsen‘s DREAMLIVES OF DEBRIS and Barbara Browning‘s THE GIFT. Mr. Domini also offers us an extended literary essay on the setting of New York City in three novels by Don DeLillo: GREAT JONES STREET, UNDERWORLD, and COSMOPOLIS. David Varno reviews Emmanuel Carrère‘s THE KINGDOM. Kristy Eldredge‘s talks with fiction writer Stacey Levine about her work and her recent collection THE GIRL WITH BROWN FUR: TALES & STORIES. Poet Mai Der Vang talks with Alex Dueben about her first book of poetry, AFTERLAND, just released by Graywolf Press. Joseph Scapellato discusses his debut story collection, BIG LONESOME, with James Tadd Adcox. Yvonne C. Garrett covers new books by women in rock: Kristin Hersh’s RATGIRL, Kim Gordon’s GIRL IN A BAND, and Carrie Brownstein’s HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL. Ms. Garrett also covers Chris Offutt‘s memoir MY FATHER THE PORNOGRAPHER and Monica Drake‘s debut story collection THE FOLLY OF LOVING LIFE. Matt Grant reviews Taylor Larsen‘s debut novel STRANGER, FATHER, BELOVED. And J. T. Price gives us one of the best interviews (in my opinion) with author Paul Auster I’ve read in a while. Auster discusses his newest novel, 4 3 2 1, and so much more. Mr. Price also offers us an extensive consideration of Amy Hungerford‘s newest book of literary criticism MAKING LITERATURE NOW.

Many thanks to all of my amazing writers.

Read it here:


Reading at Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn, Thursday, August 18 at 6 PM – 7:45 PM

Recently, I read a stunning and gorgeous novella called ALL THE WORDS, by Maria Frances Brandt. I cannot recommend this book more highly. Brandt’s characters reminded me of myself and of the people I care about, at our best and at our most yearning. These characters struggle, each in their own way, to articulate all the necessary words to each other and to themselves. And their struggle is rendered, in Brandt’s careful and caring hand, artistically and dramatically. In this lyrically lush and beautifully cadenced novella about a family’s love and loss, words are, paradoxically, precious and scarce. Sentences start but sputter out; mouths go mute; memories, both allusive and elusive, tease then disappear, only to reappear as fragmented textual ghosts, italicized and erupting throughout the course of this family’s journey—a journey from trauma to understanding, and, ultimately, to a kind of acceptance. Such a story arc is easy enough to describe, but painstakingly difficult to render dramatically and truthfully. But Brandt pulls it off with élan and intelligence and, best of all, the crafty instincts of a natural storyteller.

I am so fortunate to be reading with this remarkable writer next week in Brooklyn, on Thursday, Aug, 18th, at Pete’s Candy Store, 6 PM. Also sharing work that evening will be Mirene Arsanios, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, and and Emily Brandt. It will be a lovely late-summer event. I hope you’ll join us to celebrate.

Click here for more information.

Moderating panel on MFA programs at AAWW, Brooklyn, NY, Sat, June 25, 1:00 PM

“Creative writing courses, especially at the undergraduate level, may not necessarily produce the world’s next generation of literary geniuses. As I see it, that is not the purpose of such courses anyway. A deeper more important purpose is to afford students at least a glimpse of what it is like to be a creative writer. And that purpose cannot be accomplished without significant and sustained attention to process.” —Tim Mayers (as quoted in Darin Ciccotelli‘s excellent article on MFA programs in the AWP Writer’s Chronicle.)

Let’s discuss today:



Novelists Naomi Jackson (Iowa Writers Workshop), Karim Dimechkie (The Michener Center), and Kaitlyn Greenidge (Hunter MFA) discuss their pre- and post-MFA experience and give advice about how to navigate the writing program. Moderated by author Joseph Salvatore (The Brooklyn Rail), an assistant professor at The New School.

My latest assignment for the New York Times Book Review, June 5, 2016


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Growing up in the Boston area in the 1970s, I was a faithful Red Sox fan during a time when it was a genuine hazard to one’s psychic well-being to do so. One of my great regrets is that my father, a life-long New Englander and a Sox fan himself who died in 2001, never got to see what I saw in 2004, watching it, as I did, in my new home of NYC. Actor David Duchovny’s new novel is about fathers and sons and the things they wish they could have said to each other; it’s about love and death, and it’s about the Red Sox and the Yankees. So grateful to my editor at the New York Times Book Review for this summer reading assignment. See what I had to say.


By David Duchovny
296 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $26.05Salvatore-blog427

My Speaking Schedule at the 2016 AWP Conference, Los Angeles, CA

I’m truly so fortunate to be charing and participating on these three incredible panels this week at the 2016 AWP Conference & Bookfair, in Los Angeles, California. #AWP16

Thanks to all my fellow panelists and to all my fellow AWP-goers! It’s already been such a blast. Come by and check out the panels.

TODAY! —Thursday, March 31, 2016, at 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM, in Gold Salon 4, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor: I’ll be a panelist of “The Art of the Literary Interview” with Tony Leuzzi, Tod Marshall, Allie Larkin, and Catherine LaSota. #AWP16

Tomorrow—Friday, April 1, 2016, at 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM, in Gold Salon 1, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor: I’ll be chairing panel “The Art of the Book Review” with Helen Schulman, Courtney Maum, Tony Leuzzi. #AWP16

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016, 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM, in Gold Salon 2, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor (S134.) I’ll be a panelist on “What I Did When What I Did Wasn’t Working: Teachers on Retooling Their Teaching. with Joseph Scapellato, Matt Bell, Catherine Dent, Jameelah Lang. (Description: When our in-class lessons and out-of-class assignments don’t give our students what we hoped they would—when our pedagogical performances flop unexpectedly—how do we rework what’s left? In this panel, five teachers of writing share specific instances of course failure and the attempts at redesign that followed. Examples of activities, assignments, and approaches promise to make this panel helpful for teachers of all experience levels.)

December-January double issue of The Brooklyn Rail is here!


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Well, it took some work, but the December-January double issue of The Brooklyn Raill is finally here. It’s our biggest issue of the year, and our Books section is chock-full of literary goodies.

Critic David Winters reviews the début novel, “Bird,” by acclaimed short-story writer NOY HOLLAND. Poet and critic Tony Leuzzi offers an extraordinarily insightful review of TERESE SVOBODA’s “When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems.” Two of our reviewers consider new books in the context of genre: Darley Stewart discusses micro-fiction in her review of GRANT FAULKNER’s “Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories.”

And novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and critic John Domini, in a bold, rigorous, and unflinching piece of literary criticism, ascribes the term “minimalist” to recent work from two New York writers: GREG GERKE’s début “My Brooklyn Writer Friend” and ROBERT LOPEZ’s newest story collection “Good People.”  J. T. Price works overtime delivering two reviews for this issue, covering ADRIENNE CELT’s “original (and) risk-taking” début novel “The Daughters,” as well as a new reprint of LUCY DAWSON’s “Dogs As I See Them.” Brendan Garrison covers “Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork,” an anthology of essays by over fifty professionals, scholars, and artists, edited by Vyjayanthi Venuturupalli Rao, Prem Krishnamurthy, and Carin Kuoni. Davy Knittle covers MICHAEL GIZZI’s “Collected Poems.” Jack Finnegan covers POPE FRANCIS’s “Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home.” Artie Niederhoffer reviews MARIE KONDO’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and KENYA HARA’s “Designing Design.” Ashley Phillips Taylor covers SARAH L. KAUFMAN’s “The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life.” Yvonne C. Garrett reviews ANAKANA SCHOFIELD’s second novel “Martin John.” Author David Winner discusses PATRICIA HIGHSMITH’s “The Price of Salt,” in the context of TODD HAYNE’s new film “Carol.” Christen Clifford reviews VIVIAN GORNICK’s new memoir “The Odd Woman and The City.” And Katie Rogin reviews JESSA CRISPIN’s “The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats & Ex-Countries.”

We’re excited to introduce a new feature for both readers and writers interested in knowing more about how authors do what they do on the page: a roundup of recent books on the craft of writing. Electric Literature’s Catherine LaSota covers five recent titles by MARY KARR, CHRISTOPHER CASTELLANI, PETER TURCHI, JOHN CASEY, and DINTY MOORE.

Our In Conversation series of artists talking to other artists continues with Robert Polito talking with JILL DEARMAN about her début novel “The Great Bravura.” Valya Dudycz Lupescu talks with Nebula-award nominee MATTHEW KRESSEL about “King of Shards,” the first installment of his Worldmender trilogy. (Along with Ellen Datlow, Kressel hosts the long-running KGB reading series Fantastic Fiction.) Melissa Febos talks to RYAN BERG about his début “No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions.” Lux Sommers talks with novelist AMY KOPPELMAN about “Hesitation Wounds,” Koppelman’s newest. Diego Gerard talks with PAUL CHAN about Sarah Ruden’s new translation of Plato’s “Hippias Minor or The Art of Cunning.” Michael Montlack talks with SORAYA SHALFOROOSH about her recent collection of poems “This Version of Earth,” from Barrow Street Press. And finally Rob Kenagy talks with MATTHEW VOLLMER about Vollmer’s newest story collection “Gateway to Paradise.”

Love to hear what you think.

Huge thanks to Katie RolnickLaila PedroSusan ShapiroNancy Hightower for all the help and support.

Thursday, Oct. 22nd, 2015, 8 PM — Helping launch new Brooklyn reading series!

Join us this Thursday, Oct. 22nd, 8 PM, Brooklyn, for the launch of HIP Lit’s new monthly salon series happening in “The Hideaway,” the lofted literary love-nest upstairs at Be Electric Studios in Brooklyn. Come check out this new space and reading series. I’ll be reading alongside Matthew Vollmer Carmiel Banasky, and Nancy Hightower, all of whom have new books out, which will be for sale on Thursday. Please join us in initiating this space with an evening of readings, good company, and a whole lotta lofted love. Free Admission. BYOB.

HUGE thanks to Brittney Inman CantyErin Harris, and Kim Perel.