A few years back, I reviewed the poetry collection Losing Miami by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué for Terrain.org. The collection was later a finalist of the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, which didn’t surprise me at all, because the work was outstanding. It was so outstanding, in fact, that when I learned about Gabriel’s new collection with Nightboat Books, Madness, I was excited to read it and curious where the poet would go after Losing Miami.
Where Gabriel went was a faux-collected works format, a book that created a fictional poet (Luis Montes-Torres) and attributed the real poet’s work to the fictional one. Each section represents a fictional collection of Montes-Torres’s and a preface by the fictional editors provides a biography. It’s a poetry collection in a fictional frame. Totally brilliant.
The poems themselves present the same accessible insight as those in Losing Miami, often focused on themes of ecological change and queer identity explored in the previous work, but in new, fresh ways.
I ended up reviewing Madness for Rain Taxi Review of books. The review is in the print edition, which you can get here. It’s only 5 dollars and there’s lots of other great content and leads to new reads. You should pick up a copy of Madness and then read my review and let me know what you think!
I never met the bear who is the subject of my essay’s title, “What’s the Bears Name?” It lived in the Galiuro Mountains in Arizona in canyon called Rattlesnake Canyon near an old homestead called Powers Garden. Deep Wild was so kind as to include my essay in their newest issue. The essay asks why we don’t see animals as individuals and what effect that generalization of other species has on how we consider and treat them. Of course, people generalize each other, lumping people into groups and losing sight of individuality, so it’s not surprising that we do it to animals. Still, it’s interesting to think about what might change – in our thoughts or in our actions – if we allowed ourselves to acknowledge bears, and many other creatures, as individuals.
My short story, “A Heliograph to Kin Kletso,” appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Weber: The Contemporary West. That issue is now available online here. The story is on page 109. There’s lots of excellent writing and interesting interviews in there, too.
Fugitives and Futurists were kind enough to share my story, “Misoprostol.” The pic above is the image the editors of the site chose to accompany the story. It’s a very short piece of near-future science fiction that imagines how prohibition of reproductive rights will manifest similarly to drug prohibition. As someone who grew up around religion-based opposition to reproductive rights, particularly women’s reproductive rights, I see religion-appeasing prohibition as irrational policy and an ideological poison in our society.
A few months back, my close friend, Sandra Shattuck, interviewed me for Pima Community College’s Community of Writing series. We talk about writing, ecology, educational economics, teaching, science fiction, and more. I discuss some of my stories, too. It was fun to think about Sandra’s prompts and I’m so grateful to her Southwest Literature students for their questions about my story, “A Heliograph of Kin Kletso,” which will be in Weber: The Contemporary West Fall 2020. Thanks to Sandra and Dan at PCC for making this happen!
My first review with Full Stop is of Farooq Ahmed’s novel, Kansastan (7.13 Books; 2019). The novel recreates Civil War-era Kansas as Muslim society, with most of the action taking place in and around a rural mosque. They’re going to war with Missouri. The narrator is the most narcissistic scrub of all time and the world is out to humiliate him again and again in hilarious fashion. The novel isn’t like anything I’ve read before.
I remember reading The Worcester Review in Tatnuck Booksellers in the mid-nineties as an undergrad at Assumption College and thinking it would be cool to see words I wrote in print. It only took me twenty years, but my story, Swamp Yankee, is in volume 39 of The Worcester Review. It’s a story about a man defending his herd of alpacas from a mysterious predator while a ghost stalks him from the underbrush of his memory. It takes place in Worcester County and it feels good to publish it back home.
Manifest West: Transitions and Transformations is the Fall 2018 installment in this series from Western Press Books. I’m happy to say that my story, Ponderosa, is featured among so many other great stories. As a wanderer named Phillip and his dog Osa explore a Ponderosa pine forest on Arizona’s Mogollon Rim, the lines between Phillip’s interior and exterior worlds are blurred. I learned a lot about pine forest ecology while writing it.
This edition also includes a story from my good friend, Lisa Levine, as well as Arizona poets Mark Haunschild and Cynthia Hogue.