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When I give a poetry reading, I usually try to wear something bright. I will wear my sweater featuring kissing penguins or a sundress with hot air balloons on it. I do this not because I want to look like the poet version of Zooey Deschanel, but because people usually approach me afterwards looking like they want to tuck a Zoloft prescription into my hands, and they all ask the same question: “Are you okay?” And I get it. I do. I write about heartbreak and death and proselytize the Gospel of...

With the earthiness of mushrooms, black pepper, unsweetened cocoa, and ground coffee, these darkly delicious “Doom Cakes” will help you access the duende of any experience. For me, the culinary experimentation that resulted in this wicked concoction was directly related to Strauss’s Zarathustra, Kubrick’s 2001, the 9...

Notes from the author: I like to say that my father was coughed out of the womb and rolled around in broken glass. He relished his children with a deep and fiery heart, but he was tough as a sack of rocks. He had one hell of a rough boyhood. His mom died of TB when he was six months old, and his father was quarantined with the same illness for a year and half at Herman Kiefer hospital in Detroit. All of this transpired during the Great Depression.

Dad was shuffled about to various...

The cover art for this issue is a digital photo composite.

Centuries before social media, artists knew that people were interested in people. I find the amorphic figures intriguing and mysterious, as there is no sense of who they are, where they are, or what they might be doing.

Original digital photographs were taken with a 7.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot G6. My digital photos are not...

It’s a problem most writers face. But the danger seems particularly acute for nonfiction writers who are accountable to real people, even when names are changed. How do you tell the story you set out to tell? Or, put slightly differently, how do you tell the story that is yours to tell? In my case, I had to write the wrong story to find the right story.

My essay “On Reading,” which appears in the NAR fall 2015...

Coat Rack

“Every word was once a poem”[1]. Every poem was once an experiment. I’m a pragmatic man. I’m a test pilot flying a fountain pen. Testing the limits of honesty[2]. I was going to begin by saying “watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat” but that’s the sort of malarkey I’m trying to avoid, the stiff collar, cleverness of prose (should I apologize?).

There’s a theory that professes honesty is a requirement of writing. Poppycock! I’m being impetuous. I’ll test this theory with three...

I was born in Brooklyn but am currently living on the island of Oahu, part of a group of nine Hawaiian islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, farthest away from any landmass on Earth.  Some days I wake up and wonder how I got transported from one of the fastest-moving cities on the planet to find myself in Lotusland.  Truth to tell, I never did adjust to the slow pace, never developed the uniquely Hawaiian skill of "hangin' loose." As they say, you can take the girl out of New...

For the second straight night, I had a basketball dream. I was playing in the Final Four. In my dream...

 

This poem was written quickly, in response to the murder of twenty young students and six educators by a deranged shooter at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.  The world was horrified by this event; outpourings of grief dominated the news and social media; and like many people I felt a need to respond in some way,...

An article I wrote for Ohio Outdoor News this summer detailed the industry that, in Ohio, is uniquely Lake Erie: Fish cleaning houses.  They are smelly, wet and when the fishing is good, extremely busy.  The workers are paid piecework, generally -- that is, by the pound.  The more they clean, the faster they clean, the more they get paid.  It is long, hard, dirty work, but can pay well.  While I usually clean my own walleye, I always take my yellow perch (which are tiny compared to walleye)...

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