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Reginald Dwayne Betts wrote in a recent issue of Poetry magazine,  “Don’t write about being white,” a quote the editors thought important enough to reprint on the back cover of the magazine. Certainly Betts and the editors wanted to raise a few eyebrows, and certainly a careful reader will relate the...

I wrote this story when my husband was dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Diease). Until then, I’d thought of myself as a novelist, but I no longer had the mental bandwidth to immerse myself in long work. So I turned to the short story, a form I immediately fell in love with for its vast array of possibilities. “The Cop, the Hooker & the Ridealong” was the first story I wrote close to...

"Man in Flower" was an Honorable Mention in the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize contest.Roy Batty

With “Man in Flower,” I was attempting something of an urban pastoral. Yet rather than celebration, I was interested in something...

Our first interview went something like this.
“So, what can you tell me about being a dog?”
Cici, my 14-pound mutt, remained mum.
“Not talking, eh?”

She cocked her head in confirmation.
It was a rare moment for us, not the “me-talking-to-a-dog”part (that’s standard practice these days), but her refusal to offer so much as a bark in reply. For the eight years we’ve known each other, my Chihuahua/spaniel/[insert your best guess here] mix-breed had always excelled...

Charles Hempstead

The North American Review holds an estimable reputation among lovers of the arts, culture, and literature. As one of the nation’s oldest periodicals on these subjects, it touts an impressive register of contributors, both past and present.

The newspaper clipping seen here was pasted into a scrapbook compiled by one...

I love poems that have a strong narrative spine, and thank Robert Frost for inspiring that appreciation. Narrative is what holds “Convoys” together (NAR, Fall, 2012). Perhaps one would be hard pressed to see Frost’s influence in “Convoys”, but for me he was the model.

The winter I wrote the poem, I was rereading The Poetry of Robert Frost, the complete...

NewYorker_Hiroshima_2_web-400x300I wrote "Smoke" when my paternal grandmother was dying and I realized how much I would miss her lit cigarettes. My daughter had just started kindergarten; I was...


UntitledYou probably never thought about this before; but if you were ever face to face with a grizzly bear, you might think you’d run.

But when I encountered a huge, teeth-baring, grizzly bear, I didn’t...


Some Music

Across the room, a group of 20-somethings,
winding down their pasta dinners,
discover you can fret your finger on the rim
making even cheap wine flutes complain.
At first, annoying, an assault on ears,
but later like the reel whine
when a line is cast and catches sun,
its bright wick whipped against a sky so blue...

One of the first pieces I accepted when I became nonfiction editor for NAR in 2008 was “The Malignancy of Beginnings” by Rafael Torch. I fell in love with this dark and gorgeous memoir of a man fighting abdominal cancer while his wife fought against, not a tumor, but an unwanted fetus growing in her abdomen. The parallels frightened me when I first noticed them: the husband fingering the lumps in his belly, moving them from side to side like golf balls. The wife...


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Cedar Falls, IA 50614

Phone: 319-273-6455


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