Author Archive

Quiet Behind the Waterfall

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In Percival Everett's story “A High Lake,” magic bubbles to the surface in thrilling ways.

Show Don’t Scream

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The best horror, in writing or movies, occurs when we understand it the least. Not in the sense of “jump scares,” but rather in the sense of how it is being built and portrayed.

Neil Gaiman’s “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” Shouldn’t Work

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Neil Gaiman’s “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” is a story that should not work. Gaiman states almost as much in the introduction to the collection, Smoke and Mirrors, that houses the story. It’s a story that meanders with almost no sense of plot. Yet, it works.

Making (and Breaking) a Poem

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One of the hardest things to learn about writing poems is how to break lines—where to enjamb or full-stop, where to leave sentences dangling into surprise, where to make one thing appear like it will be another.

What Is the Heart of a Poem?

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The first word or two of a poem is such a small thing, one word out of many, but in a poem every single word can hold the weight of the entire piece.

Do Readers Dream of Electric Futures?

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Why has Philip K. Dick, author of the novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, continued to be read through the decades? Why has he continued to be a touchstone—with his stories and novels consistently being turned into films?

The Facts of Life: Poems and Real Deaths

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Lately, I keep running across poems in collections and in literary journals that use facts or trivia as part of, and sometimes the heart of, their piece. What place does the language of fact, of historical tidbits and pop culture trivia have within the language of poetry?

Wishes Gone Wrong: A Woman’s “Place” in Fairy Tales

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“I wish” is a foolish phrase in fairy tales. It even has its own Aarne-Thompson tale type (750A), aptly called “Foolish Wishes.” It’s easy to see why wishing pops up in stories (and movies and television), but why are wishes so often foolish?

Tiny Stories: On Flash Fiction and Vignettes

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Flash fiction is normally defined as anywhere from five hundred to one thousand words. Within that relatively small range of words lies a huge gamut of what a flash fiction piece can entail. But is it possible for a writer to convey an entire story arc?

Women Who Open Doors: Bluebeard and Horror

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Women in stories often get punished. In fairy tales, it’s often for greed or pettiness or vanity or a slew of other reasons. But the heroines of fairy tales also get punished.