Category Archives: Contemporary

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Unburied Memories: A Tiny Interview with Carlos Villacorta Gonzáles

My newest literary kick is immersing myself in literature from Latin America that hasn’t been translated to English yet. Reading outside of the American canon, you learn new tricks and new ways of cutting familiar narratives—but if you’re lucky you … Continue reading

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Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A Conversation with Lincoln Michel (Part 2)

Recently, on social media, Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel questioned the label of “realism.” I write “realism,” and I’m branching into other genres, so I introduced myself and asked a few more questions. Our conversation, conducted over e-mail, spanned several days, topics, and … Continue reading

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Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A Conversation with Lincoln Michel (Part 1)

Recently, on social media, Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel questioned the label of “realism.” I write “realism,” and I’m branching into other genres, so I introduced myself and asked a few more questions. Our conversation, conducted over e-mail, spanned several days, topics, … Continue reading

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Competing With Your Muse: On Stephen Amidon’s Something Like the Gods

Under Review: Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron by Stephen Amidon (2012, Rodale, 240 pages) Sports, much like the arts, are only as vitally useful—or frivolously useless—as the beholder deems them. Neither … Continue reading

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Create Your Own Mythology: On Usain Bolt’s 9.58

Under review: 9.58: Being the World’s Fastest Man, by Usain Bolt with Shaun Custis (2010, HarperSport, 287 pages) As the Sochi Winter Olympic Games lurch to a close, it’s instructional to remember that, for Summer Olympians, the past two weeks … Continue reading

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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Creative Writing Instructor Evaluation Form” by April Wilder

Last week I came into the office where I work, sat down, ate an enormous bagel, and laughed so hard that the guy sitting behind me wheeled his chair over to my desk and said, “What’s so funny?” I pointed … Continue reading

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Publication Starts the Story: On Jim Bouton’s Ball Four

Under review: Ball Four: Twentieth Anniversary Edition by Jim Bouton (465 pages, 1990, Wiley Publishing) A memoir’s publication date usually serves as a finish line. The events within have already taken place well, well in the past; their cathartic release tends … Continue reading

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Walking the Bridge: American Letters From Latin America

When asked whether he saw himself as a Peruvian writer or an American writer in the New York Times last year, following the publication of his newest novel  At Night We Walk in Circles, Daniel Alarcón replied, “Why should I have to choose?” I … Continue reading

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Memoir as Weapon: On Keyshawn Johnson’s Just Give Me the Damn Ball!

Under Review: Just Give Me the Damn Ball!: The Fast Times and Hard Knocks of an NFL Rookie by Keyshawn Johnson with Shelley Smith (1997, Warner Books, 216 pages) The Sports Memoir: Choose Your Own Adventure There’s something inherently cathartic … Continue reading

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The Thirsty Games

It’s so cold in Chicago that the temperature isn’t even negative; it has one of those calculus sigmas in front of it, and there’s some kind of logarithm involved. Maybe you’re sitting in the sun on your California balcony, you … Continue reading

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