m a r g i n a l i a

notes from a creative writing PhD candidate

on reading for phd comprehensive exams

“The PhD is the best gift you will ever give yourself.” Author Roxane Gay gave us–a group of fangirling, bushy-tailed creative writing PhD candidates–this tiny morsel of encouragement last year … Continue reading

July 20, 2017 · 2 Comments

Book Review: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

After devouring Ta-Nehisi Coates’ National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me in a single afternoon, I came away from my reading wholly impressed by the author’s brilliance, eloquence, and … Continue reading

April 27, 2016 · 1 Comment

brian doyle, “the greatest nature essay ever”

. . .would begin with an image so startling and lovely and wondrous that you would stop riffling through the rest of the mail, take your jacket off, sit down … Continue reading

June 3, 2015 · 2 Comments

ultrarunner anton krupicka – in the high country

“In the High Country is an impressionistic mountain running film: a visual essay about a life in the mountains. It looks at running from a new perspective, both visually and … Continue reading

October 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

notable mention in the best american essays 2014!!

An essay I wrote in graduate school, “Missed,” was published last year in The Masters Review, an annual journal of graduate student writing.  Last year’s volume featured ten writers whose work … Continue reading

October 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

“grief calls us to the things of this world”

The morning air is all awash with angels —Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” The eyes open to a blue telephone In the bathroom of … Continue reading

October 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

“balloons” | a poem by sylvia plath

Since Christmas they have lived with us, Guileless and clear, Oval soul-animals, Taking up half the space, Moving and rubbing on the silk Invisible air drifts, Giving a shriek and … Continue reading

October 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

one liar’s beginnings.

ONE LIAR’S BEGINNINGS    by Brady Udall Before all else, let me make my confession: I am a liar. For me, admitting to being a liar is just about the … Continue reading

September 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

jack kerouac | 30 beliefs & techniques for modern prose

I gave this to an undergraduate creative writing class once, and they almost shit themselves.  “WTF is this?  Was he, like, drunk when he wrote it?”  “How are we supposed … Continue reading

September 8, 2014 · Leave a comment

who wants to move to portland with me?

Portland’s almost an alternative universe.  It’s like Gore won.  The Bush administration never happened. In Portland you can put a bird on something and just call it art. In Portland … Continue reading

July 17, 2014 · 3 Comments

i was told there’d be cake: essays by sloane crosley

Is Sloane Crosley “the female David Sedaris”?  Some critics have hailed her so, but for every person who thinks I Was Told There’d Be Cake is as funny, well-rendered, and … Continue reading

July 10, 2014 · 3 Comments

awkward and painful things i learned from my first half marathon

1. You may never spot your friend or significant other along the course–so don’t entrust them with the necessary nutrition and gear you’ll need.  The race website said there would be two viewing … Continue reading

July 7, 2014 · 1 Comment

if you like running (or just really inspiring, interesting books), read these.

More in-depth reviews of these books will be posted soon, but I just had to share my epic running reading list from the past month.  If you know of any … Continue reading

July 7, 2014 · 4 Comments

getting sick in the slovak republic — strange adventures in healthcare abroad

In 2009 I traveled to Zilina, Slovakia for a year-long Fulbright Fellowship.  Two months into my teaching assistantship I became extremely ill.  What follows is my (slightly humorous, very odd) account … Continue reading

June 13, 2014 · 4 Comments

when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.

Academia has been my world for the past eight years; I graduated college with a degree in English and Anthropology, completed a Fulbright, and dove headfirst into an MFA program in Creative … Continue reading

June 9, 2014 · 1 Comment

review: the 2014 virginia wine country half marathon

I couldn’t have picked a better first half marathon.  The weather was ideal: sunny and clear, 65 degrees at 7:00 a.m., not a cloud in the sky.  Fields, wildflowers, horses, … Continue reading

June 6, 2014 · 5 Comments

found poetry | reframing spaces and lines to impart new meaning

A talented creative writing student of mine taught me how to write a “found” poem.  She showed me a marked-up page of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, a favorite book of hers, and then … Continue reading

June 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

jhumpa lahiri, “trading stories: notes from an apprenticeship”

Books, and the stories they contained, were the only things I felt I was able to possess as a child. Even then, the possession was not literal; my father is … Continue reading

May 29, 2014 · Leave a comment

three. more. days. | training for a (first!) half marathon

When there’s no more gas in the tank, seasoned marathoners say that repeating a mantra while running can keep you motivated.  Phrases like “One step at a time,” “Just keep going,” and … Continue reading

May 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

ernesto “che” guevara – excerpts on education & healthcare from “the motorcycle diaries”

“In the way I traveled, first as a student and afterward as a doctor, I began to come into close contact with poverty, with hunger, with disease, with the inability … Continue reading

May 22, 2014 · 2 Comments

love & death in the balkans: brkic’s “the stone fields”

“What is a moment of death compared to a lifetime of it?” Book Review: Courtney Angela Brkic’s The Stone Fields, 2005 The Stone Fields alternates between a chronological historical recounting of Brkic’s father’s family … Continue reading

May 21, 2014 · Leave a comment

“meditations in an emergency” – frank o’hara

“I’ve got to get out of here.” Meditations in an Emergency Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French? Each … Continue reading

May 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

sylvia plath’s “the rival”

We all know someone like this, don’t we?  Nailed it, Sylvia.   The Rival If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, … Continue reading

May 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

a summer reading list

A book a week: that’s my summer reading goal.  A fast reader by nature, I can usually manage a few hundred pages a week; I read two hours a day on the … Continue reading

May 18, 2014 · Leave a comment

didion, mccullers, che & more: on travel & memory

“We are homesick most for the places we have never known.” –Carson McCullers ————— “His father guessed what he was thinking, and spoke of what it had meant to them … Continue reading

May 16, 2014 · Leave a comment

anne sexton’s “her kind” & sylvia plath’s “the applicant”

Plath and Sexton: beautifully haunting, confessional female poets that explore similiar themes.  The following two poems were published in the early 1960s, on the cusp of second-wave feminism. The Applicant First, are … Continue reading

May 16, 2014 · Leave a comment

poll: kerouac favorites

It’s a difficult question: If you had to choose your favorite Kerouac book, what would it be?  & Why? I haven’t read all of his works, but I’ve devoured, multiple … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

introductions

Underneath my childhood bed, in my father’s home, I keep eleven tattered journals stored in an anqitue hat box.  My first journal, given to me on Christmas Day in 1993, is … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

jack kerouac’s “fifteen strange seconds”

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was–I … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

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