Spring News!

I’m thrilled to have poem in the new issue of one of my favorite journals, Ecotone. This volume is themed around SOUND! The poem, titled “The Ecology of Falling Whales” is the longest I’ve ever written–a whopping 5 pages–and it’s all about visiting my sister, Maya, at  Friday Harbor Labs in Washington State, where I observed her and other biologists study aquatic life. You can buy the journal and read an excerpt here.

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I also wrote about sunlight for The Atlantic in honor of daylight savings. Read the whole thing here.

The frustration of lost sleep gives way to the luminous pleasure of a lengthening day. Sunlight extends past dinnertime. Dog walkers, soccer players, and children in playgrounds bask in a later twilight. Though humans organize our schedules around the clock, Daylight Savings reminds us that our lives, like our planet, revolve around the sun.

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The lovely Anna Currey interviewed me about sisters, the environment, and writing across genre.

I don’t want to teach anything I don’t believe in. It’s important to talk about making writing entertaining, which is obvious, but doesn’t gets much air time in academic settings. Any piece of writing is competing for a reader’s attention span. It has to be more interesting than someone’s cell phone or television. Entertainment is something I talk about with my students, and something I think about in my own writing. We have to work hard for our readers.

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Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did with Chris Schaberg about his newest book The End of Airports. Read the whole thing at Terrain.Org.

It’s a common response that “everything changed” after 9/11. But having worked at the airport during—and through—that time, my overwhelming feeling was that things hadn’t changed at all. It’s just that people suddenly had a scapegoat for all the things they wanted to do, say, and enact around air travel. Racism especially: this became so ridiculously easy after 9/11. But it was already there, in the airport, of course. If the airport is postmodern, it is for the ways it struggles with and against Ezra Pound’s modernist mandate, “Make it new!” On the one hand, airports want you (the traveler) to feel the verve of the new. On the other hand, airports want you to feel—and to perpetuate—all the old comforts of the same, on and on and on.

 

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Curious about Mixed Martial Arts and phenomenology ? Check out Kerry Howley’s memoir Thrown.

“Passion, like violence, is unpredictable. It strikes in flashes and employs whatever chokehold necessary to keep its target pinned. For Kerry Howley, author of the memoirThrown, passion felled her in Des Moines. As a graduate student in philosophy, Howley was escaping small talk during a phenomenology conference when she wandered down the convention center’s hallway and, strangely, into the MidWest Cage Championships. There, in a room full of Iowan men and spectacle violence, Howley felt the contours of her perception balloon outwards, a sensation she’d read about, but never before experienced, in the writing of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Artaud.”

I reviewed Kerry Howley’s debut memoir, Thrown, for the Oxford American. Check it out!

Dirty Orphans

“The year my twin and I turned eight, we vowed to kill our neighbor’s cat. Buster was an enormous marmalade and, a couple times a week, he left the heads of decapitated songbirds in our front yard. He belonged to the girl across the street, Liza Parker. Liza was in our grade but not our class. She wore button-up dresses every day and had her mother drive her to school each morning because she thought the bus was too dirty. When we saw her outside, she’d turn around and go inside; or if Buster was there, she’d bend over and pet him and whisper “Dirty orphans” in a singsong voice we could hear from our side of the street.”

My story “Buster,” winner of the 2014 Meridian Editor’s Prize, is now available to read in print and online. Here’s a link!

AWP Reading

I’m reading at the Ole Miss AWP Off-site Reception and Reading hosted by MFA alumnus Ryan Bubalo. Details are below! Please join!
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
6-8:00 p.m (reading starts at 7:00)
The Academy
501 E. Pine Street, Suite 206
Seattle, WA 98122
The Academy is a gorgeous private venue a few blocks from the convention center, and our secret clubhouse for the evening. The password is “hotty toddy.”
Featured Alumni and Faculty Readers:
Kevin Fitchett lives in Oakland California, where he teaches at Berkeley City College and Oakland Military Institute. In 2012 he received his MFA from the University of Mississippi, where he also received the inaugural Elvis Meets Einstein Award. He is second in all-time scoring for Lakeland College soccer. His poetry appears in FIELD.
Anya Groner‘s essays, poems, and stories can be read in journals including Ninth Letter, The Oxford American, The Rumpus, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere.  In 2010, she received her MFA from the University of Mississippi, where she was a John and Renee Grisham fellow in fiction. Currently, she teaches writing at Loyola University in New Orleans and is at work on a novel.
Derrick Harriell is the author of poetry collections COTTON and ROPES (both Aquarius Press- Willow Books).  He works as assistant professor of English and Afro-American Studies at the University of Mississippi.
Rachel Smith grew up in Seattle and received her MFA in creative writing (fiction) from the University of Mississippi, where she held a teaching fellowship and was the recipient of the Bondurant Prize. Her writing has appeared in Brevity and been a finalist for the Copper Nickel prize in fiction. She directed the documentary film MINUSTAH Steals Goats, which was an Official Selection at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and is forthcoming from 7th Art Releasing.
We hope to see you there!

REGISTRATION IS OPEN!!

I’m teaching a class called Writing The Personal Essay for the Walker Percy Center.

The class starts on March 24th and enrollment is open to the public. Here’s a description:

Writing the Personal Essay
Instructor: Anya Groner • Mondays from 7 – 9 pm • begins March 24

Classes are held at Loyola University in New Orleans
We will read and discuss the writing of essayists such as David Sedaris, Eula Biss, Joan Didion, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and others, paying special attention to the literary elements that make good writing come alive. Short, generative writing exercises will give students the opportunity to practice specific craft skills, leading up to a final project, a personal essay which we will workshop toward revision. We will also look at markets for creative nonfiction and at the process of submitting work for publication.

I’d love for you to join us! Check out my class and the other fantastic writing classes the Walker Percy Center sponsors  HERE!

My Childhood Espionage

My essay “Suspecting The Smiths” is up at the Oxford American.

“From the ages of nine to eleven, I worked as a spy. No one paid me, nor did I report my findings to any higher-ups. I discussed my cases with my partner, who went by code name Mountain Chicken Mother of the Buddha. Mountain Chicken also happened to be my identical twin sister, and during morning recess or summer afternoons at the neighborhood pool we let lifeguards, teachers, and stray dogs in on our findings. Eventually, the Department of Labor, the U.S. Postal Service, the Virginia State Police, and the State Corporation Commission got involved. Our next-door neighbors were indicted in September of 1998 by a federal grand jury, Joe Bob on eighteen counts and his wife, Jeannie, on fifteen.”