September 21, 2010

Review: Walks with Men, by Ann Beattie

Review by Kate Petersen

I heard Ann Beattie read once, years ago, at the New York State Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga Springs. I was new to writing as craft, and to the short story, and what stories I knew had sky in them.

Continue reading "Review: Walks with Men, by Ann Beattie" »

August 24, 2010

Justin Cronin's The Passage: A Review, of Sorts

passage1.jpg784 pp., Ballatine, $27

Reviewed by Sara Joy Culver

The important thing to understand before you read this review is that I am not a snob.

Continue reading "Justin Cronin's The Passage: A Review, of Sorts" »

July 14, 2010

Issue 7 Reading Period Open

Attention writers and readers: We are now accepting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction submissions for our Issue 7 reading period, July 15 to November 15, 2010. This year we have transitioned to an online-only submission policy: submit your work via Submishmash. This will streamline our reading process and expedite responses to our prospective contributors.

Continue reading "Issue 7 Reading Period Open" »

July 13, 2010

Review: The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer

bridge_cover_235.jpg602 pp., Knopf, $26.95

by Sally Franson
A lot of fuss has been made about the length of Julie Orringer's debut novel, The Invisible Bridge. Coming in at a whopping 602 pages, this sweeping historical epic, which has earned itself references to Tolstoy and Eliot, isn't exactly the stuff that summer vacations are made of.

Continue reading "Review: The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer" »

July 6, 2010

Review: Bird Any Damn Kind, by Lucas Farrell

90 pp., Caketrain Press, $8

by Feng Sun Chen
The first thing I noticed about Lucas Farrell's Bird Any Damn Kind was the cover. It is rarely appropriate to judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes, but this book lives up to its beautiful and surreal front image by Louisa Conrad.

Continue reading "Review: Bird Any Damn Kind, by Lucas Farrell" »

June 11, 2010

You Can Be--or Already Are--An Award-Winning Writer

by Robyn Parnell

Calling all non-award-winning writers (you know who you are)--it's time to add a trophy title to your nom de plume. It imparts that certain je ne sais quoi, literary cachet; besides, with all the opportunities out there, what's your excuse for not having one?

Continue reading "You Can Be--or Already Are--An Award-Winning Writer" »

May 17, 2010

Lyric of the Unseen: Navigating Shadows in Nonfiction

by Barrie Jean Borich

chicago-skyline.jpgThe image of Chicago presented on most promotional posters is a photograph of the famous skyline, shot from somewhere out over the deeps of Lake Michigan. In these wide-angle portraits, the Sears Tower and the John Hancock are fraternal twins, each a third of the way in from the edge of the lit-up cluster, seemingly holding up the glassy herd of the Loop.

Continue reading "Lyric of the Unseen: Navigating Shadows in Nonfiction" »

May 10, 2010

Recovering Memory, Writing Nightmare: Sharon Doubiago's Epic Memoir of Incest

by J. Lee Morsell

When I was growing up in Mendocino, California, the poet Sharon Doubiago was a hero and a role model to me and to a few other friends interested in literature. She would visit our small town periodically, read at a local venue and drink wine with our parents. She seemed very shy.

Continue reading "Recovering Memory, Writing Nightmare: Sharon Doubiago's Epic Memoir of Incest" »

May 3, 2010

Interview: Peter Bognanni on Pauly Shore, Punk Music, and the Midwestern Novel

by Laura Owen

houseoftomorrow1.jpgPeter Bognanni is the author of the recently released novel The House of Tomorrow (Putnam/Penguin). A graduate of The Iowa Writer's Workshop and author of short stories, humor pieces, and screenplays, he currently teaches Creative Writing at Macalester College. Sometimes he blogs hilariously at

Continue reading "Interview: Peter Bognanni on Pauly Shore, Punk Music, and the Midwestern Novel" »

April 25, 2010

Art of the Author Interview: A Conversation with Robert Birnbaum

by J.C. Sirott

If an interview is a type of performance, then it follows that the director will play a large part in determining its success. Too often, authors are subject to flat, slacken interviewers who blurt a succession of pat questions that could just as easily be asked of one writer as another. Not Robert Birnbaum.

Continue reading "Art of the Author Interview: A Conversation with Robert Birnbaum" »

April 5, 2010

The Post-MFA Life: Illusions, Delusions, and Beer

by Liana Liu

Fiction writer Laura Owen is one of the funniest ladies I know, and this is reflected in her work. But the quirkiness of her characters--a magician who cuts off his own head, a suburban mom who wears grills--never overpowers the emotional impact of her work. Laura graduated from the University of Minnesota MFA program last May; here we talk about life after school, life during school, and the importance of commas.

Continue reading "The Post-MFA Life: Illusions, Delusions, and Beer " »

April 1, 2010

Review: John D'Agata's About a Mountain

by David LeGault

9780393068184_300.jpgJohn D'Agata has already done a lot for the nonfiction world. His debut essay collection, Halls of Fame, combined innovative use of form with insightful prose that made readers re-consider the way a collection of short nonfiction could build to a bigger theme and meaning.

Continue reading "Review: John D'Agata's About a Mountain" »

March 28, 2010

The Void Beneath Our Feet: An Interview with Eric Puchner

by J.C. Sirott

modelHomeLgeBkImage.jpgOne of the more fashionable knocks on literary fiction is that contemporary novels and short stories no longer concern themselves with work. An editor at the New York Times Book Review recently cataloged some prominent complaints, from Granta editor John Freeman on the invisibility of the daily grind in fiction to popular philosopher Alain De Botton's call for a more poignant literature of the workplace.

Continue reading "The Void Beneath Our Feet: An Interview with Eric Puchner" »

March 17, 2010

Social Media Meets the Anti-Social Novelist

by Kevin Fenton

penguins.jpgYou could argue that nothing has changed.

You could argue that Addison and Steele and Samuel Johnson were ur-bloggers. After all, the first magazines--The Rambler, The Spectator--were not magazines in the modern sense. Rather, they were short personal essays published a couple of times a week by guys who spent too much time in coffee houses.

Continue reading "Social Media Meets the Anti-Social Novelist " »

March 12, 2010

Notes for New Editors: An Interview with Adam Hochschild

A companion to "The Art of Moral History: An Interview with Adam Hochschild," in dislocate #6.

by J. Lee Morsell

Adam Hochschild--image by Spark MediaAdam Hochschild is the author of six books. His latest, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, was a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award. King Leopold's Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa was a finalist for the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award.

He has been a reporter for the
San Francisco Chronicle, a commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," and an editor at Mother Jones and Ramparts magazines. He is currently working on a book about World War I. We interviewed Adam Hochschild in November 2009 for the upcoming dislocate #6, and discussed topics ranging from politics and literature to the joys and perils of research. In the following excerpt, we discussed globalization, the impact of the Internet on journalism, and what he has learned as an editor.

Continue reading "Notes for New Editors: An Interview with Adam Hochschild" »

March 11, 2010

Welcome Note from the Editor-in-Chief

by Colleen Coyne

Welcome to the new dislocate online!

We've been hearing it for years: the publishing world is undergoing significant changes, and literature as we know it--both its material form and its content--will never be the same. This news is both exhilarating and slightly terrifying to most literary-minded folks, us included.

Continue reading "Welcome Note from the Editor-in-Chief" »

March 9, 2010

Writing Rituals: Superstition or Science?

by Rosanne Bane

ritual.jpgHonoré de Balzac always put on a dressing gown that looked like a monk's robe before he wrote. Alexandre Dumas used different colors of paper and different pens for different kinds of writing. Saul Bellow had two typewriters--one for fiction, one for essays and criticism--that could never be interchanged.

Continue reading "Writing Rituals: Superstition or Science?" »

March 5, 2010

An Interview with Fiction Editor Brian Gebhart

by Liana Liu

briangebhart.jpgBrian Gebhart, like all the best superheroes, has multiple identities (please note: this is not the same as multiple personalities). He's a writer! He's an MFA student at the University of Minnesota! He's a molder of young minds (please note: I hear he has a student fan club)! He's a loving husband! He's great at trivia! He's from Oklahoma! He has a fluffy cat!

Continue reading "An Interview with Fiction Editor Brian Gebhart" »

March 1, 2010

The Quiet Charge: An Interview with Jim Shepard

by J.C. Sirott

shepard-cap.jpgJim Shepard is the author of six novels and three short story collections. Our interview with him in the upcoming dislocate #6 ranges from the books he re-reads every year to how he reached his empathetic limit when he considered writing from the point of view of a historical figure who derived orgasms from swimming in the blood of children.

The September 22, 2009 interview was too long to print in its entirety, so we've split it between the print journal and In the following excerpt, we asked him about lessons learned from his former teacher, the great John Hawkes, and about Electric Literature and the Kindle.

Continue reading "The Quiet Charge: An Interview with Jim Shepard" »

February 22, 2010

On "Inspiration": A Look Into P&W Jan./Feb. 2010

by David LeGault

pwjan2010.jpgWrite about what you don't understand. Write about what you can't forget. Write about your regrets and your outrage." This advice comes from John Dufresne in his article, "Writing Your First Novel," in the Jan/Feb. "Inspiration" issue of Poets and Writers.

And the article does provide a nice amount of cheerleading: he explains that a novel can start anywhere, he outlines the unexpected ways that a few well-known novels found their star (Louisiana Power and Light began as an attempt at understanding place; The Sound and the Fury began as a story of a funeral; Ragtime began in the midst of writer's block--Doctorow started describing the wall in front of his desk and eventually found a novel).

Continue reading "On "Inspiration": A Look Into P&W Jan./Feb. 2010" »

October 25, 2009

Seven Tips for National Novel Writing Month

In her 1934 classic, Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande prescribes an exercise in discipline: every day for a week, immediately upon waking up, write nonstop for fifteen minutes. After that first week, schedule two more fifteen-minute slots throughout the day; at those exact times, you must stop whatever you're doing and write. She ends her prescription with this warning: "If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing." Your resistance, she says, is greater than your desire to write; you may as well find something else to do with yourself.

Continue reading "Seven Tips for National Novel Writing Month" »

August 27, 2009

An Interview with Kevin Wilson

By J.C. Sirott

Everyone here at dislocate is a big fan of Kevin Wilson, whose short story, "The Vanishing Husband," was featured in dislocate #5. Recently, one of our editors had the chance to ask Wilson a few questions. We present that interview to you here.

Continue reading "An Interview with Kevin Wilson" »

February 22, 2009

The A.W.P. Chronicles: I'm a Believer

awp-chicago.pngby Libby Edelson

Last weekend a large contingent of dislocaters traveled from Minneapolis to Chicago to set up shop at this year's Associated Writer's Program (A.W.P.) conference. Over 8,000 people flooded the downtown Hilton, and from our shared hotel rooms to the book-fair, from the panels to the parties, there was hardly a moment of alone-time to be had. Funny, because the very thing we were all there to celebrate--writing--is a solitary act.

Continue reading "The A.W.P. Chronicles: I'm a Believer" »

February 9, 2009

Writing Stimulus

by Brian Gebhart

So everyone knows how bad things are right now, in just about every area of the economy. Writers and artists are no exception, though they aren't one of the politically kosher sectors that various leaders and commentators like to single out for their sympathies (i.e. money). One of the most universally ridiculed pieces of the current stimulus package was funding for the NEA, though there is actually a great case to be made for arts funding as effective stimulus.

Continue reading "Writing Stimulus" »

November 27, 2007

An Audience with the Don: Lee Gutkind

by Holly Vanderhaar

In 1997, Vanity Fair's James Wolcott pejoratively referred to Lee Gutkind as "the Godfather behind creative nonfiction." Though it wasn't Wolcott's intention, his dismissive remark brought Gutkind and the genre to the awareness of countless Vanity Fair readers, and as we all know, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Gutkind started America's first MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh, and is the founder and editor of the literary journal Creative Nonfiction. He has written or edited twelve books, most recently Almost Human: Making Robots Think (2007).

Continue reading "An Audience with the Don: Lee Gutkind" »

November 20, 2007

Tug McGraw's Leap: Baseball and the Literary Arts

(or, "How Long Until Pitchers and Catchers Report?")

by Kevin O'Rourke

Timing is everything. Just when I couldn't have been more distraught over the end of the 2007 baseball season, and moreover the manner in which it concluded (another sweep?!), my mother gave me a book. Namely Michael Chabon's highly entertaining and evocative Summerland (Miramax, 2002). His tale of children & baseball & a fantasy world which exists in tandem with our own certainly did its very best to raise my spirits. So what if the book is supposed to be for kids? So was a certain other series about a boy wizard and his adventures. I enjoyed that one too, even if it meant removing the books' dust jackets whenever reading them on the subway.

Continue reading "Tug McGraw's Leap: Baseball and the Literary Arts" »

November 8, 2007

Interview: Kristy Bowen

by Ryo Yamaguchi

feign.jpgAll the poets and I here at dislocate are huge huge fans of Kristy Bowen's latest chapbook, feign, out from New Michigan Press last year, 2006. Okay, I have been trying to find a deft, definitive reason for why I am so enamored of this book, and short of solving any of my own life problems (inability to sleep, lack of rhythm, that reoccurring smell of copper), I have come upon a conclusion: I love these poems for the way they bring an otherwise associative sensibility into a strong sense of scene: how Bowen discovers within and at the corners of her stagings these shadow worlds: or a jar lifted to open the air over the curio: so everything has a pitch toward a silent figure: even has her mind leaps, it finds an accumulating logic.

Continue reading "Interview: Kristy Bowen" »