I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. As a first-generation college student,
I intended to major in engineering but fell in love with writing. I majored in English
with a double concentration in literature and creative writing, then earned an M.F.A.
from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Since then, I have published a book
of short stories and three novels, most recently The Senator's Children (Tin House Books, 2017). I have published over 40 short stories in magazines including Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, Tin House, The Southern Review, AGNI, and The Gettysburg Review. One of my stories was reprinted in The Pushcart Prize and four others were cited as distinguished stories in The Best American Short Stories. I'm grateful to have received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts,
the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, the Edward F. Albee Foundation,
and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
My most recent book, a memoir in verse, If There Are Any Heavens, was published in 2022 by Persea Books.
I have been a professor at F&M since 2002. I believe that almost every aspect of writing
can be learned through close reading, practice, and paying attention. Those aspects
of writing that can't be taught—courage and vision—can be modeled and encouraged.
My workshops are safe spaces that value freedom of expression, respect, support, and
risk. There are stories and poems you are singularly positioned to write, and my goal
as a teacher is to help you locate and write them as well as you can.
My favorite book is Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson.