Poet, nonfiction writer, teacher, editor, Queen fan.
I’m a poet.
And I have a new poetry book out! It’s called Harsh Realm: My 1990s, and it was just published by Brooklyn-based Indolent Books. I describe it as a memoir-in-poems that centers on the decade of fax machines and grunge through the lens of someone coming to terms with young adulthood and trying to make their way as a writer, much of it in New York City. Fun!
Poems from Harsh Realm have appeared in literary journals like Electric Literature‘s The Commuter, Tribes Online, American Poetry Review, Word For/Word, Bennington Review, The Hopkins Review, and Court Green. In the past, my poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry and Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll.
My previous books are Shader, a coming-of-age memoir; The Incredible Sestina Anthology, which I edited; How to Be Inappropriate, a collection of humorous essays; The History of My World Tonight, my first book of poems; and God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go One, my firs two books, which are hybrid collections centered around my fandom of the rock band Queen.
I’m a nonfiction writer.
My nonfiction explores forgotten or unexamined corners of pop culture. Whether it’s a history of the Group Therapy board game, a meditation on Caddyshack and depression, or a tour of a Star Trek set re-created inside a former grocery store, my work searches for the intersection of the cultural and spiritual, where fandom meets religious experience.
In profiles and other pieces, my subjects center on underdogs and outcasts who are often ignored by the establishment and persist with their craft. I’ve taken a pilgrimage to visit legendary poet Diane Wakoski in East Lansing, Michigan. I sought out W. Bliem Kern, a retired sound artist who now works as a spiritual counselor and tarot master on the Upper West Side. I traced the journey of Max Erhmann’s world-famous hippie poem “Desiderata” to its birthplace in Terre Haute, Indiana.
My pieces have run in places like Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, New York Times, and the Poetry Foundation website. I’ve also written book reviews for Time Out New York and Bookforum, and interviewed authors for Full Stop, The Rumpus, and The Critical Flame.
My nonfiction has been collected in How to Be Inappropriate, an essay collection, and anthologized in such collections as Lost and Found and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 1. An essay of mine was singled out as a notable piece in a recent Best American Essays.
I’m a teacher.
I am a professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, where I teach writing. Over a career as a teacher, I have studied how people learn. Along the way, I fell in love with instructional design.
My teaching practice cross-pollinates with my interests in eLearning and instructional design. One of my writing assignments, “Write Your Own ‘White Album,'” was included in Now Write! Nonfiction: Memoir, Journalism and Creative Nonfiction Exercises from Today’s Best Writers.
As an eLearning specialist, I have taught all sides of the digital classroom—face-to-face and hybrid, flex and hyflex, synchronous and asynchronous, and self-guided. You name it, I’ve designed and taught them all. I love staying on top of the latest tech advances and being part of the larger community of instructional designers.
I’m an editor.
Throughout my time as a writer, I’ve been involved in literary journals big and small. I started out reading submissions for Painted Bride Quarterly, helping them move to this new thing called the World Wide Web in the late 90s. After that I helmed La Petite Zine, an online journal that was an imprint of the Web Del Sol portal. Then I went solo with Unpleasant Event Schedule, which is stil the best name of a literary journal you will ever encounter. Around that time I also edited the sestinas section for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. These days, I serve as the editor of Pine Hills Review, the online literary journal of The College of Saint Rose.
As most writers know, a literary journal editor doesn’t just read submissions and publish writing. They also build communities. Along those lines, I’ve put together reading series and events like Karaoke + Poetry = Fun, which was first held in Brooklyn’s Lyceum, then Bowery Poetry Club, and a couple times in Upstate New York. I also curated Frequency North: The Visiting Writers for almost ten years, bringing in 60-plus writers to Albany, NY.
I’m a Queen fan.
I’ve been called a “Queen historian” in Rolling Stone. My first two books, God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On, are hybrid collections that center my obsession with the greatest rock band of all time, Queen. Both were published by Soft Skull Press.
My Queen-related writing hasn’t ended end there. I’ve been quoted about Queen developments in The Onion’s AV Club and contributed to several Queen-related books that cover the band’s career. I’ve written pieces about Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury for The Rumpus, Flavorwire, Rattapallax, Barrelhouse, and other publications.