The Really Short Bio
Daniel Nester is the author most recently of Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects. His other books include How to Be Inappropriate, and God Save My Queen I and II, and editor of The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2014). He teaches writing at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.
Daniel Nester’s Whole Life Story in a Nutshell
I grew up in Maple Shade, a small town in South Jersey. My dad was a truck driver and my mom a part-time secretary. I write about growing up there in my latest book, Shader.
I went to Catholic school for 12 years. We’re talking altar boy, the sacraments, saying the rosary, the works.
I started working when I was 12, first as a janitor’s helper, then a car washer through high school. I bought a lot of records.
I didn’t go far away to college: Rutgers-Camden is about eight miles from my house. I was an English major. I lived there for four years, then moved to Philly for a couple lost years before escaping to New York City to attend NYU’s creative writing program for poetry.
After grad school, I kept writing poems, published some poems, did readings, and eventually, miraculously, published my first book, God Save My Queen. It’s a a prose poetry/memoir that includes a piece for every song recorded by the rock band Queen up until 1982.
Then I did a sequel, God Save My Queen II. You might say I’m a big fan.
Around the same time, I wrote essays and journalism, some medical journalism and technical writing, reviews, interviews and profiles.
I also edited literary journals. At Painted Bride Quarterly, I helped bring that storied literary journal into the digital age in the late 1990’s. I later went solo as an editor and put out a couple years of La Petite Zine under the auspices of Web Del Sol. Then came Unpleasant Event Schedule, my own baby. I also worked as Assistant Web Editor for Sestinas at McSweeney’s. This led to my putting together The Incredible Sestina Anthology a few years later.
I also love to teach. I started out as a volunteer creative writing teacher in college, at a halfway house in Camden, NJ. As a graduate student at NYU, I was given a year-long teaching fellowships at Coler-Goldwater Hospital, where I worked at a facility for the severely physically challenged. I also led workshops at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center. The college teaching work came later, as an adjunct professor at places like NYU, Hofstra, and The New School.
Then, in 2005, I was hired at The College of Saint Rose in Albany. There, I started a successful reading series called Frequency North, which brought more than 70 writers to campus. I also serve as founding editor of Pine Hills Review, the college’s literary journal.
I’m married to Maisie Weissman, an Emmy-nominated music and film editor who worked with Spike Lee for years and now edits TV shows. We have two daughters, Miriam and Beatrice, who fill our house with corny Netflix shows, drawings, and attempts at pre-tween sarcasm.
I think that’s it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
The Longer Daniel Nester Bio, Written in the Third Person
Daniel Nester is an essayist, freelance writer, poet, writing professor, erstwhile literary journal editor, reading series curator, podcaster, and Queen superfan.
He is the author most recently of the memoir Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects. His other books include How to Be Inappropriate, a collection of humorous nonfiction; The Incredible Sestina Anthology, which he edited; The History of My World Tonight, a book of poems; and God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On, his first two books, which are collections on his obsession with the rock band Queen.
As a journalist and essayist, his writing has appeared in a variety of places, such as American Poetry Review, Salon, New York Times, Buzzfeed, The Atlantic online, and the Poetry Foundation website. His work has been anthologized in Lost and Found, The Best American Poetry, The Best Creative Nonfiction, Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll, and Now Write! Nonfiction.
His poems have appeared in such journals as Love’s Executive Order, Coconut, Shampoo, Barrow Street, jubilat, Crazyhorse, Open City, Slope, Spoon River Poetry Review, and other places. He is the former editor of the online journals Unpleasant Event Schedule and La Petite Zine and worked as Assistant Web Editor for Sestinas for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
He is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.
My primary email address is danielnester [at] gmail [dot] com. That’s the best way to contact me.
If you want to email me at my work address, it’s nesterd [at] strose [dot] edu. My phone number there is 518-454-2812.
To mail something directly to me–books for possible review, mix CDs, random gifts–send it to my address at work:
Associate Professor of English
The College of Saint Rose
432 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203
Photo taken by Matthew Klein in Woodstock, NY on Record Store Day, 2017.