In the fall of 2018 I began working on a master’s of library science degree with a focus on archives at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Since 2014 I’ve been collecting and cataloging the archives of Detroit poet Jim Gustafson (1949-1996), who was my uncle. Assembling Jim’s papers and finding a permanent, institutional home for them is what led me back to school to study archival methods.
In the photo at right I’m at the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Farnsworth Entrance, known to some as the Gustafson Exit after Jim was forcibly ejected through the glass after disrupting an Alternative Press poetry reading. My piece about Jim’s love of baseball ran in the 2017 opening day edition of the Detroit Metro Times, and has since been shortlisted for the Best American Sports Writing 2018. A manuscript of Jim’s poetry is also in the works, coedited by Alternative Press founder Ken Mikolowski, Michelle Perron, Andrei Codrescu and myself.
As far as other projects, I’m still writing and editing and proofreading and cartooning and researching and reading and reviewing. The kids and dogs still listen to me reading sentences over and over until they sound right. My short stories and essays found a few homes in 2018, and I’m proud that my book reviews continue to appear in great indie magazines like Foreword Reviews and BUST. I’m one of the founding editors of Dead Housekeeping, where we run very short essays about how the dead did things. I’m also an editor at the Great Lakes Review, a literary journal focusing on writing from and influenced by the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada.
I have a BA and an MFA from the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago, where I studied the Story Workshop™ method with the originator of the method, John Schultz, and with my creative thesis advisor Betty Shiflett. The specialization of my MFA was the teaching of writing, which I’ve done at Columbia College, at Baker College in Cadillac, Michigan, and in a variety of outreach programs.