In Announcements, Print on November 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm
Proud to announce that this fall I was awarded two fully-funded writing fellowships for 2017: the MacDowell Colony Fellowship and the Vermont Studio Center‘s Mountain State Fellowship.
In the spring, I’m heading for the woods of New Hampshire for a six-week residency at MacDowell. When I burst in to my roommate’s bedroom to tell her about the award the other day, she gave me a big hug and asked me, “What does it mean?” I blurted out–“I get to live in the woods! I don’t have to talk to anybody! And they drop off a picnic basket of lunch at your studio every day–you don’t even have to talk to the person who brings it!” As a hermit, a writer, and a lover of snacks, this is basically The Dream.
So admittedly, there is a little more to it than that. Such as: I’ll be using my time at both of these places to finish my first book of nonfiction, Transmontane (under contract with Swallow Press), and work on a book proposal for my as-yet-untitled second book of nonfiction. I’ll also have the chance to get to know the other writers and artists in residency, since–alas–you have to come out of your studio for group dinner.
So grateful for these two institutions. What a buoy. What a gift.
In Appalachia, Black History, Fayette County, Print, West Virginia History, Women's History on October 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm
The Stack Awards recognize the best work in independent magazines from all over the world. I was recently short-listed for a Stack Award in Nonfiction for my longform essay, “The Book of the Dead,” published in the Fall 2016 issue of Oxford American.
The piece explores the history of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Disaster and how it was documented in poetry by the writer Muriel Rukeyser. It also offers new revelations about the workers who lost their lives in the process of building the tunnel, three quarters of whom were black migratory laborers.
West Virginia-based photographer Lisa Elmaleh was commissioned to provide art for the story. Though the piece is not yet available online, a new website I built archives some of this history: The Book of the Dead: An Archive of Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Workers.
In Announcements, Appalachia, Economic Transition, Print on August 30, 2016 at 10:51 am
At the birth of any industry, uncertainty abounds. So does opportunity, say Kentuckians like Joe Schroeder of Freedom Seed and Feed, who is among those growing industrial hemp and advocating for others in Appalachia to do the same.
“It’s really speculative,” says Schroeder. “But people are making a lot of money, and that money is real.”
But don’t take that talk of money to mean Schroeder is greedy. At a time when the region’s collapsing coal and tobacco industries have left gaping holes in central Appalachia’s economy, at least some of Kentucky’s hemp experimenters want to maximize the benefit to as many local people as possible.
Read more of my story on industrial hemp at Yes! Magazine…