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Happier Than He Has Any Right to Feel

Happier Than He Has Any Right to Feel By Karen Donley-Hayes   |  June 1, 2017
It may seem a foregone conclusion that Should I Still Wish, by John Evans, would make worthwhile reading. Evans is a Stanford University lecturer, memoirist, and winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize for Young Widower: A Memoir, in 2014. His writing has set him apart. What is not unique, however, is the subject of this memoir: death. Unfortunately, just about everyone has the misfortune of knowing and loving someone who has died or is dying, and more than a few of us have been compelled to write about our experiences. It’s an arguably over-worn subject, but Evans’s story doesn’t disappear into the middle of the pack.

One Era Ends. Another Begins.

One Era Ends. Another Begins. By Sebastian Sarti   |  May 5, 2017
When the past doesn’t suit you, from what do you build the future? It’s a question that lumps at the throats of many twenty-somethings who know their lives will not follow those of their parents. Though Leslie Lawrence is well past her twenties, she uses the same question to animate her book of essays, The Death of Fred Astaire, an eclectic collection that ranges over decades of its author’s unexpected life.

The Kingdom of the Sick

The Kingdom of the Sick By Elizabeth Dark   |  April 7, 2017
My best childhood friend, Vanessa, suffers from debilitating chronic pain. She has seen multiple specialists, tried numerous treatments, and been diagnosed with a handful of conditions, all of which perhaps come close to naming her experience, but never fully...

Editor's Notes, Volume 18, Number 2

Editor's Notes, Volume 18, Number 2 By Dan Lehman   |  March 24, 2017
Narcissism is much in the news these days, what with the present exemplar-in-chief posing almost daily reminders of the sins of self-absorption and grandiosity. Still, before we dismiss too glibly this comb-over phenomenon, we might as well admit that narcissism can be a charge leveled with some merit at memoir writing and its related nonfiction forms. Memoir or ME-Moir? Guilty or not?
Keywords: 18.2

A Life Story, Buried and Unburied

A Life Story, Buried and Unburied By Jo Scott-Coe   |  March 2, 2017
I seek out some nonfiction knowing I will find the author's train of mind as compelling as his subject. This was certainly true with John Edgar Wideman's latest book, Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File.

Why We Need Literature More Than Ever

Why We Need Literature More Than Ever By D.L. Hall   |  February 7, 2017
Flesh and Stones: Field Notes from a Finite World by Jan Shoemaker
Keywords: book review

Stitched Together

Stitched Together By Heather Gemmen Wilson   |  January 13, 2017
Body Memory is comprised of five, intimately connected essays. All of the essays, together, weave a story, simultaneously sad and expectant, of a man bereft.
Keywords: book review

A Craft He Would, Thankfully, Never Learn

A Craft He Would, Thankfully, Never Learn By Michael Steinberg   |  December 8, 2016
In the 1970s and 1980s, freshman composition was a province of nonfiction writing. In those days, teachers who taught comp--myself among them--learned our craft largely from the primers of people like Peter Elbow, Toby Fulwiler, Wendy Bishop, and Donald Murray, four of that period's more formidable, most passionate teacher-writers...

Growing Up With Doomsday

Growing Up With Doomsday By Mimi Schwartz   |  November 1, 2016
Memoir, in the hands of its best practitioners, enables readers to enter a world quite different from their own--and find common ground. No writer does this better than Jerald Walker, author of The World in Flames, A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult.
Keywords: book review

True Grits

True Grits By Richard Gilbert   |  October 6, 2016
Harry Crews begins his classic memoir A Childhood: The Biography of a Place by conjuring in intimate detail someone he doesn't remember...

Editor's Notes, Volume 18, Number 1

Editor's Notes, Volume 18, Number 1 By Joe Mackall   |  September 15, 2016
At the end of the academic year, when students start to lose it over grade pressure and work load, and I begin to wear down and wonder how much longer I can read thousands of pages of student work, I do what every burned-out writing teacher would do--I read.
Keywords: 18-1

The Importance of Being Outside

The Importance of Being Outside By Margot Kahn   |  September 1, 2016
Gail Folkins' collection of essays was just the impetus I needed to unearth our family's old camping equipment and plan a trip into the mountains. We hadn't gone backpacking since before our son was born, and as I sifted through stuff sacks, headlamps, and cookware, neglected parts of myself reawakened...

For You, the Universe on a String

For You, the Universe on a String By Art Edwards   |  August 12, 2016
Whenever I hear someone has writer's block, I recommend writing about one's parents. It's a loaded subject for anyone, conjuring feelings we might otherwise repress...

Thought Paths

Thought Paths By Lanie Tankard   |  July 1, 2016
"Spit" is Patrick Madden's lead essay in his latest collection, Sublime Physick. The next eleven pieces (seven previously published) shift from forceful ejection of saliva to empathy, recognition, physics, and elevators. Three compositions focus on lost children. Cave paintings, Tarot cards, time, voyages--these subjects, too, with a little music and mortality thrown in plus photos and illustrations. Male zipper negligence? Why not?! The topics range far and wide, proving no theme is off limits for this wordsmith.

The Uncomfortable Place Between Vulnerability and Voyeurism

The Uncomfortable Place Between Vulnerability and Voyeurism By Carolee Bennett   |  June 14, 2016
B.J. Hollars means it when he says, "This is a test." He tests us from the opening essay when he puts us in the middle of a tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. More specifically, he puts us in a bathtub in the middle of a tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We huddle there with Hollars, his pregnant wife and his dog. All: vulnerable...
Keywords: book review  |   6 comments

Editor's Notes, Volume 17, Number 2

Editor's Notes, Volume 17, Number 2 By Dan Lehman   |  May 31, 2016
It's been a busy season here at River Teeth, what with selecting Rosemary McGuire's "Out West: A Season on Water" as the new River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize winner from among nearly two hundred book-length entries. Then, too, we have just put our seventeenth year of the journal to bed with the final selections to issue 17.2. Each year, we receive some 2,500 submissions to the journal and another two hundred or so full-length book submissions.
Keywords: 17-2

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Sincerest Form of Flattery By Robert Lunday   |  May 2, 2016
The essayists in After Montaigne react to a particular one of the Essays. Our review examines the book as a whole and discusses the work therein by E.J. Levy, Lia Purpura, Mary Cappello, Wayne Koestenbaum, Danielle Cadena Deulen, Nicole Walker, Steven Church, Robert Atwan, Chris Arthur, Elena Passarello, Maggie Nelson, and Philip Lopate.

Faith, Fear, and Fractals

Faith, Fear, and Fractals By Tarn Wilson   |  April 8, 2016
I want to hook you by claiming that William Bradley's book of essays, Fractals, is about his near fatal battle with Hodgkin's Disease in his early twenties. And it is... But the book is also much more...

Scott Russell Sanders to Visit Ashland

Scott Russell Sanders to Visit Ashland March 16, 2016
Scott Russell Sanders is coming to Ashland, Ohio on April 13 as part of the Ashland University English Department's Spring Reading Series.

Out of Sight

Out of Sight By Richard Gilbert   |  March 1, 2016
A wizard behind the U.S. space program, German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, once likened space missions to the ocean voyages of ancient mariners. The analogy seems perfect, but the sea, while harsh, isn't instantly fatal to shipwrecked sailors.

Legacy of Lobotomy

Legacy of Lobotomy By Denise Wilkinson   |  February 4, 2016
Janet Sternburg grew up in a tight-knit, lower-middle-class Jewish family, in Boston, the niece of a lobotomised uncle and aunt.

Each and Both

Each and Both January 19, 2016
Garth Evans and Leila Philip's Water Rising calls to mind the way Merce Cunningham and John Cage worked side by side while living together as life partners. Cunningham and Cage joined dance and music by intentional collaborative chance. How do you produce a work of art that exists in two minds and media yet is created independently and concurrently? Somehow, Garth Evans and Leila Philip, who are married, have done this -- and more.

A Wildly Funny Life Story -- I, Too, Admire Your Shoes!

A Wildly Funny Life Story -- I, Too, Admire Your Shoes! By Glen Retief   |  December 1, 2015
"I want to write the moral history of the men of my generation," wrote Flaubert to his friend Mademoiselle Leroyer in 1864, talking of what would become his semi-autobiographical novel, Sentimental Education....Substitute women for men, memoir for novel, feminism for nineteenth-century bohemianism, and place our young-to-middle-aged protagonist in a green miniskirt in a Sun Belt college town. There you have, more or less, the themes and plot of Debra Monroe's new memoir, My Unsentimental Education, which updates Flaubert's novel for our own suburban, gender-redefining times.

Loosen Up

Loosen Up By Kate Hopper   |  November 1, 2015
A couple of months ago, I curled up in chair in the corner of my living room to begin reading Dinty Moore's latest book, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals. The book, as you can probably guess from the title, is a writing guide in the form of an advice column. In it Moore fields tongue-in-cheek questions from 20 contemporary essayists on topics such as grammar, the writing life, why so many writers write about writing, and how to recapture the humor of a cocktail party story without having to get drunk again.

Editor's Notes, Volume 17, Number 1

Editor's Notes, Volume 17, Number 1 By Joe Mackall   |  October 30, 2015
One day last spring my co-editor, Dan Lehman, and I were emailing back and forth--with me in Ohio and Dan in Taiwan--discussing River Teeth and a writer we were excited to be publishing in this issue. And then Dan said something that knocked me flat: “He reminds me of the late Charles Bowden.” I had not known about Chuck’s death until that second, and I still don’t know how I could have missed the news. Chuck Bowden died on August 30, 2014, at the age of sixty-nine. Too damn young. Too damn soon.

Podcast Interview with Glen Stout & Jeremy Collins

Podcast Interview with Glen Stout & Jeremy Collins By Matt Tullis   |  October 12, 2015
This episode of Gangrey: The Podcast features Glen Stout, long form editor of SB Nation and Jeremy Collins who was featured in this year's Best American Sports Writing.

An Inner Exuberance

An Inner Exuberance By Thomas Larson   |  October 1, 2015
With this review, River Teeth begins an occasional series of essays on nonfiction books we believe deserve to be read, whether again or for the first time. We are calling it "Neglected Nonfiction Classics." One of the most poignant, absorbing autobiographical memoirs I’ve ever read is this gem from 1943, The Little Locksmith.

Podcast Interview with Kim Cross and Karen Bender

Podcast Interview with Kim Cross and Karen Bender By Matt Tullis   |  September 30, 2015
On this episode of Gangrey: The Podcast, Matt Tullis talks with Kim Cross, author of What Stands In a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm To Hit the South's Tornado Alley; and with fiction writer Karen Bender, author of the short story collection Refund, which is long-listed for a National Book Award. In "Required Reading," Dave Stark offers his thoughts on J.R. Moehringer’s The Tender Bar.

Podcast Interview with Tyler Cabot

Podcast Interview with Tyler Cabot By Matt Tullis   |  September 16, 2015
This week's episode features Tyler Cabot, an articles editor for Esquire Classic, which now includes access to every issue Esquire has ever published. Cabot talks about finding new ways to tell and sell stories. Plus, host Matt Tullis shares his nonfiction narrative "The Ghosts I Run With." And in Required Reading, freelance writer D. Rossi tells us why we should all read Brian Ives’ piece “How Bruce Springsteen Got His Groove Back."

Here's One for the Bookstores

Here's One for the Bookstores By Samantha Schoech   |  September 1, 2015
Each writer in Days Like This responded to the prompt, “My _________ From Hell.” Each essay or story, in turn, depicts the epiphany that comes in the midst of a day from hell. Or a job from hell. Or a girlfriend, an amputation, an acne problem from hell so severe that it drives you to snort heroin in your father’s basement. This, fill in the blank, was the absolute worst. And this is where the writer ended up, afterwards.

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