& the War Was in Its Infancy Then

By the time I looked over my shoulder, the sun had already fallen.

A Brief Handbook of Revision for Writers

Progressive stages of revision eliminate incidence in favor of essence.

A Happy Birthday

I wanted to ride this day down into night, to smooth the unreadable page.

A Kind of Thinking and Other Poems

Life, then, was song and purple font, imagining in words a future.

A Letter to Robert Pinsky

We caress the rough. Sensuous, delectable, and yet sorrowful.

A Life with Bears

I want to focus on bears. On knowing them, and on what they need.

A Master at Work

Man is always beginning everything anew, even in his own life.

A Matter of Necessity

The survival of our world depends upon the cultivation of better language.

A Real Writer

Advance planning was never Hank’s strong suit, he had to leave her.

A Short Short Theory

Fiction, no matter how short or long, is the art form of human yearning.

A Trout in the Milk

How much simpler and more satisfying was the company of men.

A Walkabout in Andrew Wyeth’s Painting and Other Poems

My bike, my skinny body, my pent breath was thrown to the grass.

Addendum and Other Poems

The animals are dying. All the beautiful women are dying too.

After Saddam

He said he had come back to the prison because it was home.

Again, the Body

They taught us do not touch it, but who can keep from touching it?

Agents: The Business of Writing

Art touches the soul and moves life in ways that commerce cannot. E. L. Doctorow noted that writers seem to get business ideas almost right.

All My Friends Are Sad & Bright

We’ve seen the news. We know the story. How even our bodies hurt us.

America, I Do Not Call Your Name Without Hope

Lost land, this is a song for the scars on your back, for your blistered feet.

An Hour Ago

In the morning light, I could hear Bashō hard at work.

An Old Sidewalk

For sixty or maybe seventy years this sidewalk has been lying here.

Ann Beattie


The first time we love, how tight we hang on to keep from drowning.

Avoiding the Spirits

He is not a man, but an empty shell, a creature who laughs to stop the shame.

Basic Math

Subtract for the cigarettes, the bourbon, the sleepless nights.

Best Advice

You can get anyone to sleep with you—if you want it bad enough.

Best Advice

Getting answers is easy. The difficult thing is knowing the right questions.

Best Advice

I wanted from my father what I had never wanted or sought: his advice.

Best Advice

It was the sixties, and I was in
college and incredibly restless.

Beyond the Glass Ceiling There’s Sky

If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.


The old dog of inertia gets up with a growl and shrinks out of the way.