Looking Back at 2016


I don’t really like to set resolutions around this time because I so easily fail to keep them. Still, the new year is a good chance to take stock of all the great things that have happened to me, or that I’ve done. So, please indulge me for a moment:

In January, I received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers for my story “Road Kill”. That story was also selected as a semi finalist by Lindsay Hunter in The Conium Review’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest in July. (Someone, please publish this little story–it needs a home!)

I took a bookarts class at SFSU where I typeset and printed one of my poems in a broadside, accompanied by my own linocut art. I also learned several different binding methods, which culminated in the production of a hard-bound, hand-sewn, letterpressed chapbook, Things Not to Forget, a book of prose poems centered around my life while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine.

Two of my linocuts were published in Transfer Magazine’s Issue 111, the first time my visual art has been published!

I successfully finished my second year of my MFA program! During the spring semester, I taught Creative Writing 101, an undergraduate class at San Francisco State with an enrollment of 100 students. At the same time, I co-curated the SFSU’s grad reading series, VelRo, and I’m so proud of the community we helped foster, and the great events and projects we were a part of, which included Writing from Unrest, a collaboration with the Arts Resistance; participating in the inaugural Write of Way Festival; and creating the VelRo Reader double issue, which published work from two years of VelRo featured readers–that’s over 40 authors!

I read at a handful of events: the aforementioned Write of Way festival, Writing from Unrest, as a featured reader for VelRo, and at LitCrawl with the Arts Resistance.

I continued my study of Russian through literature with author and activist Zarina Zabrisky. Check out an Ilya Ehrenburg poem we translated in collaboration here.

My summer internship at Counterpoint Press turned into an Editorial Assistant position, and I still find myself sitting back at my desk and marveling over the fact that it’s covered with manuscripts and books, and that I get to work with such friendly, intelligent, warm, and completely book crazy colleagues and authors.

My short story, “Mortar and Pestle”, was published in the wonderful Entropy Magazine.

I tuned in my Advancement to Candidacy forms to the graduate office, which means that next semester will be my final one at SFSU. I’ll be working hard to finish my thesis, a collection of short stories called With Great Joy and Reckless Abandon. 

With the guidance of poet and educator Barbara Tomash and my classmates in
Imagining the Book, I completed a second chapbook about Ukraine, this time a hybrid-genre text that plays with form to explore the intersection of perception, isolation, history, language, and identity. I believe so strongly in this project, and I’m looking forward to winter break to delve more deeply into editing and revising, and of course–making a physical book.

And, to bring it back to goals and resolutions, I received 43 rejections of my work  this year. I’ve taken big risks, and most of them haven’t paid off. Still, I’m trying. And next year, my goal is 100!


Arts Resistance Presents: Dangerous Thinking at LitCrawl 2016

I had the pleasure of reading for The Arts Resistance and LitCrawl from my manuscript in progress, The Man Who Holds His Own Hand, which I’m working on in Barbara Tomash‘s “Imagining the Book” at SFSU. Thank you so much to Zarina Zabrisky for organizing such a great event, despite the downpour that moved the street show inside.

Here are a few pictures from our dress rehearsal in Clarion Alley, and a few pictures from the performance itself, taken by Fima Photograpy.

Semi-Finalist for The Conium Review’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest

My short story “Road Kill” was selected as a semi-finalist for The Conium Review’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest, judged by Lindsay Hunter. While it ultimately wasn’t a finalist, I was honored for it to have made it so far!


If you’d like you can hear an excerpt from “Road Kill” which I read at the MFA Mixer.