December 22, 2011
This week I was interviewed by Ryan King for the great environmental news site Mongabay as part of their series of talks with environmental journalists. There's an excerpt below but you can read the whole thing on Mongabay by clicking on the photo.
Ryan King: What is your background and interest in environmental and radical journalism and writing?
Cara Hoffman: I began writing about environmental politics for a small rustbelt newspaper in the 90s, and quickly became educated in the ways corporations destroyed the health of entire communities. (more…)
December 19, 2011
E. and me at my sister-in-law's bar.
Well…Since you were wondering, we’re having another very traditional family Christmas here in Alphabet City. For me, that means spending the week before the holiday working on a revision of the second novel. And for my kid, E., it means remixing a recording of Ave Maria sung in 1904 by a 90-year-old castrati.
At some point R., my nerdy other half will come over and (more…)
May 16, 2011
where it's all happening
Last November Simon and Schuster bought my new novel. A book that currently exists in the form of handwritten notebook pages, scribbles on the backs of receipts and in the margins of books I've been reading.
This spring I'll be putting it all together and have finally found some office space:
Park De Tranquilidad, a community garden near (more…)
April 21, 2011
One of my favorite writers is not a writer. It’s Will Oldham, the voice and force behind the band Palace, The Palace Brothers, Palace Music and Bonnie Prince Billy. I listened to very little else when I was (more…)
April 6, 2011
David Abrams’ short stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Connecticut Review, The Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, and other literary quarterlies. He is currently at work on Fobbit, a novel loosely based on his experiences during the Iraq War. His blog, The
Quivering Pen, can be found at:www.davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com
It’s February 2005 and I am in a C-130 flying over Iraq, scrotum shriveling at the thought of terrorist rocket launchers which, at that very moment, could be aimed directly at our fuselage. (more…)
March 12, 2011
Hannah Pittard’s ingenious The Fates Will Find Their Way is a beautifully written story about the relentlessly solipsistic and obsessive power of male fantasy even when faced with very sad and personal realities.
Missing Nora Lindell will never be found. And her story becomes instead fodder for obsessive speculation by (more…)
February 23, 2011
David Mathews’ memoir Ace of Spades is the story of the author’s bleak childhood and adolescence in inner city Baltimore. A confessional, coming of age story that employs poetic language and sardonic wit to restrain and redirect the rage comprising the heart of the book.
Though published in 2007, Ace of Spades feels very much the work of another era stylistically. It also feels like the work of another era because the plot centers around Mathews, a mixed race kid, passing as white. (more…)
February 14, 2011
Derrick Jensen has produced some of the most culturally significant writing about the environment (and about the psychological environment we live in as a result of the dominant philosophy of corporations) of the past decade. His work is filled with a love and rage and hope that few of us could sustain for a week let alone a lifetime of prolific writing. (more…)
February 1, 2011
When I first read Philipp Meyer’s American Rust I was struck by the poetry of it and exhilarated by the issues the author brought to light. It was the first novel I’d read by a contemporary that excited my sensibilities for language as well as meaning. It’s a courageous and deeply sensitive piece of fiction and to me it heralded (more…)
January 23, 2011
Readers of this blog (and friends) will know my mother as the person whose ideas about parenting included reading booze-drenched modernist classics to me when I was eleven. So, it will not come as a surprise to anyone that when I was a few years older than that, she dropped me off at a Kurt Vonnegut reading while she went to a lecture in another part of town. (more…)
December 15, 2010
Jan Clausen is the author of 11 books in a range of genres. If You Like Difficulty (Harbor Mountain Press) and From a Glass House (IKON), both poetry, came out in 2007. Older titles include her memoir Apples and Oranges: My Journey Through Sexual Identity (Houghton Mifflin) and the novel Sinking, Stealing (Crossing Press). (more…)
December 13, 2010
When I lived in Ithaca, NY, I became friends with a writer named Jon Frankel. A deeply, darkly funny guy who equally loved Phillip K. Dick and John Donne. Neither of us had attended college and we were dedicated to learning and reading outside of the institution. Like me he was trying to be (more…)
November 16, 2010
Before and during the times when I was working as a reporter upstate I worked as a bartender in a town that had no traffic light and a population of 1,800. The bar had a kind of derelict hominess, was frequented by old time musicians, Viet Nam Vets, families with young children, professors and a surprising number of know-it-all drop outs, rural hipsters, and the under-employed. (more…)
September 8, 2010
When I was a child my favorite story was a piece by James Thurber that my mother used to read to me. It was called “Something to Say” and it was about an alcoholic writer named Elliot Vereker, an eccentric whose genius was confirmed by the number of terrible things he did; freeloading on friends, crashing parties, breaking light bulbs on the ground because he liked the sound of shattering glass, wrenching plumbing away from the walls and denouncing the achievements of those around him because they were all fools. Despite this he was loved and respected—seen as a guy who wrote something of substance. To my eleven year old mind, Vereker seemed the perfect role model. (more…)