I’ve had this conversation with enough people by now that I think it’s worth putting down in some more permanent form. The audience for this piece is specifically white academics, or those who consider themselves educated (whether self- or formally-) white allies, though of course anyone can read it.  Continue reading



I have been lifting weights again, an endeavour to which I am partial because my only goal in lifting is being able to lift more, the same the-ends-are-the-means process that motivates me to write. On my better days, I am trying to make a poem so that I can make the next one. On my worst: to satisfy my ego’s gaping maw, its endlessly open wound. Continue reading

On the Last Day of the Fall Semester

Closing remarks to my introduction to creative writing students. As with most of what I do in the classroom, it’s at least 40% self-directed.

1 December 2016

It has been my honour and my pleasure to teach you this semester. It has also been my privilege to learn from you. Each one of you has done the kind of hard, honest work that constitutes an artist’s life: learned a new skill, challenged an old assumption, surprised yourself with a talent you didn’t know you had. Said something you didn’t think you knew how to say. You have also given me, unasked, your trust and your respect. I’m grateful for that. And I hope you feel that I have given you the same. Continue reading


It’s almost the end of summer break and I’m nearly through a notebook. Like most who spend much time with such accoutrement, I am fussy about my ink (black, fine, rollerball or fountain) and my paper, which cannot under any circumstances be white with blue lines. Continue reading


I spent many many years, as a young person, playing basketball. I was simultaneously pretty good and terrible, depending which end of the court I was on. Genetically blessed with relative height and wingspan, quick feet, and a decent vertical leap, defense was my game. Continue reading


I’m sitting in my car in the parking lot of an On Route halfway between Windsor and London, eating a cup of Greek yogurt with a plastic knife. It did occur to me, as I scrambled to leave home in time to get to my 12:40 appointment, that I’d need something to eat. It did not occur to me that woman does not live on PB&J alone. Continue reading