Suspend Your Disbelief

Joshua Bodwell

Contributing Editor

Joshua Bodwell is the executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. He is a regular contributor to Poets & Writers Magazine, where his author profiles have included Ann Beattie, John Casey, Andre Dubus III, Richard Ford, and Richard Russo. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in magazines and quarterlies such as Ambit (London), Glimmer Train’s Writer’s Ask, Threepenny Review, and Slice. His journalism has garnered awards from the Maine and New England press associations. He was awarded the 2015 Marianne Russo Award for emerging authors from the Key West Literary Seminar.

Photo Credit: Curt Richter


Articles

Shop Talk |

Under the Influence: Around the Campfire of Literature with James Salter’s Opening Paragraphs

“Above all, it must be compelling,” James Salter told the Paris Review in 1993 when asked about his idea of the short story. “You’re sitting around the campfire of literature, so to speak, and various voices speak up out of the dark and begin talking. With some, your mind wanders or you doze off, but with others you are held by every word. The first line, the first sentence, the first paragraph, all have to compel you.” Long before I ever read those remarks by Salter, I’d already come under the influence of his short stories and, in particular, his […]


Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: The Great Salt Gift of Alistair MacLeod’s “The Boat”

In February of 2002, I drove north with my pregnant wife from our home in Maine to the distant coast of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. The journey took two days. My wife’s family owned a small cottage in the village of Inverness, and the cottage hunkered on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Inverness was a desolate, frozen lunarscape that winter—the wind rushed in off the ocean day and night, Osprey hung in the ashen sky, and the air was thick with salt. The sky and the sea merged into a single cold, gray wall erasing the […]


Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: Two Stories and A Life

On June 9, 1992 I turned seventeen years old and my father gave me a single gift: a book that contained a short story that changed my life. The book was Septuagenarian Stew by Charles Bukowski and the short story was the first in the collection: “Son of Satan.” It’s a simple story, really, just six and a half pages long, propelled by curse-riddled dialogue and clipped, action-filled sentences. Classic Bukowski. But unlike many of Buk’s bum and whore populated tales, “Son of Satan” is told by an eleven-year-old narrator. After the narrator and his two friends accuse another boy […]


Shop Talk |

Parsing the Percentages: Peeking Behind the Curtain of E-book vs. Print Book Sales

When media outlets that cover the American publishing industry report on book sales and e-books “vs.” print books, they often cite percentages of sales increases and sales decreases as evidence of the current state of affairs. In reality, percentages don’t and can’t offer a full picture. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) recently released book sales data for November 2011. The e-newsletter Shelf Awareness had this to say about the AAP report: E-books yet again had the biggest gain, but the 65.9% increase marked a slowing of what had been triple-digit increases for most of the preceding several years. In […]


Essays |

The Problem of the Author: On Not Reading Autobiography into the Writing of Andre Dubus

What is the difference between art and life, between the writer and the writing? In this essay on the late, great Andre Dubus, we learn how Dubus recognized “transformative moments” as authors Richard Ford and Anne Beattie, among others, weigh in on his talents, and his legacy.




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