August 3rd, 2017

In the past six months, I’ve written to more public officials than I probably have in my entire life. Most of those messages aren’t worth disseminating. This one may be. It was prompted by news that the Board of Elections of New York, my home state and the second-most liberal in the union, is complying with […]


Why do this horrible thing? My stab at a commencement address.

May 1st, 2017

Since we have separate ceremonies for undergraduates and MFAs, I ended up delivering it twice: Graduates and honored guests, I’m pleased to welcome you to the 2017 commencement of students in the Writing Program of the University of Pittsburgh. I promise to keep this short, even though it’s intended for two audiences, the writers and […]


My mortal enemy

July 10th, 2016

The killings of the past week leave me heartsick and sick with rage. Two African-American men shot brutally, needlessly by white police: needlessly because one man was down on the ground with his arms pinned and the other was complying with a police order; brutally because what else do you call it when someone is […]