Ecocriticism Is Not “So Trendy Right Now”

I came at ecocriticism by the back door. When I found out I’d been accepted into a PhD program, I was pretty psyched to continue my research into fabulism, which I’d started almost five (!) years earlier at the University of Louisiana. At the time, fabulism was kind of a niche term, and in some…

Modern History of the Book, Kristen Edition

Right now, I’m taking a History of the Book course that is really pushing me to think in a different way about the material texts that I love so much. A few weeks ago, I got into a conversation with my mother about potentially starting a literary magazine together. It was a great conversation, but…

Animals and Games and Podcasts, Oh My!

So, this is just a quick note to mention that, although I couldn’t get to the Earth Day post I was planning (10 books to read on Earth Day… it was going to be environmentally epic, but it got mowed down– lawn pun!– by a deluge of grading), I do have some content in the…

The Plastic Problem

On my kitchen table sits a mountain of Tupperware, billowing like a mushroom cloud of colorful plastic lids with venting apertures and once-clear plastic bowls stained orange from vegetarian chili. It is an elephant graveyard of cheap storage solutions that only hides more plastic skeletons: measuring spoons purchased on discount, a green plastic spatula gone…

That Vegan Shame is Erasing Nature

I have been a very inconsistent vegetarian. My first try at it lasted for maybe a few weeks in 2004, when I was about 16 years old. I remember the moment that it ended distinctly: scarfing down a hot dog at my grandmother’s house, cooked on the grill for the fourth of July. My second…

Black Friday Preys Upon Our Best Qualities, Not Our Worst

The only people who hate Black Friday more than me are the people who are working it this year. My husband worked the last three Black Fridays, neck-deep in disaster, while I sat at home and worried about him. Also, my cat died on Black Friday two years ago, so it feels like a particularly…

On Writing a New Syllabus on the Eve of My Birth

The first year I taught composition, I was twenty-one and I knew one thing: people should teach what they’re passionate about. But at twenty-one, I barely knew what I was passionate about. I liked so many things and the abundance of grad school had provided me with a web of new things to like: sushi…

2016 Recap

Everyone knows that 2016 was a crazy year.  It included celebrity deaths, Donald Trump, and the Mannequin Challenge; we get it, it could have been better.  But when I was a teenager, I had a great piano teacher who always asked me to share five good things.  So here are five good things that happened…

#ThePoeming2016

When I was a tot who was just learning how neat writing could be, I didn’t story but poemed instead.  Poeming has always been a big part of my writing style, because I believe first and foremost in the interplay of words within a sentence.  But I haven’t poemed regularly since I was probably 15…

To Fabulism

When I was a kid, I read everything.  I mean everything.  There was a Waldenbooks in our local mall, and I’d read the entire wall of Young Adult fiction before I was even really a young adult (Judy Bloom made me pretty terrified of hitting puberty).  My favorite thing about the YA section was that…

A Defense of Academia

We can start this story with Dumbledore. I spent the better part of this morning bummed out about the fallout from a choice that I haven’t even made that wouldn’t even begin to potentially affect me for another 3-5 years.  Confused?  So was my husband, as he tried to comfort me.  Let me explain to…