The Life & Times of Goya at the Brattleboro Museum

July 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

31-112Very much looking forward to giving this illustrated talk on one of my favorite Spanish artists and the times that produced him. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries encompass a  fascinating era in Spanish history, well into the decline of the great Empire, with plenty of corruption and chaos to go around, culminating in the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and the dark times that followed.

Among other things, we’ll be tracing Goya’s evolution from a designer of light-hearted tapestry cartoons to First Court Painter to an artist who captured his age with a darkness and power that sent western civilization’s understanding of what creative art is and can be hurtling into the future.

We’ll also be serving tapas and summer wine. So if you’re in the area on Thursday, July 21, at 5:30 PM, stop by BMAC in downtown Brattleboro!

National Geographic Student Expeditions in Cuba

July 1, 2016 § 2 Comments

DSC04327Very excited to be participating in the first ever NatGeo student programs to Cuba. I’ll be starting out with the first group toward the end of their program in the province of Santa Clara, a few hours east of the capital, and then joining the second group for the beginning of their program in Havana. Traveling to Cuba, by now, feels something akin to going home for me. It’s been a few months, so I’m looking forward to checking in on the evolving situation!

IMG_8931I’m also excited to be traveling with student groups, because leading student groups is how I spent most of my early career in educational travel. I relish the sense of adventure that usually arises within such groups—and in my experience NatGeo students are an exceptionally positive, creative, and intellectually curious bunch. It will be hot this time of year, but that’s nothing to worry about, as we’ll be on an island surrounded by crystalline blue water!

Cuba Writers Program!

May 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

IMG_8878Very excited to be heading down to Havana for the first annual Cuba Writers Program, which I’m launching in partnership with two astoundingly talented writing colleagues, Alden Jones and Ann Hood. If you’re feeling a bit of “FOMO,” never fear! We’ll be offering it again next year.

IMG_8934And if you want to explore the idea of setting up your own trip to Cuba, either independently or in a preexisting program, don’t hesitate to send me a note. I’m happy to point you in the right direction and/or help you to make the soup-to-nuts arrangements. There’s never been a better time to go to Cuba!

New: Customized Independent Trips to Cuba

March 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

CURRENTLY BOOKING TRIPS FOR WINTER ’21 AND BEYOND  – Hey everybody, recent changes in US law now make it possible for individuals to travel to Cuba without signing on with a tour group. This is an exciting development because it can now be done more affordably than ever, at your own pace, and according to your own interests. You DO need to make arrangements in advance, however—and in order to avoid falling into the well-grooved touristic route it’s a very good idea to seek expert advice. And, well, that’s where I come in!

IMG_0277If you’ve been meaning to get to Cuba, but don’t like the idea of being on a tour group and/or don’t want to spend a fortune doing it, click here to read all about letting me help you up a customized independent trip.

Georgia O’Keeffe talk at the Brattleboro Museum

February 25, 2016 § 1 Comment

Excited for tonight’s talk, “Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico,” 7PM at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. Join us if you’re anywhere nearby! Slide67

New article out on current situation in Cuba

December 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

IMG_7060If you’re wondering what the situation is on the ground in Cuba right now, in the aftermath of the Obama Cuba policy shift, here’s my take, published recently in Cuba Journal. It’s based on frequent first hand observations since 1999, and especially on the four trips I took to the island in 2015.

If anyone is interested in going, by the way, it’s easier than ever to do so legally as a US citizen, though there are still a number of hoops you have to jump through. Send me a note and I can either help you set up a trip or point you in the right direction.

If you’re interested in traveling to Cuba independently or with a small group, read this first. 

Green Writers Press nominates “Mouth of the Tropics” for Pushcart

December 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

DSC00199Received this good news recently. “Mouth of the Tropics” is a short story I had a great deal of fun writing, about an American biologist in Venezuela’s Orinoco Basin who sets out to discover a new amphibian species and gets a great deal more than he bargained for in the process.

It’s a special honor to be nominated by Green Writers Press, which has a unique vision and has been putting out an exciting array of new books over the last few years. Keep your fingers crossed!

Collection is Semifinalist for Subito Press Book Prize

November 26, 2015 § 2 Comments

DSC04036Pleased to note that my short fiction collection, “A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing,” was named a semifinalist for the 2015 Subito Press Book Prize. So far, earlier versions of the same book have also been shortlisted for the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project, the Autumn House Fiction Prize, and the Lewis-Clark Press Discovery Award. Stories within the collection have won a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and the Grand Prize of Outrider Press’s The Mountain anthology, and have been shortlisted for many awards including the Lightship Publishing International Literature Prize, the Glimmer Train Short Story Award, The Richard Yates Short Story Award, and others.

It’s been a long road for these stories, all of which  have appeared previously in literary magazines and/or anthologies, but a final home may be in sight. Stay tuned for more exciting news about the collection . . .

New Short Fiction out in Saranac Review

September 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

100_2020Hey everyone, very pleased to announce the publication of my story, “The Dragon of Conchagua,” in the latest issue of Saranac Review.

In the story, a troubled former Peace Corps volunteer returns to Ecuador to climb a high-altitude volcano, where he is plagued by disturbingly vivid memories. This is a subject that has been haunting me for a long time, since the early nineties, in fact, when I was doing quite a bit of work in Ecuador and exploring the evocative páramo in the “Avenida de los Volcanes” near Quito. Its interesting how long actual experiences have to gestate before they can emerge as fiction—although the truth is that this story, like most of my published stories, has gone through literally dozens of drafts, often over a period of many years. 

307962563An earlier version was shortlisted for the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards, but this is the first time it’s been released to the world at large. I’m especially thrilled about this one because Saranac Review is a well-regarded, well-put-together literary journal, and this issue looks particularly good. You can order the paperback or PDF copy of the journal here

Northern Spain by Rail with National Geographic

September 15, 2015 § 3 Comments

franciscogoya_the_parasolWhat a privilege it is to be heading back to Spain, the country that I’ve long considered my home away from home. This is a special trip, too, my first time on National Geographic’s fascinating Northern Spain by Private Rail. We’ll be starting in Santiago de Compostela and making our way across the northern breadth of the Iberian peninsula to San Sebastián, all aboard the extremely well appointed Transcantábrico Gran Lujo.

EH 6672P Ernest Hemingway with Ilya Ehrenburg and Gustav Regler during the Spanish Civil War, not dated, circa 1937. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Of course we’ll be stopping quite a bit along the way, to explore Romanesque chapels, mountain villages, and prehistoric cave art.  I’ll be giving a series of lectures focusing on Spanish history, the life and times of Francisco de Goya, and Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, and of course I’m hoping to be able to get a bit of good writing done too. All in all, much to look forward to!

Follow me on Instagram or Facebook if you’d like to see photos from the experience!

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