James Robison

Occupation Writer/Professor
Website http://jamesrobison.us/index.php

About Me

Bio: James Robison has published many stories in The New Yorker, won a Whiting Grant for his short fiction and a Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his first novel, The Illustrator, brought out by Bloomsbury in the U.K. His work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, Grand Street and thrice in The Manchester Review. The Mississippi Review devoted an issue to seven of his short stories. He co-wrote the 2008 film, New Orleans Mon Amour, and has poetry and prose forthcoming or published in Story Quarterly,The Northwest Review, The Green Mountains Review, The Dublin Quarterly, Salt Hill Journal, The Montreal Review, Scythe, Pirene’s Fountain, The Raleigh Review, Smokelong Quarterly, The Santa Clara Review, elimae,The Blue Fifth Review, Istanbul Literary Review, Wigleaf, Commonline, BLIP Magazine, The Ramshackle Review, Blast Furnace, Stepaway Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly,The Houston Literary Review, Metazen, Corium Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Message In A Bottle, Thrush Poetry Journal, Thumbnail, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Necessary Fiction, Danse Macabre, THIS magazine, The Paradise Review, Drunken Boat,The Philadelphia Review of Books,The 2River View, NNN Virgogray Press, from India and Macedonia The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, and elsewhere. He taught for eight years at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program, was Visiting Writer at Loyola College of Maryland, was Fiction Editor of The North Dakota Quarterly and 2011 Visiting Artist at The University of Southern Mississippi.He is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for 2012 and his story appears in that anthology’s 2013 edition. He has a new screenplay under option.

Why do you write?

I write because the neighbor's dog talks to me.

Any favorite authors? Books?


James Robison's Wall

Ellis Purdie – Jun 27, 2013

You're too good, friend. Was looking at those new Pushcart stories the other day and was so pleased to see your name there. Proud to be one of your goslings. Thanks for the encouragement.

Kari Nguyen – Jun 26, 2013

Thank You

Jane Flett – Sep 03, 2012

We are immensely flattered by your comment, and we thank you for it.

MrsQ – Sep 01, 2012

Thank you for your kind words. They are very much appreciated.

strannikov – Aug 31, 2012

Greetings, Professor Robison, with thanks for your exceedingly generous nods for "Tomorrows Never Written . . .". In terms of audibility and reciprocity I promise to return to "The Metamorphosis" and "A Hunger Artist" ASAP. Salutations and benedictions, from s

Thomas Reilly Bray – Aug 31, 2012

Thanks James, your words matter.

Valerie Henderson – Aug 30, 2012

:) Thank you again :) I think we're all mentally fucked up.

Marda Miller – Aug 30, 2012

Hi James, thank you for the comment and fave on Voices From a Playground. Much appreciated :)

Carl Santoro – Aug 28, 2012

Thank you James for joining in the further adventures of "the search." I am flattered by the Pynchon reference. I will begin reading Gravity's Rainbow this week!

I went to your page and I thoroughly enjoyed your MARS piece. Charlie and Denise reminded me of Albee's George and Martha. I love the sound and thought of dragonfly's churning up snow dervishes! Wonderful imagery!

I'm working on BLOCKED, Chapter 3 right now which is a dialogic epistolary (I'm told) and as a photographer, and not a writer, I am struggling with it. Your talents would be better suited to the feelings I'm trying to get across.

Thanks again for commenting on "The Search for Pastina Continues"

Valerie Henderson – Aug 27, 2012

Thank you!! :) :)

Bill Yarrow – Aug 12, 2012

Jim, thanks for the thumbs up for "Bare Ruined Palace"!

Ann Bogle – Jul 09, 2012

Cryptic remarks by men about fish in response to a clairvoyantly-written piece! I have never seen a fish with two heads, nor fed a fish at the park, but I have heard a man say that he found two eggs under the Egg Tree, outside the cafe, where he ordered them scrambled.

Gessy Alvarez – Jul 09, 2012

Thanks, James for thr "faverooola" on "A Good Man Deserves A Good Woman"...I feel warm and happy now.

See ya – Jun 04, 2012

Just getting the chance to thank folks who took time to read or comment or both on Grocery Shopping. That's a mighty fine thing to hear, that I've hit my mark trying to make a little fiction, Jim. Thanks, bud. Means a lot.

Rick Rofihe – May 28, 2012

Thanks so very much, James, for your extra-generous to "My Almost Clash with The Rolling Stones" memoir piece!

Barry Basden – May 27, 2012

Yep. The military grinds up your body and soul. (My active duty attitude is fairly reflected in my Korea story here.)

Makes me weep for all caught up in it. I have two neighbors, both WWII pilots, now wheelchair-bound. It still eats at them.

Barry Basden – May 27, 2012

Thanks, James, for reading 'Ray's People...' Yes, this is the most poignant 'holiday' of the year for me. For many others, sadly, mattress sales....

Damion Hamilton – May 26, 2012

Thanks for the insight to comics James. You're comment is well appreciated. Made me think.

Anthony Van Hart – May 25, 2012

Thanks for the thoughtful comment on '77 Words About Nothing (5-24-2012)'. I've often questioned the titles of those pieces but always resort back to the Nothing they're actually about. Whether Nothing is a person, a state of mind, or the nothing that came from that particular moment in time-it's still...Nothing.

James Claffey – May 24, 2012

thanks for the comment on the story!

Bill Yarrow – Apr 15, 2012

Thanks for your important comment on the "Pain" poem, Jim, but, please, no pressure to comment, no pressure to comment profoundly, no anxiety of appreciation. No anxiety or obligation of any kind! There's enough pain in the world as is. I don't want to add any new kinds! But thank you for the pains you took!

Bill Yarrow – Apr 15, 2012

Thanks for the fave of "Not That Kind of Pain," Jim!

Bill Yarrow – Apr 06, 2012

Thanks, Jim, for liking and posting a comment about the Esenin/Mayakovsky poem. Glad you promoted Night Wraps the Sky. Important book.

Bill Yarrow – Mar 10, 2012

Thanks for commenting on "Joan of Dark," dark lady of my Son-Nots.

Meg Pokrass – Feb 14, 2012

thank you. I love to be as nuts as this and this is the only legal way.

Beate Sigriddaughter – Feb 13, 2012

Thanks for your comment on "The Anniversary." I love your concept of psychological fatigue.

Gessy Alvarez – Feb 11, 2012

Thanks ever so for reading "Never Enough".

Rick Rofihe – Feb 10, 2012

Thanks so much for your generous response to "Feeling Marlene", James -- means a lot to me.
Very best,

Sally Houtman – Feb 07, 2012

James, your kind comments on "Immiscibility" knock my lil' socks off. You've summarized perfectly the whole point of the piece, meaning you totoally got it, meaning it works. Can't tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment. There's hope for me yet!

Dolemite – Feb 06, 2012

"Thank you. Always takes me 3 reads but I often don't make the effort with a work, Matt."

Perhaps someday something *I've* posted will get that third read...


Bill Yarrow – Feb 02, 2012

Thanks for faving "Eleutheria," Jim. POINTED SENTENCES in the mail to you.

Marcus Speh – Jan 31, 2012

Hi Jim, than you for the comment on "<a href="http://www.fictionaut.com/stories/fantomas/happy-feet">Happy Feet</a>"and the shots of Cucina Italiana. Much appreciated.

Rick Rofihe – Jan 29, 2012

Thanks so much for liking -- and faving -- "Eidetic", James!

Bill Yarrow – Jan 29, 2012

Again, I like your comment even better than I like my poem! You inspire me when you post your work and when you reply to mine. Thanks, Jim, for finding something substantive in a curiosity, for faving "Helix Poem."

Mark Reep – Jan 28, 2012

Jim, thanks for reading 'Copper', and for your comment and fave. Much appreciated!

Bill Yarrow – Jan 21, 2012

"Still Not a Sonnet"--the name of my next book! A poet friend calls them Son-Nots. Thanks for commenting on "Uncle Moscow," Jim.

Michael Dwayne Smith – Jan 21, 2012

Very much appreciate your read and response to "Swimming Lessons." Thank you--

Bill Yarrow – Jan 12, 2012

Thanks for commenting on "The Sober Boat" (another pun in a title? won't I ever learn?). I was kind of hoping for Rimbaud 20 instead of Rambo 20! But love your comment!

I'll send you off a copy of POINTED SENTENCES as soon as I get some myself.

Rachel J. Fenton – Jan 09, 2012

James, thank you for sharing my eyes on "Crown-of-thorns". A great feeling when someone "gets it".

Shilo Morlang – Jan 08, 2012

Hot Dog! You're fast. Thanks for the feedback. I've been having a time with this piece, so I certainly appreciate it. Cheers!

Meg Pokrass – Jan 07, 2012

Jim thank you for the great thing you said about my story. when you come along and say something like that, the times you have, things which feels impossible to hear from a writer I admire so much, it is a luxury cruise.

Bill Yarrow – Dec 28, 2011

Thanks for starring "Magritte," Jim. A tip of the appleyard hat to you. Happy New Year too!

Marcus Speh – Dec 27, 2011

Dear James, thank you for your comment on "For Carol". I appreciate it and I hope you go well into that New Year. Cheers from Berlin.

Bobbi Lurie – Nov 13, 2011

James--Thanks for the * on "Florida"

Bill Yarrow – Sep 30, 2011

You always see things in my poems that I don't. Thanks for the star and for following the wasp in "Getting Home Alive."

Meg Pokrass – Sep 30, 2011

thank you my good friend! I am so glad you liked my poem.

Beate Sigriddaughter – Sep 25, 2011

Thanks for commenting on "Reading Mary Oliver." If I weren't reasonably content and unreasonably stuck in my own life, her's, and especially her writing, would have been my next choice. Well, maybe Celine Dion, but that's a whole other story.

Sam Rasnake – Sep 25, 2011

Agreed. Saying the unknown is one of the most significant things - if not the most - we can do. Yes. Great piece, James.

Tiffany R. White – Sep 12, 2011

I'm in awe of your talent. How did you learn? Were you born with it? How much do you read? What do you read? I NEED to know how to get better. Such an honor to read your work.

Bill Yarrow – Aug 11, 2011

Will rethink. Thank you.

Bill Yarrow – Aug 11, 2011

Glad you liked the "Taut" poem, and thank you for your comment and fave, but, seriously, why can't a title make a joke? I think of Donald Barthelme's "Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning." I love that witty title and clever allusion to Jean Renoir. Besides the Euclid poem, many of my titles are puns--"Mussel Memory," "Knot Eye," "Drinking an Orange Julius While Listening to Pink Floyd," "Coleridge on Urine," "God's Vial," and "Truman Compote" among them. Some of my new poems too: "Joan of Dark," "Low Fat Yoga," "Et Tu, Beaute," "Nan Sequiter." What's your sense of the relationship between title and piece?

Meg Pokrass – Aug 01, 2011

Lip glass! Yes! thank you for being here.

Bill Yarrow – Jul 31, 2011

Thanks, Jim!

Bill Yarrow – Jul 31, 2011

Thanks for making me laugh! Loved your comment on the Euclid poem.

I'm contemplating an edit. Which last stanza do you think works better in the poem?

He's looking at Euclid
Meanwhile, the sandstorm of time
keeps polishing the geometry of space


He was looking at Euclid
Meanwhile, the sandstorm of time
was polishing the geometry of space

MaryAnne Kolton – Jul 23, 2011

Jim,it is my understanding, if you suffer from anhedonia you can distinguish pretty words from ugly words through past knowledge, but you would not have the capacity to experience or feel the prettiness or the ugliness of the word or what it described. . . . . does that make sense?

Joani Reese – Jul 08, 2011

James: I appreciate the time you took to seek out "Put Down Your Camera and Love Me" as well as your astute comments on "Happy Hour." Thanks for reading my work.

Bill Yarrow – Jul 06, 2011

Like your comment on "Black Ice," Jim. Thanks for the fave!

Meg Pokrass – Jul 02, 2011

i love what you said on my sidebar. that feels right. i do have a beating brain, and I would love it if it would shut up a lot of the time.. but at least there is a way to use it. You are too kind.

Marcus Speh – Jun 23, 2011

thank you, james, for commenting on "under the apple tree". this story will have to be written again and again until the end of time or until the end of fictionaut, whatever comes first.

Meg Pokrass – Jun 23, 2011

thank you Jim for your kind words about Elizabeths and for so many other things and for everything else. I feel such admiration for your opinion and your work and therefore I feel more tongue-tied than usual when writing these brief notes and i feel silly as hell. I hope your summer is a nice one so far. I am having a foggy one and one full of animals and fleas (as usual)

Bill Yarrow – May 24, 2011

Your comment on "Getting Godless" made me laugh out loud. Thanks, Jim!

Meg Pokrass – May 22, 2011

Jim - thank you and am floored. Was worried about, wondering about the last paragraph, still am. Hard to see ones own work. I will try to contain this and reread in a few months and then I will know if it belongs there i hope. Thank you for this great encouragement.

Meg Pokrass – Apr 14, 2011

your comments on my story can pretty much make the whole world better.

Bill Yarrow – Apr 14, 2011

Food and shelter await you in Chicago. Come visit.
Thanks for praising that bagatelle, "The Truth Will Out."

Susan Tepper – Dec 20, 2010

Jim thanks so much for your generous comments on my story Idiotsky. I had a blast writing it, am a big Chekhov fan, did 3 Chekhov plays as an actor, so it gave me a bit of a leg up on the language.

Jules Archer – Dec 12, 2010

James - wow, thanks for the amazing comment on Help Me Own You. Really appreciated and happy you read!

Meg Pokrass – Dec 12, 2010

Jim, thank you for your comment on "Tada". I can't really thank you enough. There is no way to do so. I'm so glad you liked it and knowing that makes me happy in a bright blue dragonfly kind of way (I loved them when I was a kid). So, in a buzzy, kind of fluttery way. It's hard to explain properly how happy your comment made me.

Meg Pokrass – Dec 12, 2010

Jim, thank you for your comment on "Tada". I can't really thank you enough. There is no way to do so. I'm so glad you liked it and knowing that makes me happy in a bright blue dragonfly kind of way (I loved them when I was a kid). So, in a buzzy, kind of fluttery way. It's hard to explain properly how happy your comment made me.

Susan Tepper – Dec 12, 2010

Jim, yep, I take in surrounding energy like a sponge. Thanks so much for liking "body"

Robert Vaughan – Nov 22, 2010

Great interview this week in Fictionaut Five, James. Thanks for sharing your insights provided by the illustrious Meg Pokrass. Excellent read!

Bill Yarrow – Nov 20, 2010

Your comment on "I Am Not a Corpse" is truer than you know. Thank you, Jim, for reading so incisively.

W.F. Lantry – Nov 10, 2010


You are the ideal reader: Perceptive, insightful, generous. Too long ago to mention, I showed you some work, and your only comment was "Write stories and send them out. Do it!" I think I've remembered those words almost every day since.



Gary Percesepe – Oct 29, 2010


i am so thankful you read my work--

speaking of which--i have that memoir first chapter ready for a look? if ever you have a chance (oh, it's a lot to ask! fifty pages! )


Meg Pokrass – Oct 15, 2010

your comment was so spot on. I really don't know what I'm writing about, exactly, when I write. I just write it and then think... Oh! I agree with you and so does my story, that love (or lack of, really the whole thing) IS embarrassing, fickle, and fear-sharing is often part of it. Thanks so much James!

Kathy Fish – Oct 14, 2010

Thanks, thanks, thanks, James, for your always so wonderfully encouraging feedback!

Ann Bogle – Oct 11, 2010

Enjoy your day!

ABxx – Oct 09, 2010

James, great to hear from you. Thanks for reading and commenting on "Fate". It's a sliver of a section from my Nouveau Roman which I'd written months ago but buried as I felt it may have been a bit too much. Your initial commentary on those first chapters so motivated me to keep moving forward with this piece and really pushed me to further explore N.R. Alas, my many, many thanks. Best, I.

Susan Tepper – Oct 08, 2010

Jim, I love what you wrote about "things," you have a deep heart

Kathy Fish – Oct 03, 2010

James, wow, thanks so much for your extremely kind words for "Snow." Appreciate it.

M.H. – Sep 29, 2010

Thank you so much, James, for your generous comments on "Origin":)

Marcus Speh – Sep 28, 2010

hi - love that comment - that policeman's guilty laughter is ringing in my ears...thank you.

Bill Yarrow – Sep 27, 2010

I learn more from your comments than I learn from writing my poems! Thanks for writing so kindly on "Son of Uncle Sam," Jim.

Kate Brown – Sep 26, 2010

Just read your poem 'For the Film New Orleans Mon Amour' in Blue Fifth Review. Think it's wonderful. Was intrigued to read what inspired it. The idea of the hurt film and its emaciated budget says it all. Sometimes you just can't win... sorry this happened.

Susan Tepper – Sep 26, 2010

Jim, I wrote vagina girl at 5am under severe jet lag. I was laughing as I wrote, which is good, and so there it is... plus it takes place in The Hamptons which, as you know, is very much on my mind these days
thanks as always, Jim

Jack Swenson – Sep 23, 2010

Thank you so much for your comment on my shrink story. Wow! A three? Now, that's a real compliment! (In real life I was always better at rebounding that shooting.)

Julie Innis – Sep 22, 2010

It's good stuff, no quid pro quo. Thanks, tho', for your comments on MTML.

Bill Yarrow – Sep 20, 2010

re: "Epithalamion."
"its concision is tonic"--such a great insight. Yes, and that's Pope also. His concision is tonic.
"The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife,
To help me through this long disease, my life"
Thanks for commenting, though what you consistently write is well beyond mere commenting.

Bill Yarrow – Sep 19, 2010

Your comment on "Bone Density" made me smile. Thank you for the fav.
Does the Bartleby allusion in it work?

Bill Yarrow – Sep 13, 2010

I love that you get my jokes! Thanks for commenting on "Black Squirrel Poem."

Kathy Fish – Sep 13, 2010

Thanks, James, for reading "Lens."

Kim Conklin – Sep 10, 2010

Thanks for the kind words and the fave on Telephone! I appreciate the read.

Claire King – Aug 21, 2010

James, thank you for your very thoughtful read of Infinity Pool and your great comment. I'm glad you could see what I was trying to do with that piece.

Bill Yarrow – Aug 20, 2010

Your comment on "Self Alaska," is an axe to the frozen sea that is that poem. Thank you. You juggle insights as deftly as a magician uncovers doves. You are a window maker.

George LaCas – Aug 14, 2010

Thanks, James. I may have a wide streak of the Absurd in me.

George LaCas – Aug 13, 2010

Hi James, thanks again for your "Godot" comments.

George LaCas – Aug 11, 2010

Hi James, thanks for your "Godot" comments, and the * - GL

Bill Yarrow – Aug 08, 2010

I'll check out Michael Almereyda's book. Thanks for rec and fav on "Something, He Wrote"!

Bill Yarrow – Aug 07, 2010


for the subconcious mind's

of the revelation
that love and
existence are

and desire makes us

That's what I

I like YOUR poem better than I like mine!

Thanks, James.

George LaCas – Aug 06, 2010

Thanks, James, for your comments on "Full Stop! Punctuation Police!" - George

Julie Innis – Aug 05, 2010

ah, a much-needed boost - thank you!

ABxx – Aug 05, 2010

Hello James--

Your commentary on my piece affirmed what I have been sensing, that I am headed in the right direction. Thanks so much. I needed a bit of encouragement for this very personal story.


Bill Yarrow – Aug 01, 2010

Thank you, but you are WAY too kind, James, in your comments about the Dadd found poem, but I'm pleased, very pleased, it spoke to you.

Bill Yarrow – Jul 28, 2010

No confusion. No disagreement either!

Bill Yarrow – Jul 28, 2010

Thanks, James, for faving Flaubert. Book is in the mail.

Bill Yarrow – Jul 25, 2010


Thank you for reading, thoughtfully commenting on, and faving so many of my poems. Feels like my birthday!

(We share major enthusiasm for Robbe Grillet, Machado de Assis, I.B. Singer, Cabrera-Infante, Kawabata, Ozick, not to mention Beckett, Borges, Joyce, T. Wolfe, etc.)

Bill Yarrow – Jul 25, 2010

Appreciate the fav for "God's Vial." Thanks, James!

Kari Nguyen – Jul 24, 2010

James, thank you for that fantastic comment on my story. Means so much, it really does.

Linda Simoni-Wastila – Jul 24, 2010

James, Thank you for your kind words on Survivor -- they mean a lot to me. Thank you for making my day. Peace...

Matthew A. Hamilton – Jul 24, 2010

No worries. Fictionaut used to take up too much of my time (too many good stories to read) so I've limited myself to two-three short shorts a day and two longer stories a week.

Linda Simoni-Wastila – Jul 23, 2010

Man, how can you NOT feel good about Prologue? I assume it's the beginning of something grander, and hope to see more. Peace...

Kathy Fish – Jul 23, 2010

Well, you are just way too kind. Thanks so much for reading and commenting on "Watermelon" Jim. I can't wait to read your novel.

George LaCas – Jul 23, 2010

You're welcome. Looking forward to chatting about IJ.

Kari Nguyen – Jul 23, 2010

You have a great birthday!

Susan Tepper – Jun 18, 2010

Jim, thanks so so much for reading Deer and what you said. I'm glad you saw the humour in the story, it was a gas to write it

Walter Bjorkman – Apr 11, 2010

Thanks again James, for the comment on "Private Death in Venice" - I have four more legs of the trip besides the two posted, but they need touching up and too much of Eddie's mind in a short period can be hazardous to one's insanity.

I noticed you cropped out the numbers from below the mug shot you have here.

sara t. – Apr 11, 2010

Thanx James, for reading "What She Remembers" the comment and the fave. Much appreciated!

Walter Bjorkman – Apr 11, 2010

James - thanks for reading Poetipedia and the appreciative comment. Can't take all the credit, it was a reworking of a standard Wiki entry, and the lines you mentioned a flip-flop on Keat's entry. As for your "the cloud line" - not all that disruptive, just missed a beat or two in MY cadence as I read it aloud.

Susan Tepper – Apr 02, 2010

Jim I so much appreciate your comments on my poem Confess. You really made my day with that particular reference to one of my fave poets. So kind of you to read and comment

Susan Tepper – Mar 30, 2010

(the boy + the roach = one and the same raw urge). Jim, thank you for this insight which never occurred to me

Susan Tepper – Mar 28, 2010

That is the aim

Jack Swenson – Mar 13, 2010

James, your comments about "Mona" are too kind. My idols when I wrote this were Hemingway and Carver. (The Lish version of the latter.) For some reason, I still like the story even though it is an antique.

Jack Swenson – Mar 07, 2010

Yup. And I had seen the movie not too many years before. Wish I'd had my arms around two lovely lasses! Thanks, James, for your comments about my Parisian adventure story.

Carol Reid – Feb 09, 2010

Hi James, and thank you for reading and commenting on my story!

Finnegan Flawnt – Feb 08, 2010

thanks again. four different images were offered - see http://bit.ly/9uxPuY - and most contestants (entries were public on facebook) avoided the two non-photographic images (neither of which are particularly awe-inspiring).

Finnegan Flawnt – Feb 08, 2010

thank you for your kind comment on "Four Teenagers...". The image, if you care, is at http://bit.ly/1qcDRX. i think your inference is spot on: story can (should?) convey more than image. godard is a godsend but (not sharing your cultural sphere) i had to look up dangerfield: that man deserves respect!

Jack Swenson – Feb 07, 2010

Thanks again for you kind words about one of my tales. I always learn from you what I was about. I don't have a clue myself!

Gary Percesepe – Feb 06, 2010

geez, jim, thanks for reading february, first--and the helpful comments.

snowed most of the day here, guess that's why--then i went to see jeff bridges in crazy heart. choked in art. came out and it was seven degrees.

so, florida. cheers/--g

Kathy Fish – Feb 06, 2010

James thanks so much for your always kind support of my stories. Hope all's well with you. Kathy

David Erlewine – Feb 05, 2010

Ha (in a good way), I forget how you may have interacted directly with folks like Roger Angell. Keep on truckin'.

Morgan Harlow – Feb 04, 2010

that's helpful, thanks!

Jack Swenson – Feb 04, 2010

Thanks for your comments on my jumpers story. Very kind, very helpful. How apt your observation about the narrator balanced on a rail!

David Erlewine – Feb 04, 2010

Oh yes, Roger Angell is fantastic. His "Consider the Catcher" is one of the best things to read in terms of strong verbs, potent writing, etc. I'll have to check out his quote. So good to be in touch.

Stephen Stark – Feb 04, 2010


Having been recently bachelorized again, the story had a particular acuity for me. I should have said also that the title is perfect in its simultaneous ambiguity and complete (shall we say) linear clarity.

Good stuff. And, it seems to me, just a little bit of a departure for you in the abundance of description. But of course that's part of the point.

David Erlewine – Feb 03, 2010

(continued) "...new issue of Caketrain does. I can’t imagine measuring up, by my own standards, to the work I’m putting out there. So I don’t write, and I feel okay about that."

Sorry for the "continuation" but his quote about sums up where I'm at.

David Erlewine – Feb 03, 2010

Thanks, a boatload, for complimenting my interviews and JMWW...beyond wonderful to read that. I majored in Journalism and creative writing and have always thought it would be cool to merge the two. I really love interviewing people and am hoping to improve on my skills while still having fun. Incidentally, I had to post this comment from Joseph Reed concerning how editing for Caketrain affects his writing. I read it on htmlgiant last year when I was subbing/writing non-stop and I've thought about it off and on since: "I used to write before I became an editor, but I don’t anymore. Not only does the journal take the majority of my free time—basically evenings and weekends, as my days are occupied in the development office of a much larger nonprofit—but also, seeing as much of what our peers are working on in a given year as we do, it becomes increasingly difficult to know what to add to that discussion. I can’t imagine myself producing anything that satisfies me the way a n

David Erlewine – Feb 03, 2010

Hi James, thanks so much for your kind wall post. Balzac, eh? Very nice to read that. My energy/confidence/fingers to keyboard time have flagged recently as I've been doing more editing for JMWW than anything. It's weird, now, helping publish such great stories makes me far more reticent in sending out pieces. I think that's a good thing as last year I was quite whorish in my submissions approach. I remain a huge fan of your work/approach/demeanor towards other writers and really appreciate you checking in. David

Katrina Gray – Feb 02, 2010

My, my, my, James. You paid me the most excellent compliment, and I'm blushing. Thank you. S&M really *is* why we write, isn't it? To poke people where it hurts, to make them wince and wriggle? Just a little? Just enough? I am saying yes.

Jack Swenson – Jan 14, 2010

Loony and inspired is a great way to put it. And so much damn energy!

Jack Swenson – Jan 14, 2010

Didn't know that about Brando and Durante. An odd pairing. I guess Mrs. Calabash was a waitress Durante met when he was a young entertainer on the road.

Jack Swenson – Jan 14, 2010

You're a prince, James. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

Meg Pokrass – Nov 20, 2009

Thanks so much for your comments on "Her Bottom". I think you are dead on right about the searchlight line. It's time to take it out. Very much appreciated!!!!!!!

See ya – Sep 22, 2009

Oh, man...that blurb rocked. But, yeah, you're welcome. A fine, fine story, Mars.

Kathy Fish – Sep 04, 2009

James, thanks so much for the close read of "What Kind of Person..." I am waiting for these people to figure out what's wrong with my car and it's a dreary place here and your kind words made me smile.

Emeniano Acain Somoza, Jr. – Sep 01, 2009

Thank you, Mr. Robison. You've been truly kind. Your undeserved attention is now my own private light house, with which I set my sails on as I embark on my writing adventure here on Fictionaut. Again, thank you.

Emeniano Acain Somoza, Jr. – Sep 01, 2009

Thank you so much, Mr.Robison. You've been truly kind. Your undeserved attention is now my own private light house, with which I set my sails on as I embark on my writing adventure here on Fictionaut. Again, thank you.

Dan Moreau – Aug 29, 2009

Haven't heard of Verlin. College Prof turned me onto Costello's Murphy Stories. Sadly out of print but I found a used copy for 79 cents in bookstore in Salt Lake City. Apparently, Costello was pretty friendly with Andre Dubus as well.

Robbin Thompson – Aug 02, 2009

Hi James, wow, many thanks for reading my story and taking time to comment. And what comments. I took out the wink, but needs tooling. David Lodge the best. Have you read his Art of Fiction? I'm putting you on my contact list(when I figure out how to do it) and look forward to reading all your stories

Darryl Price – Jul 27, 2009

James--I'm always honored when you read my work. Your comments are very much appreciated.

Teresa Houle – Jul 14, 2009

envelopes full of cash, eh? Well, I wouldn't want to break from tradition....
I look forward to reading your work.

Larry Strattner – Jul 12, 2009

You were so right on. I knocked out the paragraph you pinpointed in "Refugees" and it didn't even leave a hole. The story finished up stronger. Thanx there's a rewrite up with some additional length inserted after your suggested correction.


Tara – Jul 08, 2009

Hey! Thanks for your comments on my story. Loved Mars. It is dead-on. Fantastic. I'm jealous!

Ann Bogle – Jul 06, 2009

Robin Reagler said then, "When in doubt, swim." Sometimes swimming, sometimes flying with poets and poetry and poetics since 1996 online. This is the first dynamic internet space I've found for fiction writing. I'm eager for it. It's a privilege to be able to read the teacher at this age the age you were then.

Ann Bogle – Jul 06, 2009

Robin Reagler said then, "When in doubt, swim." Sometimes swimming, sometimes flying with poets and poetry and poetics since 1996 online. This is the first dynamic internet space I've found devoted to fiction writing. I'm eager for it. It's a privilege to be able to read the teacher at this age at the age you were then.

Joe Bardin – May 13, 2009


Thanks for your comment on my story Standby the other day. It was a warm welcome to Fictionaught for me. I had no idea what to expect. Then I read your Mars, which flat out is a very very good story as has been noted. I enjoyed all of it, but the translucent coffe cup thing really touched me. thanks again.

Larry Strattner – May 11, 2009

I keep meaning to write with an invitation to have at anything I post here. I have really enjoyed and benefited from your comments.
You might want to see if you would like to add Jim Lehrer's novel Eureka to your favorites.

Brandon Hobson – May 09, 2009

More salutes, salutes!

Kathy Fish – May 04, 2009

Thanks for reading and commenting on my stories, James. "Mars" is an incredible story.

Myfanwy Collins – May 03, 2009

Hello, James. Thank you for your generous comments on my stories. I truly appreciate it.

Lauren Becker – Apr 27, 2009

hey jim: thanks for the very kind feedback on "a simple explanation."

i've been meaning to tell you i read "rumors" and really must insist that you post more of your stuff. "mars" is remarkable and your comments are legendary. please let everyone else (and me!) know you better as a writer ...

Laura Ellen Scott – Apr 12, 2009

thank you! the novel is in limbo right now, so it's great to get encouragement. looking forward to reading and commenting on "Mars," but I plan to wait until my cold passes.

Amy Halloran – Mar 30, 2009

Thanks for writing luciously about my story. You've made me consider the origins of "waves attacking legs." Another story, that.

Loved the dialogue in your story, and I look forward to reading more.

Ethel Rohan – Mar 29, 2009

Hi James,

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story and for your encouraging comments. I'll take "it's great" as high praise indeed coming from you. Thanks again.

Kim Chinquee – Mar 28, 2009

Hi James, thanks for your words about my work. I'm happy for them. And I've got a copy of your collection, Rumors and Other Stories. I probably never told you how much I love that book. I've had it for a long time, wondering more about who you are. Great to see you here. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Dn Ppnbrng – Mar 28, 2009

Thanks for the kind words!

Morgan Harlow – Mar 27, 2009

James, thank you for reading my work and for taking the time to write comments that make a difference
i wasn't going to post another poem or story until you had posted one, wanted to write and tell you that plan, but instead got a copy of Rumor out from the library. Especially love this:
"That's enough praying, Mother," Ray said. "Get off the line so some other sinners can get through."
a wonderful book of stories. so glad you are here.

Heather Fowler – Mar 24, 2009

Hi James,

Yep--the interplay between the dialogue and the higher diction narration was fascinating. :) I noticed that right off. Hope you're having a great week.

All warmest and best,

Marcy Dermansky – Mar 23, 2009


I found your generous comment on my story Adults at Home thrilling. Thank you. I'm enjoying, in fact, ALL of your comments on Fictionaut.


Claudia Smith – Mar 20, 2009

thank you for reading "Hook" and for what you said.

Lauren Becker – Mar 15, 2009

jim -- thanks so much for your kindness. your words mean a lot. lauren

Stephen Stark – Mar 12, 2009

Jim: Seems I'm seeing your work a lot more lately, and good stuff, too. Is there a Jim revival going on?

David Erlewine – Mar 08, 2009

Hi James, thanks very much for your kind words. Nice to have you on here. "Mars" is REALLY good. Take care, David

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