Michael Martone’s recent books include The Complete Writings of Art Smith, The Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, Edited by Michael Martone; The Moon Over Wapakoneta; Brooding; and Memoranda. Unconventions: Writing on Writing and Rules of Thumb, edited with Susan Neville, are craft books. He is also the author of The Blue Guide to Indiana, published by FC2. The University of Georgia Press published his book of essays, The Flatness and Other Landscapes, winner of the AWP Award for Nonfiction, in 2000. With Robin Hemley, he edited Extreme Fiction. With Lex Williford, he edited The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction and The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. He has edited two collections of essays about the Midwest: A Place of Sense: Essays in Search of the Midwest and Townships: Pieces of the Midwest. His stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Story, Antaeus, North American Review, Benzene, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Third Coast, Shenandoah, Bomb, Story Quarterly, American Short Fiction and other magazines.
Martone was born and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Butler University and graduated from Indiana University. He holds the MA from The Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University. Martone has won two Fellowships from the NEA and a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation. His stories have won awards in the Italian Americana fiction contest, the Florida Review Short Story Contest, the Story magazine Short, Short Story Contest, the Margaret Jones Fiction Prize of Black Ice Magazine, and the first World’s Best Short, Short Story Contest. His stories and essays have appeared and been cited in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies. In 2013 he received the national Indiana Authors Award, and in 2016, the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contribution to Midwestern Literature. Michael Martone retired as a Professor at the University of Alabama where he had been teaching since 1996. He has been a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since 1988. He also taught at Iowa State University, Harvard University, and Syracuse University.
Expertise: I am happy to read and review any and all genres of prose fiction and nonfiction. I don’t think of myself as an “experimental” writer, but I am fond of exploring all the textual forms that can be used artistically while also utilizing the material nature of “the book”. And, as a “formalist,” I am particularly interested in lyrical and non-narrative forms; collage and fragments; the irreal, speculative, and fantastic; flash fictions and prose poetry; hybridity of all kinds; and using smaller stand alone pieces that then connect to other pieces contributing to a larger mosaic whole. I am interested in meta and auto fictions and the various uses of self-conscious techniques that “alienate” the reader and often resist a linear narrative and a transparent style.
I will not be a prescriptive critic. I follow the advice of William Stafford who said “no praise, no blame.” Instead, I try to give a descriptive reading of what the work is actually doing not what I think it should be doing. I believe the writer knows best about what is “working” or not in the piece. Coaching is a conversation between writers about the piece, but also it is about writing in general and the creation of the writer’s life-long aesthetic and the envisioning of future projects. To that end, I am less helpful as a line editor, and I am not that enthusiastic about revision, as I never think any piece of writing is “broken” and needs to be fixed. I enter into reading with curiosity, asking the writer many questions and encouraging the development of the writer’s personal vocabulary of craft. I do not read as a critic making judgments about what is good or bad.
Rate: $144 per hour for coaching and preparation time