- Curriculum Vitae, Nano Fiction, Volume 10, #1
- Student Stress Solutions through Mindfulness, East Bay Tutors, 2016 (co-authored with Carrie Schlicht).
- Quality Control, Anonymous Bjorn Blogspot, 2015
- Avocado, Plunge Magazine, August 2013
- Miner Dad, CellStories, 2012
- Lesbian Movie Night, Windy City Queer, November 2012
- Hurricane Season, CellStories, 2011
- The Green Scene, Hypertext magazine, November 2011
- Iowa Wedding, Hypertext magazine, April 2011
- An American Couple in Italy, EG magazine, November 2011
- Seed Starting, EG magazine, April 2011
- Once Upon a Uterus, Hair Trigger magazine, 2010
- Where the Wild Voices Are, Fictionary, 2010
- Our Urban Garden, Mindful Metropolis, 2010
- Diagnosing Father, Hair Trigger magazine, 2009
- The Bedroom, The Iowa Review, 2008
- The Day Your Cat Died, Swell, 2008
- On First Dates, Antimuse, 2008
April Newman, MFA
My name feels like never enough.
I always thought the extra letters after it would make a difference in this feeling.
They do not.
The orange walk-up apartment,
a perpetually leaking ceiling.
The place I ended up:
growing vegetables in a garden.
But still under-employed.
There were lacquered desks at the Iowa Catholic school where I learned to read, but maybe I knew how to do this before—from the lilting voice of my mother telling stories. If it was she who taught me to read, it was he who taught me to hide myself, or suffer his blurred hands. So big and mighty then, as Thor.
MFA Creative Writing, Columbia College, Chicago, 2008
Like everything we do it’s backwards; the emphasis on the performance rather than the process, forgetting the years of eating canned tuna-fish sandwiches, and how we all smoked in the corridors because it made us less hungry. How the smoke, like the coffee, was a chemical fire to burn through pages, deadlines, and part-time jobs that were really close to full-time except without the salary, or the sick time. How we all started off wanting to be writers, and wanting to teach writing. And after eight years, I can only name a few who still do it.
- Graduated with a 4.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- When I was in high school, I never had a 4.0, but my father would lie about that—tell strange women of my academic pursuits in order for them to view him as safe. Then might bed them, and steal all their money—a true and charming grifter. I wonder if I write this for my own accomplishment or if on some level, I am still working to prove he was not a total liar.
- Master’s thesis was a memoir, Broke Love. The chapter, “Diagnosing Father” won a Columbia University Scholastic Press Award (New York, 2009).
- Perhaps I am answering my own questions.
BA English, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, 2001
People outside Iowa like the idea of it, like the dreamy stills of red farm houses on mass produced butter boxes. They think of us as strong, and weathered by hard work and rain; that we are honest. This is basically true. Except for the small farm part.
- Honor’s Program and Dean’s List during study.
- See previous admission on daddy issues.
- Composition and Developmental Writing
- Developmental is a nice way to say teaching the people who do not give a fuck about writing. I have taught this class so much, the research paper, the five paragraph essay—that I sometimes fear I will loose any sense of what writing really is, from the time long past when I really knew it, the artistry of it, all stamped away by five paragraph essays.
- Creative Writing
- Once I actually designed the Creative Writing class for a university. The irony is that I never got to teach it.
- A throwback to when literature was a thing people gave a shit about.
- The first job I hard was when I was 14, and not legally able to work. I was a telemarketer, calling grannies and people home alone—preying on them to buy accidental death insurance. My dad took a percentage of my paycheck, but I secretly horded enough away move out of the house when I was 17.
- The University of Iowa
- I worked for the Parking and Transportation Department in college, getting paid to read and write in a little booth. Making change, and watching sunsets. It was the first time I read Jamaica Kincad or Eudora Welty or Lorrie Moore. I read Margaret Atwood after the line of cars died away. I read Toni Morrison by the booth’s dim light. I flipped though the pages of Sylvia Plath in near darkness. It remains the best job I have ever had.
- Post Graduate Corporate Work
- In my thirties I had a boss who was insane, but this is not something one can put on LinkedIn. She would purposely try to make me fail, and when I did not—she would attack me. Calling at midnight about a typo. Assigning a library reorganization project for school by reading level, but with a team of people who did not speak English. I thwarted her by being kind to the non-English speakers, and having a friend translate. Then I printed pages as guides that correlated the font size of text to the reading level. We made short work and all hugged! But she found two books out of order and berated me. I cried at work so many times. I cried on the bus down Ashland Avenue. I could not quit because I need the money to pay for student loans.
- Current Position
- Finally, I got a job teaching writing again. I mostly teach developmental writing. Even though my students do not care for literature, they have stories to tell and technology in which to tell it. I remember what it was like to be hungry for both food and a father’s love. Or to not having enough money, or the tears on the bus and the fear of leaving home. So do my students. Having to work from the library because the utilities are shut off again, or there are children pulling at their sleeves in the background; and their eyes are bone tired from having to work almost full-time, but without the salary or the sick time. I hear these stories, whispered as private messages. I honor them.
The first girl I loved was Lauren. We had second grade together at the Nativity Catholic School and grew an avocado from the pit with water and toothpicks in the storage closet. When the avocado erupted into roots and grew big, we showed the class with toothless grins.
Behind us, Tina Williams sharpened her pencils, and Nate Saunders picked a booger and wiped it on Tiffany Owens’ sweater. Adam Black and Neil Norris thought the avocado was so weird looking, shaped like an alien, something strange about its tentacles. But Jennifer Severs noticed its roots stretching to the glass and talked about the fruit, if our avocado ever made it into a tree.
I felt funny and good for no reason standing next to Lauren in the closet where we kept the bottles of paint that smelled like clay and the pieces of construction paper. So good in fact, that when I looked around the room it was transformed; the checkered tiles on the floor a life-size chessboard. Feeling something breezy in my palms, in my feet—a wild exhilaration like a garden hose that’s gotten loose and flails around the yard in sweeping arcs.
Read more from Plunge Magazine’s 2013 issue.
The bedroom had dark plank floors with one rug poking out in the center. The walls were yellow behind a painting of wild mustangs galloping through a mountain range, their muscles statuesque. Grandma kept quarters in turquoise beaded purses from South Dakota on her dresser, the brown-edged photos of her children jammed into the sides of her mirror. In the corner was a black rolltop writing desk. She placed a photo of her father, Donald, there.
Read more at The Iowa Review.
- June 6, 2012 RUI: Reading Under the Influence, Sheffield’s, 3258 N. Sheffield, Chicago IL
- March 1, 2012 AWP Panelist (Associated Writing Programs) “A Writing Life, After the Workshop”
- December 14, 2011 Reading at the Bookseller, Chicago
- November 1, 2011 Homolatte reading series, Tweet, Chicago
- July 16, 2011 Women and Children First, Chicago “Lesbian Movie Night”
- March 13, 2011 Martyrs’, Chicago “Lesbian Movie Night”
- Feb. 15, 2010 Websters, Chicago “The Fire”
- Oct. 28, 2009 Red Kiva, Chicago “Miner Dad”
- July 16, 2009 Atmosphere, Chicago
- Jan. 28, 2009 Red Kiva, Chicago “Coming of Age”
- Nov. 12, 2008 The Spot, Chicago
- April 30, 2008 Silver Tongue Reading Series “The Brick”
- Oct. 16, 2006 Creative Nonfiction Week, Culture and Identity