Thursday, March 23, 2017

"How to Host a Reading Event" in LitHub

I'm honored to partake in Lithub's new series on literary events, "Reading Across America," curated by Franklin Park Reading Series organizer and overall badass literary organizer Penina Roth. My piece is "How to Host a Reading Event," and I talk about my experiences as a host for both the 510 Reading Series (now defunct) and my current series, Starts Here! in Baltimore:

"To me, the most important thing about a reading series is not the readers, but the listeners. You aim to create not only a unique, exciting event, but also a welcoming one."

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival" Anthology

Writing fiction was my emotional test kitchen
 -"How I Wrote My Way Out of the Closet"

Really honored to be part of the anthology Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival, edited by Sandra Lambert and Sarah Einstein, who created it in response to last year's election, and that sinking, frustrated feeling we'd be fighting again for the things we thought we'd already secured: equal rights in employment, housing, and relationships, freedom from the specter of violence

Also, thanks to Jennifer Haupt for originally publishing this essay, "How I Wrote My Way Out of the Closet," in Psychology Today. At the time of publication, I thought I'd written it in retrospect, glad that my generation was probably the last to really to have come out of the closet, that the world was a more accepting place. Just like Obma, I hope these days are just a small dip in the great arc that bends toward justice.

You can read the essay here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review of The Summer She Was Under Water at Atticus Review

Thanks to A. K. Small for this thoughtful review of The Summer She Was Under Water today at Atticus Review:

"Michalski packs a fascinating amount of material into four fictional days, all of which changes Sam’s perspective on life. Until this reunion, Sam had chosen to recoil from the nest, but the visit to the lake house wakes her. Michalski’s attention to detail and to the frail human psyche shines throughout these pages. There are no simple heroes or ogres here. Each character slips in and out of these polar opposite roles, exhibiting a complexity and depth, a beautiful gift in a novel. I also enjoyed the rich setting of the cabin, the lake holding its secrets, the parallels between what’s been drowned below the surface and what remains above it."

To read more, go here.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Review of The Summer She Was Under at Ploughshares

Thanks so much to Kira Frank for her review of The Summer She Was Under Water at Ploughshares:

 " can we heal when loved ones don’t even realize they’ve hurt us? Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one." 

 To read more, go here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Fiction at jmww,

One of my favorite columns at jmww is Meg Tuite's exquisitely curated "Exquisite Duet," in which two writers are given the same sentence or phrase and asked to write a poem or short fiction piece incorporating it. Of course, I was thrilled when Meg invited me to duet for December, with one of my favorite writers, Elise Levine. Our phrase was "Let's pretend it happened." I've posted the first few lines of each of our responses. You can read the entire duet at jmww:


"Let us pretend. On a warm summer afternoon in the country it happened that my brother slapped me. In the flash that followed the bees ceased to hum. The ivy hardened despite the breeze. I wept and our cherished nurse Chantal clucked from her bench and waddled over. Her thick kiss quieted me. My brother—famous now, ruthless even then—bit his tongue from laughing, so hard the blood poured. The wound festered. After a brief confinement, he died."


I am curious. I guess that’s why I go–I want to know what I’m missing. Like a cast-iron French oven, champagne flutes. Hand-braided abaca placemats and 12-cup Cuisinarts. So many ways to design a life, encapsulated in a printed-out bridal registry at Crate & Barrel.

“You’ll never need all of these things,” I point out as her fingers caress napkin rings, ceramic bowls.

“But you’ll never know which one of them you’ll need,” she smiles. She knows how to knot a scarf so that it floats effortlessly around her neck; on mine, it always looks like a noose. “You’ll get married someday, too.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Interview at Bmore Art

Thanks to Tyler Mendelsohn and the folks at Bmore Art for interviewing me about my second novel, The Summer She Was Under Water, and also my work as host of the Starts Here! reading series in Baltimore, which is moving to a new time and location in 2017. 

“The great thing about Baltimore,” says Michalski, “is that if you see a need for something, there’s nothing to keep you from creating it. [When I was starting out] I didn’t have anything to lose—the worst people could say was no, not respond. And I’d be no worse off. But I wound up gaining so much. And so, I think, did the community.” 

 To read more, go here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pushcart Nomination for my story, "Three Girls"

Super excited that Barrelhouse Magazine nominated my story "Three Girls" for a Pushcart. If we're doing everything in threes, hopefully the third time's the charm for me! You can read the story online here:

"When they were twelve in the stairwell they didn’t kiss. It was not something she had considered then, and even as she daydreams about him now, gripping her shoulders from behind, penetrating her, in backyard tents, behind basement dryers, underneath his old sailboat comforter, she realizes that they should have run into the snow that night. If they did not think about it, the cold, they could get very far away."