Sabbatical Leave Report
Creative Writing | Fiction | Poetry
Over my year-long sabbatical, I completed and published my fourth collection of poems, Thieve, a manuscript initially drafted in response to the presidential election of 2016, which brought to the national consciousness something I'd long felt: that one of the greatest, gravest divisions in society is that which exists between the urban and the rural. Many of the readings and appearances I had scheduled to coincide with the publication of Thieve have been canceled, but, if the state of the world allows, I hope to begin sharing Thieve more widely in 2021. I drafted and began major revisions on my second novel, Rachel Davis, which is currently under contract with Little, Brown. Rachel Davis revolves around the life and violent death of the title character, and with this novel I am attempting to take on directly what I see as our culture's continued affirmation of a broken, violent form of masculinity that sees its fullest expression in the landscapes of the American West. With my editor's input in mind, I am now deep into revision of Rachel Davis, focusing on form and plot connections. I also began work on my third novel, tentatively titled, For Nothing in My Arms. My editor at Little, Brown has seen the first third of the developing manuscript and is very excited about the project.
Beyond this work, I published three essays and a dozen poems. My work has also been collected in a number of anthologies this year, including Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy and River Teeth: 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction. Finally, this past year my debut novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, was shortlisted for the First Novel Award from the Center For Fiction, named a 2019 Booklist Editor's Choice, and chosen a finalist for the 2019 Pacific Northwest Book Award. Fall Back Down When I Die has also now been translated and published in French, Spanish, and Italian.
Wilkins, Joe, "Sabbatical Leave Report" (2020). Post-Grant Reports. Report. Submission 204.