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A fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (fully funded by the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation) and a resident at Wildacres, Hambidge, and the Vermont Studio Center, she was named a 2013 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow to attend a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts.
After graduating with high honors from the University of Michigan (where she won a Hopwood Award in 1994), she earned her MFA in Creative Writing from New York University in 2001.
She was a full-time writing instructor at American University from 2001 to 2009, and has since taught at The Writer’s Center (in Bethesda, Maryland), Politics and Prose (in Washington, DC), and the Washington National Cathedral. You can follow her on Twitter at @randonnoble and contact her at [email protected]
I lived, at that time, in a neighborhood whose northern edge abutted a small swamp. I remember the icy hummocks we used as hassocks, half-sitting, half-leaning against them when we bent over to tie our skates on, the still, shallow water solidly frozen and skimmed with white, the swamp edges solid as playground benches.
I scratched mosquito bites until they bled and walked around all summer, lifting the hard crusty edges of scabs, the way I might have lifted manhole covers in a city street. I loved imagining my shins dotted with shallow ponds the size of lentils, complete with sedgy fringes and the chorus of spring peepers, the possibility of lowering myself into a labyrinth.
Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Bayou Magazine, Fourth Genre, and Flyway, and has been included in the anthologies American Nature Writing; Figuring Animals: Essays on Animal Images in Art, Literature, Philosophy, & Popular Culture; Between Song and Story: Essays for the Twenty-First Century; and Permanent Vacation: Twenty Writers on Work and Life In Our National Parks.
Her work has also earned her notable mention in Best American Essays and an AWP Intro Award.
Among her major works are We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls.
It is impossible to spend any time bellydown on the boardwalk; face to face with that wobbly cover, and not eventually reach over and push your fingers in. From the safety of whatever boardwalks we have chosen, we linger at the edges, testing the mire with the tips of galoshes, a long stick, a hand. A swamp that to my child's mind had no depth, only white flatness, a slick surface to glide across.
Robert Atwan is the series editor of The Best American Essays.
He recently edited Divine Inspiration, a volume of world poetry on the Gospels.