Kristopher Jansma, John Proctor, and Jayne Benjulian to Read at Spotty Dog in Volume Series

Kristopher Jansma (photo Michael Levy)

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Novelist Kristopher Jansma, essayist John Proctor, and poet Jayne Benjulian will read from their works at Spotty Dog Books & Ale on Saturday, May 13, at 7pm, as part of Volume, the free monthly reading and music series every second Saturday of the month. The readings will be followed by book-signing and a DJ set by Rebecca Wolff.

Kristopher Jansma is the author of “Why We Came to the City” and “The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards,” winner of the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award, and recipient of an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award. He teaches at SUNY New Paltz College.

Jansma grew up in Lincroft, N.J. He received his B.A. in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University. His critically acclaimed novels, “Why We Came to the City” and “The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards,” were published in 2016 and 2013 by Viking/Penguin.

“Why We Came to the City” was nominated for the Brooklyn Eagles Prize and its French translation, New York Odyssée by Sophie Troff and Rue Fromentin is the winner of the Prix du Livre de Voyage Urbain and was a finalist for the Prix France Inter-Journal du Dimanche.

“The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards” was an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Prize, a finalist for the Prix de l’Inapperçu, and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Fiction and the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, an ABA “Indie Next” Choice, an ALA Notable Book, and an Alternate Selection for the Book of the Month Club.

The novel has been translated into German, French, Italian, Dutch, Czech and Turkish.

Jansma has written a column for Electric Literature about Literary Artifacts, and loving books in a digital age. His work has also been published in the New York Times, Columbia Magazine, The Believer, Slice Magazine, the Blue Mesa Review, and on The Millions.

Jansma is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at SUNY New Paltz and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.


John Proctor (photo Christine Dehne)

John Proctor’s work has been published in The Normal School, DIAGRAM, and McSweeney’s. His work was a recent Notable selection in the Best American Essays 2015 and nominated for a 2016 Pushcart. He teaches academic writing and media studies at Manhattanville College.

Proctor writes about himself:

“I live in Brooklyn, New York with my wife, two daughters, and Chihuahua. In the past few months I’ve seen my essays published in Atlas and Alice, The Weeklings, The Normal School, The Austin Review, and Essay Daily, with work forthcoming in New Madrid Journal of Contemporary Literature as well as an international anthology of microfiction. I also continue to serve as Online Editor for Hunger Mountain Journal for the Arts, and I write as “Dad for All Seasons” for A Child Grows in Brooklyn and other parenting publications.

The nonfiction genres in which I generally work are personal essay and memoir, though I also have written poetry, criticism, fiction, and just about everything in the space between them. I’ve dubbed my work Digital Nonfiction, based not just on the fact that much of it has been published online but also on what I consider its key aesthetic principles. My primary motive as a writer is to capture time, which is essentially analog, break it into workable narrative bits, and organize those bits into a digital circuit, which I call the essay. I got this idea from a fortune cookie that read, “Digital circuits are made from analog parts,” and have expounded on it in my critical essay “The Answer I Found in a Fortune Cookie: Toward a Digital Conception of Nonfiction,” published in Numero Cinq. Over the final four months of 2013 I also published my own digital list-essay, “The List and the Story,” one mini-essay a day, which garnered positive reviews, including Patrick Madden in Brevity Magazine calling the project “an interesting challenge to our default narrative and structural expectations while essaying a life through its interactions and influences.”

Two major developments have given especial focus to my most recent work. The first has been ever-increasing exposure and community for my continuous list-essay experiment “The List and the Story.” I presented a critical background to the project in October 2014 at the VIII Congreso Internacional de Minificción run by the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Kentucky, where I discovered, despite my limited proficiency with the Spanish language, a deep and long literary tradition for the work I’m doing with this project. I also contributed a mini-essay to the Satellite Collective’s Telephone project, “an innovative, online exhibition platform that will allow visitors to follow the trajectory of the message as it evolves through a multitude of art forms,” including “315 original works of music, collage, dance, print, film, installation, prose, sculpture, poetry, photography, embroidery, painting, drawing, performance, and even a videogame.” The exhibition launched on April 20, 2015, with a release party at the Bowery Poetry Club.

The other development is more solitary. After spending much of the year tooling and retooling my published essays into a workable book-length manuscript, I’m now knee-deep in submitting my book ms to agents and publishers. I’m very excited to have this book-length piece of myself ready to give over to the world, though I still haven’t decided between 4-5 working titles.”


Jayne Benjullian (photo Marvin Kaplan)

Jayne Benjulian is the author of “Five Sextillion Atoms.” Her poems and essays appear in numerous literary and performance journals. She served as an Ossabaw Island Project Fellow; teaching fellow at Emory University; and Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Lyon, France.

Benjulian grew up in suburban backyards near New York City and spent summers swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Drawn to coastlines, she also lived on the West Coast — on an island, in a cabin in the hills, and a house under the redwoods. Her work appears in numerous literary and performance journals, including Agni, Barrow Street, The Cortland Review, Poet Lore, Nimrod, HowlRound, Women’s Review of Books and Poetry Daily.

Benjulian’s careers have been as varied and many as places she has lived: she served as chief speechwriter at Apple, investigator for the public defender in King County, Washington, and director of new play development at Magic Theater. She was an Ossabaw Island Project Fellow; a teaching fellow at Emory University; a lecturer in the Graduate Program in Theater at San Francisco State University; and a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Lyon, France. She holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

Benjulian lives in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where she teaches the writing and performance of poetry and monologue. For the January 21, 2017, Gathering at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, she curated Rock the Constitution.


Volume is hosted and curated by Hallie Goodman and Dani Grammerstorf French.






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