Today on the blog, Esperanza Cintrón and I will be talking about her story, “The Beard” from her award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, Shades, Detroit Love Stories, which was chosen as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book.

It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you.


Just click on this link for the full story, “The Beard,” here.


I hope you enjoy our discussion of “The Beard” below! Or directly on Spotify here.



Bio: Esperanza Cintrón is the author of Shades, Detroit Love Stories, a collection of interconnected short stories published by Wayne State University Press (2019) and selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book and a finalist in the 2020 Midwest Book Awards.  Her three books of poetry include: Visions of a Post-Apocalyptic Sunrise (Stockport Flats Press, 2014), the 2013 Naomi Long Madgett Award winner What Keeps Me Sane (Lotus Press, 2013) and Chocolate City Latina (Swank Press, 2005). Boulders, Detroit Nature Poems won first honorable mention (2021) and will soon be published by Finishing Line Press. Her work is anthologized in Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ PoetsOf Burgers & BarroomsAbandoned AutomobileDouble Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers & DaughtersErotique Noire/Black Erotica and others. She has been awarded a Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, a Metro Times Poetry Prize, Callaloo Creative Writing Fellowships at Oxford and Brown Universities and a National Endowment for the Humanities scholarship. A native Detroiter, she is co-founder of The Sisters of Color Writers Collective and creator of its literary journal Seeds for which she served as Editor until 2006. Cintrón holds a doctorate in English Literature and teaches writing, film and literature at WCCCD in Downtown Detroit.


Shades, Detroit Love Stories is available for purchase from Wayne State University Press, Bookshop, and Amazon.

In other news:

Check out Robin Luce Martin’s fantastic story, “Through the Hole,” on Pendust Radio.

I am reading at the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle on Wednesday, June 23rd at 7pm and there is an open mic event following my reading, so please think about attending and reading your own work as well!

Here’s the link to sign up.

Second Audio Clip: I HAVE THE ANSWER

When I have the Answer but

Hi Everyone,

I’m happy to share my second audio clip from I Have the Answer, recorded by the phenomenal audiobook narrator, Denice Stradling. Here’s a link to her website for more information. I highly recommend her services to any other writers out there!

The story Denice is reading from is called “The Devil’s Proof” and is a fictional story about a sexual assault that takes place in Washington, D.C. during the 1980s. I wrote about the true story of what happened to me in River Teeth and that essay is coming out next month. This story is quite different from the true story, but features the same basic elements of fear and shame, which have dogged me ever since.

Also, the story features many of the same locations from my youth, chief among them Georgetown, where I lived, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School where I attended high school, and Georgetown University, which was a frequent destination.

The other aspect of this fictional story that is technically true is that my father graduated from Georgetown University in 1949 and Bill Blatty, who wrote The Exorcist graduated in 1950. According to my father (and many other sources) Bill Blatty based “The Exorcist” on a story one of his religion professors told him about a supposedly “real-life” exorcism. My father was in Billy Blatty’s religion class and heard the story first-hand as well.

Here’s a link to the true story

And now without further adieu, Denice Stradling reading from “The Devil’s Proof”:


Tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 22nd, I will be reading online and answering questions at an online book launch via the Grosse Pointe Library. It’s free and you can register here.

This week, I posted a list of recommended reading via Electric Literature. They thought I lived in a flyover state, and, quite frankly, until I researched it, so did I 🙂 

You can buy a copy of I Have the Answer from Pages Bookshop in Detroit or Wayne State University Press or Bookshop(if you want to support local bookstores) or Amazon.

Stay safe and well, everyone! Thank you for reading!