harris picture

Bill Harris, Art by Nicole Macdonald from her Detroit Portrait Series

Today on the blog, Bill Harris and I will be talking about his story, “That First Year the Business Was Wood,” from his award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, I Got to Keep Moving.

Bill Harris is a Wayne State University emeritus professor of English. He is a playwright, poet, and arts critic. His plays have been produced nationwide and he has published books of plays, poetry, and reappraisals of American history. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award.

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 below:

That First Year the Business Was Wood from I GOT TO KEEP MOVING







“I Got to Keep Moving” is available from Pages Bookshop here or Wayne State University Press here or Bookshop here or Amazon here.


I plan to continue discussing stories through the fall. Please let me know if you have a new book of short stories out so we can talk about it!



I Have the Answer has been out since April 11th. It was hard to market or even think about a new book this past spring, and if you are so inclined, I would love your help.

There are two main ways:

  1. Write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews at these places make a big difference and help drive sales. My hope is that people read the reviews and then purchase the book from their local indie bookstore like Pages Bookshop in Detroit!
  2. If you have already read and enjoyed the book, please let your friends know on social media with either a picture or just a suggestion that they might want to buy the book. Here’s a link to WSUPress for more information: Please use the hashtag with #IHAVETHEANSWER and please tag @WSUPress and @kfor24. 


I recorded a podcast last week for Without Books and if you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend the short messages they record by authors reminding us all about the importance of books.

Stay safe and well.




Featured Poet: Vievee Francis

I asked my friend and teacher, Vievee Francis, if she would contribute to this blog, and she asked me to pick out my favorite poem (of hers) and post it, so here we go. Vievee is brilliant and there are many poems I could pick, but I am drawn to this one at this moment in time because of the line:

What does it mean/to silence another?

Given to Rust

Every time I open my mouth my teeth reveal

more than I mean to. I can’t stop tonguing them, my teeth.

Almost giddy to know they’re still there (my mother lost hers)

but I am embarrassed nonetheless that even they aren’t

pretty. Still, I did once like my voice, the way it moved

through the gap in my teeth like birdsong in the morning,

like the slow swirl of a creek at dusk. Just yesterday

a woman closed her eyes as I read aloud, and

said she wanted to sleep in the sound of it, my voice.

I can still sing some. Early cancer didn’t stop the compulsion

to sing but

there’s gravel now. An undercurrent

that also reveals me. Time and disaster. A heavy landslide

down the mountain. When you stopped speaking to me

what you really wanted was for me to stop speaking to you. To

stifle the sound of my voice. I know.

Didn’t want the quicksilver of it in your ear.

What does it mean

to silence another? It means I ruminate on the hit

of rain against the tin roof of childhood, how I could listen

all day until the water rusted its way in. And there I was

putting a pan over here and a pot over there to catch it.

Hear Vievee Francis reading this poem

Bio: Vievee Francis is the author of Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006), Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), and Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press, 2016), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry. She is an associate professor at Dartmouth College and an associate editor for Callaloo.