praise for the writing of
"A fantastic writer."
"Cinematic. . . devastatingly honest"
"A very good story. . . it felt like good journalism."
"Mesmerizing. Wonderful writing and material."
"Extremely interesting idea. . . voice is fantastic."
"What a pleasure to read this odd, visionary work!"
--Charlotte Pence author of Code
--New Writing (UK)
"A persuasive narrative voice similar to John Banville and Paul Auster."
"You have generated a lot of discussion among our pool of readers."
--American Short Fiction
--The King's English
"The closest experience one can have to what it is actually like to write like Nabokov."
Nomadic Press :
"Shortly through the second part entitled "Memory," Detman’s writing style and skill at storytelling explode viciously . . . I became totally absorbed . . .This is a novel that will stick with you because of its poetical means of exploring the human condition and Detman's uncanny ability to weave beautiful, and haunting, imagery."
Publishers Weekly :
"Detman pulls together various forms and styles in an ambitious novel composed of transcripts, letters, and footnotes, told in sharp prose. [...] The best scenes focus on the intimate details and relationships between the characters. Detman's stylistic choices succeed in the moments when Harry's memories and Basher's documents blur into the present, layering various methods of storytelling to create a fresh and intriguing work."
Robert Detman has published nationally and internationally, fiction, essays, and poetry in over fifty literary journals, and is the author of the novel Impossible Lives of Basher Thomas (Figureground Press). Publications include Antioch Review, Pleiades, Santa Monica Review, Southeast Review, and The Southampton Review. Among online literary journals, his work has appeared in Akashic Books Thursdaze, Fjords Review, Newfound, New Orleans Review, The Smart Set, and numerous others (see publications below). His short stories have been finalists for the New Letters Literary Awards and nominated for the Best of the Net, and a story collection was a finalist for the Acacia Fiction Prize from Kallisto Gaia Press, and a semifinalist for the Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. He has written journalism for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Yahoo!, and was a regular contributor to Rain Taxi Review of Books, Nomadic Press, and the Superstition Review Blog. He has attended writing conferences at the Abroad Writers’ Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working with celebrated authors Chris Abani and Rebecca Walker, and, at the Virginia Quarterly Review, working with legendary short story writer Amy Hempel. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and holds a degree in architecture from the University of Michigan.
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Peauxdunque Review "The Abyss" [memoir] *
Bull Magazine "The Afterlife" [fiction]
The Ilanot Review "Navigation" [poetry]
Change Seven "Secret Life" [poetry]
Red Door Magazine "Numen" [poetry]
Streetlight Magazine "Master of Fine Arts" [poetry]
Eclectica Magazine "Anniversary" [poetry]
Hive Avenue Literary Journal "There is That One Nagging Detail" [poetry]
[selected fiction exerpts]
The Southampton Review "Everest"
"“Why don’t you tape the silverware to your hands,” Daniel said. He proceeded to mimic the fumbling simulation of what I might look like to him, with a fork attached to a napkin-wrapped hand as he dully stabbed pork on his plate like a simian trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I looked to Sarah and smiled with embarrassment for myself, for Daniel, for us all. Sarah winced at these theatrics."
Antioch Review "Under the Suns of a Million Everests"
"The sensation faintly reminds me of those gray days on the frozen lakes of my childhood. Time tinged with a dread of the unknown: when the world you have yet to enter is made up of notions, of rites of passage and terrors heard about but not yet experienced. The openness, the emptiness: this is what it is to truly be alone."
Santa Monica Review "This is America"
"The world has suffered a pin prick, some air whistled out. In time this will be replaced by more buildings tumbling down, white walls of water, unconscionable misery. These events will be left to dust, washed clean. Everything crawls, eventually, to a stop. This will become a footnote in the news, a candle light vigil."
Evergreen Review "It Was a Tree That Saved Me"
"I know that when the tree came from the water to punch me in the gut that I was to embrace it. And when Maren went under the coiling waters, I clasped the tree to my aching chest and climbed like I did when a boy. I climbed high until the water went one way clear smooth and the next rushing brown with palm branches, chairs and people. I held a hand out to them but they could not reach me."
The Homestead Review "What We Have Seen Waiting for the War to End
[Finalist, 2008 New Letters Literary Awards]
"From our second floor apartment, we cannot see directly outside, only the light that enters the interior courtyard surrounded by concrete on three sides that rises up five floors. I try to discern what the day will be like from the sounds echoing up from the street, the brave vendors, the frequent cries of grief, the muezzin call."
Driftwood "The Watch"
"The backfiring startles Harry and he comes to in a blaze of heat, cooking. The sun is in the wrong place. There is a pain in his head, something more than a headache from gripping the rails on the back of the truck as they blew over washed out roads."
The Wisconsin Review "The Edmonton Farrell"
"York, stubbing out his cigarette on the rail watched the penumbra-like mole of the sun, white and distended, fading behind a sooty scrim of the Minnesota fury, high in the western sky. The ink of the atmosphere leaded into the surrounding clouds like a blotter."
Juked "Domestic Triptych"
"In his bright glasses every word is inches away, overwhelming. Sometimes her words are magnified, too. As if he’s speeding up, at the edge of the universe, ever expanding. As if aware now of what he didn’t know that he wanted. The brief rain rapping the windows, bills paid in full, a seat on a never empty bus."
"His arm grows numb. He extends his fingers as a pleasant chill spreads down one side of his body, then down the other. He is sure he is passing out. He is submerged. The shot bolts through him. The word insignificant echoes from nowhere. He wrenches, tenses, until he can’t feel anymore."
Superstition Review "Fire" [Finalist, 2007 New Letters Literary Awards]
"The horseshoe crab husks were scattered about in the wet sand. We inspected them together, and I told him that they were one of the oldest forms of life on the planet--something I’d heard on a PBS special. But Jacob knew details. He told me, “They’re four hundred million years old.”"
[selected nonfiction exerpts]
The Tusculum Review "The Miseducation of an Architect"
"They were adults talking about a future with shape, abundance, and responsibility. But in looking back, I realize that they were eager to give me guidance, and life lessons for the future. Though it was all still so far ahead of me in the way a forty-year old can seem like an ancient relic to a nineteen-year old. I was just beginning an unsteady, at times exciting, at times crushingly daunting, step into the world, and knew nothing. Or, rather, I knew what I thought I knew."
"Deconstruction translated into building became manifest in a sense of disorder. What is often noted are the jumbling of planes, the collision and subsuming of forms within other forms. Quite literally, as if the structure is coming undone, being dismantled. This aesthetic could have come right from drawing."
Kitchen Sink Magazine "The Amorphous Writing Community"
"We heralded our minor successes. One grumbling writer brought in a personally signed rejection letter from George Plimpton of the Paris Review. We clucked and gaped. Another had a story published locally in a small magazine that she held up for the collective oohs and aahs of these future Scott Fitzgeralds. "It doesn't pay," she said, smiling knowingly, "but it counts.""
"He never steps in the same house twice. Unmade beds, clothing flung tornado-like about rooms, closets stacked high impeding access, could seem briefly like the last gasp of a civilization gone wanting. Often there are children. Like precocious boundary-less dogs, children stunned in front of billboard sized televisions [...]"
"I realize that I have set up camp against all of my trusted self-exhortations--which in itself is an attempt, I am sure, to push myself to some new level of handling what comes up. After setting up and sitting outside my tent, I am alarmed momentarily at my neglect, but let it pass. After all, it seems empty around here. Or, as I might really say, it’s dead"
Tupelo Quarterly "The Novel as Metaphor"
"The gossip angle becomes a sly twist of the first-person point of view, a tradition whose imperative tends to favor the ego writ large. [...] Misdirection provides another narrative device for the storytellers who reveal themselves, and it is as if the voice—from the source—cannot lie, though appearances may."
Newfound "Writing Contra Technology"
"Far removed from the exigencies of the web, many hang on for dear life to their reflective thought processes. Still, we might come to the web to post our opinions on a blog, or to read others in the desire to find some nourishment to engage, and possibly gain something in return. This might be the web’s novelty and the key to its perpetually renewing wonderment."
The Southampton Review "Everest" *
Akashic Books Thursdaze "First Time, Last Time"
Antioch Review "Under the Suns of a Million Everests" *
Santa Monica Review "This is America" *
Superstition Review "Fire" [Finalist, 2007 New Letters Literary Awards]
[Finalist, 2008 New Letters Literary Awards] *
Evergreen Review "It Was a Tree that Saved Me"
Wisconsin Review "The Edmonton Farrell" *
Driftwood “The Watch” *
Literary Orphans “The Trials of the Father”
Pitkin Revew “Harry Obscured” *
The Greensilk Journal “Smell the Coffee”
The Higgs Weldon "Kim Jong-un's Unread E-mails"
21 Stars Review and Anthology “What You Catch a Glimpse of, Forget As Soon” *
[poetry / hybrid]
Box Journal "Faith" *
Plainsongs "Domestic Dream of a Post-Pandemic World" *
Haarp / Hexagon Press “Of Kafka" *
Sein und Werden "Cogitations on Self"
S/Word "Methodology of Protest"
Burningword Literary Journal "Object / Multiple Singularities / Be Here Now"
Em: A Review of Text and Image "Anger Management"
The Tusculum Review "The Miseducation of an Architect" *
Kitchen Sink Magazine "The Amorphous Writing Community: A Primer" *
Gravel Magazine "The Other Animals"
Superstition Review Blog "The Necessity of Writing (and Reading)"
Superstition Review Blog "Letter from Japan: On Not Knowing"
[essays / reviews]
The Southeast Review "Magic Hours" *
New Orleans Review "Everything We Don't Know"
New City Weekly "Hand to Mouth" *
Nomadic Press "Einstein’s Beach House "
Nomadic Press "The Wallcreeper"
Rain Taxi "Sunland " *
Rain Taxi "Preparation for the Next Life " *
Rain Taxi "The Flame Alphabet " *
Rain Taxi "There’s a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From " *
Rain Taxi "West of Here " *
Rain Taxi "A Thousand Deaths Plus One " *
Rain Taxi "Vain Art of the Fugue" *
Review 31 "Beyond Good and Evil" *
România Literarã Foundation "Vain Art of the Fugue" (translation)
The King's English “Dim Conflagration”
Trop Magazine "Schadenfreude Unlimited!"
Trop Magazine "Existentialisms"
2022 - Acacia Fiction Prize - Kallisto Gaia Press “The Survivor's Guide (Stories)” Finalist
2021 - CausewayLit “Tegucigalpa” Winter Contest Winner
2020 - Variant Literature “Building the Perfect Wings” Longlist
2018 - The Virginia Quarterly Review Writers Conference Participant
2013 - The Hudson Prize, Black Lawrence Press "The Survivor’s Guide (Stories)" Semi-finalist
2008 - New Letters Literary Awards "What We Have Seen Waiting for the War to End" Finalist
2007 - New Letters Literary Awards "Fire" Finalist
2007 - Abroad Writers' Conference, Chiang Mai, Thailand Fellowship Award
*denotes print publication only