I don’t expect a lot from my music. It’s not my primary creative outlet, though these songs do get stuck in my head. I have to get them down and put them out so they don’t get stuck there forever. It’s really, ahem, No Big Deal. Let me know what you think, and if you feel so inclined, I’m donating any proceeds from this release to NAGLY (North Shore Alliance for GLTBQ Youth).
CW: Profanity, blasphemy, sex (gay), queer yearning, piano ballads, funky grooves, melodica solos, feelings, emotions, earnestness, ironies subtle and glaring.
Check out my latest piece in Slate: “The Golf World Hardly Deserves ‘Praise’ for Breaking with Trump: there’s too much entanglement here to assume this is anything like a total and permanent divorce” (1/16/21)
It’s been a goal of mine for a decade now to have an essay listed in the notables section of the Best American Essays. Every year I browse the Google/Amazon preview–which sometimes doesn’t even include the H’s–and later head to the bookstore just to make sure I didn’t miss my name. Some years I haven’t even had an essay published, but I still take a look. This morning I went through that yearly routine, and there I was! Thanks to the Potomac Review for picking it up and giving it a great home. In another decade maybe I’ll make the BAE table of contents. (10/21/20)
In July, 2020, we released issue 2.2 of the Dylan Review. The issue is full of great analysis of Dylan’s latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, and it also contains an interview I conducted with Mark Davidson of the official Dylan Archive in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We range over how Mark arrived in Tulsa, the future of the archive, and even the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Check it out here! (7/15/20)
Bob Dylan has released a new album of originals, and I had the pleasure of breaking it down song-by-song for Glide Magazine. Read it here! (6/23/20)
On Tuesday, April 7, we lost John Prine, the kindest, biggest-hearted singer-songwriter in America. His songs are wise and wonderful. Though he communicated in an “awe-shucks” country dialect, his lyrical phrasings were often stunning, and when he was at his best, which was often, perfectly natural.
I had the pleasure of seeing Prine in Boston several years ago, and he sounded great. Four-piece band, no percussion. The greatest was when his own lyrics made him twist his head and smile.
RIP John. On up into heaven you do ride.
This is a bittersweet publication for me: bitter because it represents the last time my nonfiction mentor, Ned Stuckey-French, who passed away last June, will editorially usher my work into publication; sweet because it’s always a thrill to have work published in Fourth Genre. Here’s my first-person review essay of Craig Morgan Teicher’s We Begin in Gladness: How Poets Progress.. (2/15/20)
Today Sweet: A Literary Confection, one of my favorite journals, published a brief interview about what I’ve been up to in the few years since they published my flash essay, “Downriver.” And as always, there’s no lack of Bob Dylan. Check it out! https://sweetlit.com/2020/01/23/sweet-connections-paul-haney/ (1/23/20)
In September 2019, I joined this new scholarly online journal, the Dylan Review, as Managing Editor. I guess they liked my ideas (and my edits), because a few weeks later they bumped me up to Co-Editor. All fall the three of us worked with contributors to get their submissions into the best shape possible for our Winter 2019 issue (1.2). Check it out here! I’m especially fond of the interview I conducted with the inimitable Christopher Ricks, which starts on page 65. (12/31/19)
A year and a half ago I lost one of my closest friends, George. This essay, featured today at Hobart: Another Literary Journal, explores the last time we hung out alongside our shared affinity for Bob Dylan. (11/25/19)
Ned Stuckey-French was a friend and a mentor. The literary world lost a fierce nonfiction advocate when he passed on June 28, 2019, at 69 years old. I wrote this piece for Brevity‘s Nonfiction Blog about Ned’s fierce Facebook habit. (11/11/19)
In this, the fourth and final piece I’ve written for The RS500, I think about Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks alongside my own fraught attempt at recording and releasing a breakup album. (6/1/19)
I just received my contributor’s copies of the Potomac Review, issue 64. The essay I have inside, “It’s Our Album Now,” thinks about Dylan’s 1965 tour de force, Highway 61 Revisited, while debating with classic rocker Al Kooper about the validity of biographical readings and recalling my own teenage obsession with the surrealistic rock tunes. (3/29/19)
I’m thrilled to have my poem, “Spoils,” featured in the Cincinnati Review miCRo Series today, along with an audio file of me reading it and an incredibly kind introduction by Associate Editor Caitlyn Doyle. She writes, in part, “Haney creates such an echo-rich sonic atmosphere that we’re helpless to resist joining in his revelry. Yet he also subtly spurs us to look beneath the gleaming surfaces that surround us and question their cost.” What a joy for someone to “get” what you’re upto, and to confirm that you got it across. Anyway, check it out! (9/18/18)
Rolling Stone calls it the 97th best album in rock ‘n’ roll. I explored it through a personal narrative for thers500.com: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, released in 1963 and announcing Dylan as an American songwriting luminary. Read my personal music essay here! (8/31/18)
I reviewed Hanif Abdurraqib’s stellar new collection of music essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, for Pleiades: Literature in Context. Find my review, which compares the book to Chicago’s public transportation system, here! (4/19/18)