I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and now live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I teach courses in literature and culture. I hold a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Minnesota. I am the author of the novel Portraits and Ashes and the novella The Ecstasy of Michaela. My fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in Rain Taxi, New Walk, Ragnarok, The Millions, The Legendary, Whole Beast Rag, Revolver, The Squawk Back, Winter Tangerine Review, Atomic, The Stockholm Review, The Harpoon Review, Muse A Journal, The Amaranth Review, Five2One, and elsewhere. My short story “How People Live” won Honorable Mention in the Glimmer Train May 2012 Short Story Award for New Writers. I can be contacted at johnppistelli at gmail.com, and also found on Goodreads and Tumblr.
This site primarily contains book reviews that first appeared on my Goodreads account; these can be accessed via the REVIEW INDEX on the site’s sidebar. My literary and cultural criticism is anchored to particular texts rather than to the issues of the moment and is driven by the aim of intelligent evaluation rather than controversial or topical argument for its own sake. This is why I publish reviews and essays on my own platform: to be free of the pitch/hot-take economy, usually anchored to the publishing cycle, of literary journalism today, which condemns so much critical writing to empty sensationalism and instant irrelevance. My focus is on classic and contemporary fiction, but I also offer reviews of poetry, drama, comics, and non-fiction in various genres. You can expect about a review per week.
If you would like to support my work, you might please buy, read, and review Portraits and Ashes or The Ecstasy of Michaela (or even just pledge via email to exchange a free ebook for an honest public review). Thanks for your support!