My essay about beauty and awkwardness in Merce Cunningham’s iconic dance Summerspace has come out in the most recent issue of Gulf Coast. Thanks to the editors for helping me make the piece stronger.


There’s a new, kind, and spot-on review by Tom Griffen in the spring 2020 issue of the Laurel Review. Print only but many many thanks for keeping interest in this little book alive!

Thanks to The Spectacle for publishing this essay about taking class at Cunningham’s Westbeth studio in the 1970s.

This latest review of After the Death of Shostakovich Père by Leonard Temme is more than I could ever have asked for. When I used Shostakovich’s piano duet to structure this book, I suspected that structure would be a scaffolding just for me, but this review gets it, and I’m so grateful for this careful reading of my work.

Barton Smock has written a generous and deeply mysterious review of After the Death of Shostakovich Père in Heavy Feather Review, a work of art in its own right.

These were some of the most interesting questions I’ve ever had to answer in an interview. Thanks to Rob McLennan for asking them.

If you’re in Seattle or coming for this weekend (Dec 14-16, 2018), come check out an  amazing celebration of choreographer Merce Cunningham at Velocity Dance Center on Capitol Hill. I’ll be reading some mini-essays about studying at Merce’s studio when I was a teenager and what his work has meant to me as a writer. More importantly, there will be dance and video celebrating and responding to his work on the 100th anniversary of his birth. And it’s been labeled a pick-of-the-week by many Seattle news sites! Link to tickets and info. Hope to see you there!

Many thanks to Daniel Casey for his generous review of After the Death of Shostakovich Père, December 14, 2018.

We’re coming to the end of another hot smokey summer in the Northwest, and it’s the start of hurricane season elsewhere. Here’s an essay I wrote about last summer’s climate disasters: “The Tree. The Ash. The Ocean.” in The Collagist (Issue 98, August 2018).

In interview about how I wrote this essay is now up on The Collagist blog.

Check it out! I have a story in here:

Vol. 70

Available to order now at PANK Books!

Shostakovich cover.jpg

winner of the PANK chapbook contest

Not all ghosts exact revenge or induce terror. Some emerge from a miasma of grief; sad themselves, they spread sorrow. Or perhaps those left behind—daughters and sons—create the ghost of a father, trying to find what’s surely been lost. Following the four-movement structure of Shostakovich’s Suite for Two Pianos and using a mosaic of story, memoir, photographs, literary analysis, and her own father’s journals, Maya Sonenberg’s After the Death of Shostakovich Père is an extended lyric meditation on the death of fathers, both biological and artistic, and the ways in which haunting can produce art.

If you followed along with the score of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite for Two Pianos, you might arrive at/After the Death of Shostakovich Père.
A chording of song, art, and elegy, Maya Sonenberg is a master of tone and rhythm, sorrow and vision—and then the chord resolves itself, and it
is revelatory.

-Lily Hoang, author of Changing and A Bestiary

Hermes made the lyre out of a tortoise shell, cattle horns, and catgut, transforming dead animal parts into a sublime musical instrument. Wily Maya Sonenberg here transgresses her own set of categories, generates in her shape-shifting prose of After the Death of Shostakovich Pere, her own lyric, braided Sonenbergian book of remembered memory music. Like The Rings of Saturn (the book, yes, but also the phenomenon of nature) this collage of star-dusted debris and despair is woven into a worldly and wordly accessory, that signifies the grave mystery of gravity at the same time it defies, with the lightest of touches, the weight and the wait of the world it encircles—all its graves and even entropy itself. Bones, viscera, guts (the organic plastic we inhabit) are turned into the eternally ethereal.

-Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Winesburg, Indiana

publicity    Maya Sonenberg grew up in New York City and lived in Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, California, Oregon, and Paris, France before settling in Seattle, where she teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Washington. She is the author of the story collections Cartographies (winner of the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature) and Voices from the Blue Hotel. More recent fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Web Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, New Ohio Review, The Literarian, Hotel Amerika, and numerous other places.

2 thoughts on “Home

  1. Shalom Maya. I just read your story/essay in Conjunctions. How gorgeous that is. Do you ever come to Israel? I organize writing workshops, currently in Tel Aviv. Please let me know if you are planning a trip and if you would like a one-day gig (or maybe two) to help pay for your flight and meet some lovely mature Anglo-Israelis who are writing pretty much in the dark. You can see that I’m not a fake or a con at http://www.writeinisrael.com

    What you do in your essay/ prose is what I aspire to do, but if I don’t do it soon, it will be too late.

    All best,

    Judy Labensohn


    • Dear Judy,
      Thanks so much for your kind words. As I’m sure you know, it’s a special pleasure when a complete stranger reads and likes your writing. I’ve never been to Israel, although I have distant relatives there whom I’ve never met! If I do come, I’ll be sure to get in touch. And if you ever make it to Seattle, please let me know.


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