Tag Archives: Leslie Pietrzyk

This Angel on My Chest: a Book Review

Posted by Erin Duffy, Public Relations Manager for issue 4.2 and CNF Editor for issue 4.1

2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner Leslie Pietrzyk

2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner Leslie Pietrzyk

It might be somewhat hyperbolic to suggest that Leslie Pietrzyk’s newest collection defies literary classification, but there are few, if any, categories into which it seamlessly fits. This Angel On My Chest is a collection of unrelated short fiction pieces that read like a cohesive novel, and each story borrows so heavily from Pietrzyk’s personal experiences that it’s impossible to tell fact from fiction. It’s an oddball of a book that nevertheless elicits myriad emotions from the reader. Though at times emotionally draining, each piece – the whole book, in fact – is a masterwork of craft and an utterly raw exploration of grief. Continue reading

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The Leslie Pietrzyk Experience

Posted by Shayna Nenni, Fiction Editor for Issue 4.2


Leslie Pietrzyk, author of This Angel On My Chest. Photo courtesy of John Hopkins University.

Geneseo was incredibly privileged to have writer Leslie Pietrzyk visit our campus, Thursday, February 29th, to give a reading from her book, This Angel on My Chest. Channeling the intimate, personal experience of losing her first husband at the age thirty-seven, Pietrzyk greeted us with humor, sadness, hope, and creativity, reading one of her sixteen short stories. Not only were we lucky enough to hear her read from her marvelous collection, she conducted a workshop (which I was lucky to participate in), and attended classes on campus. I envy students participating in the Converse low residency MFA program where she’s a member of the core fiction faculty, and John Hopkins University’s MA Program in Writing where she teaches because of their chance to learn from and work with her so closely.

Listening to Leslie Pietrzyk’s reading of “A Quiz” from her collection of stories, This Angel on My Chest, was inspiring. She captivated the audience while reading a story about a young widow. The quiz format of her short story is innovative and strangely funny as it reveals how her narrator handled certain social situations after her husband’s death. The repetition of the cause of the husband’s death and his age also convey the obsessive nature of grief. Continue reading

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