Newest Brief Essays

"Women's Hour, YMCA" featured in Kenyon Review Online

"I Second That Emotion" (craft essay) featured in New Ohio Review


Other Brief Essays

"Advanced Directive to My Future Roommate…"

"Things Gone the Way of Time," recently reprinted in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton)


Study with Rebecca this summer

Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, June 18-25


Kenyon Review PODCAST with Rebecca

(on memoir, genre-crossing, writing practice, and more)


Word Painting Revised Edition: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively

New edition includes over 100 writing exercises for all genres.

Word Painting

The Tribal Knot

Rebecca'a newest nonfiction book, The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change is now available from Indiana University Press and Amazon.

Tribal Knot


In the days my father’s mother
was dying, the room was busy
with daughters. My father brought flowers,
wrote checks, touched the face
powdered and creamed
after a morning bath.
Their shared breathing filled, emptied
the room. He stared at his hands:
what would be asked?
The Pieta teaches only
how a mother holds a son.
As a child too young for his father’s
field, he’d followed the dark braid
coiled on his mother’s head. The weight
of day loosened it, by evening, pins slid
onto the swept floor. His mother
would sigh, untie her apron
and, still as a child, allow
the undoing: the comb’s ragged
teeth, sparks igniting the air,
her son’s hands smoothing, smoothing.

• First published in Bellevue Literary Journal
From Deep Light: New and Selected Poems
More Poems on Loss, Grief and Healing