About Me

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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU, where he tutors composition alongside editing flyers on poetry and style. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor at Review of International American Studies. He also teaches at Münchner Volkshochschule and leads the Amerikahaus Literaturkreis.



Dear family and friends,

Jan, my mother-in-law, got home safe last night after taking shelter in a hotel and a restaurant; Laura and I got home just after the shooting began and stayed indoors, safe throughout.

With the new day comes clarity about what happened: As you've no doubt heard by now, the police have concluded that there was only one gunman, an eighteen-year-old Iranian-German citizen (whose apartment was in Maxvorstadt, our borough of the city, which may account for all of the police activity last night). 

From the perch of our second-story apartment on Schellingstrasse, we witnessed the workings of the response to the attack: From initial speeding police vehicles and circling helicopters to an unsettling lull, which was broken with the return of the speeding police vehicles and the helicopters; during one such quiet spell, our normally very busy street became, as you can see here, surreally lit in blue with the convoy of dozens upon dozens of ambulances (which we surmised were meant to assist in the evacuation of OEZ, the shopping mall where the shooting happened, or Tollwood, a nearby festival in the Olympic Park).

The sunshine this morning seems somehow both brighter and more muted. Some eighteen hours later, the city is back to normal, though in a quieter vein than its usual summer exuberance confers. Two hours ago, I went to the bakery, whose outside seating was full, to buy a newspaper and pick up breakfast. En route, I ran into two neighbors in our courtyard, bumped into an artist acquaintance around the corner, and chatted with the Spanish woman who manages the bakery. There was only one topic of conversation. 


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