Fiction. Short Stories. The characters in GROUNDSCRATCHERS are not always great role models. They keep secrets, surrender to petty impulses, and too often let pride keep them from giving or receiving the compassion that could improve their lives. But they remain a sympathetic bunch in how they strive to see their actions honestly, even when such knowledge won't undo all the losses they have incurred. Gabriel Welsch presents their stories with unrelenting clarity but also a tenderness that affirms at least the possibility of redemption. Each sentence is a joy of craftsmanship, lyrical language that does not describe these narrative worlds so much as incant them to life. I cannot say what makes a great work of fiction in the abstract, but I do know that Welsch's characters feel realer to me than many flesh-and-blood humans. GROUNDSCATCHERS is a remarkable achievement fashioned over two decades, a collection both modest and intense, where even the quietest exchanges invite revelation.
For nearly 15 years, Gabriel Welsch worked in the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industries in roles as a crew grunt, production grower, plant buyer, landscape foreman, and garden designer before working in higher education teaching and administration. He writes fiction and poetry, and is the author of four collections of poems: The Four Horsepersons of a Disappointing Apocalypse, The Death of Flying Things, An Eye Fluent in Gray, and Dirt and All Its Dense Labor. His work has appeared widely, in journals including Mid-American Review, Ploughshares, Georgia Review, New Letters, Southern Review, Chautauqua, Harvard Review, Ascent, and on Verse Daily and in Ted Kooser's column "American Life in Poetry." A native of Maine and a graduate of the MFA program at Penn State, he now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his family, and works as vice president of marketing and communications at Duquesne University.Author City: PITTSBURGH, PA USA