Padgett Powell is the author of six novels, including The Interrogative Mood and Edisto, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and two collections of stories. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, and the Paris Review. He has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, the Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Powell co-directs and teaches at the MFA@FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida in Gainesville. Padgett Powell’s new collection, Cries for Help, Various: Stories (Catapult), follows his mentor Donald Barthelme’s advice that “wacky mode” must “break their hearts.” The surrealistic and comical terrain of most of the forty-four stories here is grounded by a real preoccupation with longing, fear, work, loneliness, and cultural nostalgia.