Professor Crouse is an award-winning short story writer and teacher. Former Chair of the Writing and Literature Program at Chester College of New England, Professor Crouse became a faculty member in the MFA Program in January 2007.
Professor Crouse's stories have appeared in some of the country's most well regarded journals, including The Greensboro Review, Chelsea, Quarterly West, and The Beloit Fiction Journal. His comic book writing has been anthologized in The Darkhorse Book of the Dead, published by Darkhorse Comics. He is currently working on several projects, including mixed-genre work involving text and image.
He admires the work of many contemporary authors, ranging from the traditional to the expertimental. These include Don DeLillo (The Names, Running Dog, Libra), Toni Morrison, James Salter, Philip K. Dick, Mary Robison, John Cheever, James Baldwin, Grace Paley, and Sherman Alexie. He is also a big fan of fringe art: punk rock, "outsider" music, neo-psychedlia, found art, Italian zombie movies, and other odd cultural artifacts.
Professor Crouse's short story collection Copy Cats was awarded the prestigous Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2005. Copy Cats was subsequently nominated for the Pen-Faulkner in 2006.
Copy Cats consists of 7 short stories and one extended novella, and takes as its themes issues of identity and alienation. The story "Kopy Kats" concerns itself with a world of false images and doubles, as its protagonist--a man who works in a hectic copy shop--seeks authenticity in his life and finds only more and more imitations. "Retreat" deals with the intersection of mental illness and art, as two characters attend an art camp for people with nervous disorders. "Click" dramatizes the life of a middle-brow photographer as he tries to record the life of a part-time prostitute and drug addict; but his increasing identification with his subject moves him away from his own tenuous sense of self.
The Boston Globe has compared Copy Cats to the work of short story masters Andre Dubus and Richard Yates.
The Man Back There, Professor Crouse's second collection of short fiction, was awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction in 2007. Selected by judge Mary Gaitskill from over 400 manuscripts, the collection is a nuanced portrayal of nine very different--but also very similar--men living on the margins of society.
Andre Dubus III, Author of the best-selling House of Sand and Fog, says of The Man Back There, "In this virtuoso collection of stories, David Crouse guides us directly to where the shadow lies - the disorienting loss, the surprising heartache, the forgotten wound - those inevitable areas of the psyche we all share and through which only truth, illuminated with a such a light touch here, can deliver us; The Man Back There and Other Stories is the work of the real thing."
In her introduction to The Man Back There, Gaitskill writes simply, "I chose these stories because they made me feel. . . ." The reader of David Crouse's collection is bound to agree, but the reasons are not easily explained. Crouse crawls inside the heads of a collection of male protagonists and tells us how they think. They are not always likeable. They are often losers-their thoughts hurry ahead or dawdle behind, disconnected from what little action occurs around them.
And yet, somehow, we wince for the dog-catcher who crashes his ex-wife's Thanksgiving dinner in "The Castle on the Hill." We sympathize with the latch-key kid who pillages toys in a dead boy's closet in "Show and Tell." And in "Posterity," we find it hard to condemn a ninety-two-year-old senator trying to salvage his career after his ex-wife publishes a scandalous tell-all book about his life.
In this deceptively quiet collection, the truth is something that simmers up through what is not said. A hero is a man who saves himself from himself, who placates his temper with self-awareness and, most importantly, self-forgiveness. The Man Back There is a feat of empathy and razor sharp vision.