Across The Margin : The Podcast — Holy American Burnout! with Sean Enfield

Across The Margin: The Podcast contemplates race in America, a flawed education system, and the great American condition of burnout with the author of Holy American Burnout!, Sean Enfield…

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This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Sean Enfield, an essayist, poet, bassist, and educator from Dallas, TX. Currently, he resides in Milwaukee, WI where he is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of Permafrost Magazine. Now, he serves as an Assistant Nonfiction Editor at His essays have been nominated for three Pushcarts and he was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered as a finalist for their Three Minute Fiction contest. His debut essay collection, Holy American Burnout!,  — the focus of this episode — was the runner-up for the Ann Petry Award, a finalist for The Megaphone Prize, a finalist for River Teeth’s Literary Nonfiction Book Prize, and is available now.

Threading his experiences both as a Texan student and later as a first-year teacher of predominantly Muslim students at a Texas middle school, Holy American Burnout! weaves personal essay and cultural critique into the historic fabric of Black and biracial identity. In it, Enfield intersects examinations of which voices are granted legitimacy by virtue of school curriculum, the complex relationship between basketball and education for Black and brown students, his students’ burgeoning political consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign, and cultural figures ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Hamlet.

These classroom narratives abounding in Holy American Burnout! weave around Enfield’s own formative experiences contending with a conflicted biracial family lineage, reenacting the Middle Passage as the only Black student in his 7th grade history class, and moshing in both Christian and secular hardcore pits. As Enfield wrestles with the physical, mental, and emotional burdens that American society places on educators, students, and all relatively conscious minorities in this country, he reaches for an education that better navigates our burnt-out empire.

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You can find more of Sean Enfield’s work at

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