Alexandra Kleeman is the author of the novel Something New Under the Sun, available from Hogarth Books.

 

Kleeman’s other books include Intimations, a short story collection, and the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, which was awarded the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In 2020, she was awarded the Rome Prize and the Berlin Prize.

Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others, and other writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, VOGUE, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf, Djerassi, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Born in 1986 in Berkeley, California, she was raised in Colorado and lives in Staten Island with her husband, the writer Alex Gilvarry.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

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Julie Poole is the author of the poetry collection Bright Specimen, available now from Deep Vellum.

Poole was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She received a BA from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from The New Writers Project at The University of Texas at Austin. She has received fellowship support from the James A. Michener Center, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, The Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency, and Yaddo. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature. Her poems and essays have appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry ReviewCutBankDenver QuarterlyPoet LoreCold Mountain ReviewPorter House ReviewHuffPost, and elsewhere. Her arts and culture writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, the Ploughshares Blog, SightlinesThe Texas ObserverTexas MonthlyScalawagand Bon Appétit. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her growing collection of found butterflies.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

 

It’s hard to say when I read Garielle Lutz’s work for the first time. I know that a professor suggested Stories in the Worst Way. But I think I already had purchased Divorcer by that time, though I cannot recall if I had read it. Her work knocked me out.

Lutz’s work is wholly and completely singular, a feat that feels as difficult as ever, though a phrase that feels ubiquitous in our times. But I dare you to find another living writer doing what Garielle is doing. Something that strikes anyone when first reading Lutz is the surgical precision, the kaleidoscopic vocabulary. Much of her work is a masterclass in defamiliarization.

There is not much that can be said that hasn’t already about her genius, and if you are reading this interview, you know it already. She has, for writers like us, completely changed the game and though I know many who cite her as an influence or claim her as one, I can think of very few for whom I can see her fingerprints. Her latest book, Worsted, feels both a continuation of Lutz’s previous work, and something exciting and new from the writer who has been thornily typing out life’s most ordinary adventures for over twenty years.

Garielle and I talked about teaching, retirement, and influence, her latest work, and what’s next.

 


 

 

I know that you taught creative writing as a Visiting Writer at various colleges and universities, but I believe you have mostly taught composition during your time as an academic. Can you talk about teaching composition versus teaching creative writing—if they are completely opposite to you, if you find yourself a more productive creative writer while you teach one or the other, etc.

 

I’ve always been drawn toward menial but personally meaningful jobs, and at most colleges, the most menial sort of faculty employment seems to be teaching freshman composition. When, during my second or third year of teaching it, I told the chairperson that I had no desire to teach anything else, another prof in the department took me aside and said, “Bad career move.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t think of teaching as a career. I needed a job to support myself, true, but I’d always thought of “support” in its most literal sense–as a way of simply holding up. I found teaching composition to be an unsullying use of my time, a way to keep myself grounded. I’ve long felt that somebody somewhere ought to be telling students the truth about commas, about clauses, about the dark enchantments of specificity. Teaching comp is, of course, dirty work, because among the many papers coming at you every week you can always expect that more than a few of the pages will be provocatively grease-spotted and crudded with smudges and splotches and crusts–byproducts of all-nighter practitionings with snack foods, cosmetics, bodily discharge. On one page it might look as if smidgens of clay have been pressed deep into the paper stock; on another, you might come upon the dark bloods of whatever insects were still alive and crushable that month. As an instructor, I always felt it my duty to return the papers promptly and scrubbed reasonably clean. I tried my best with thicksome, stone-colored ink erasers that worked pretty well on certain strains of smutch, and there were chemical treatments that didn’t call for all that much ventilation. Some days I resorted to little more than dollar-store wipes. (The pages would often be warped, though, by the time I was done with them.) Other days the filth would be obstinate, irremediable, permanent. You had to accept that there was only so much you could do. By the end of my workday (I did all my grading in my office at school), I’d need to get far away from words on paper, from any further verbal circumstance. So, no, I never did any writing of my own during the press of the semesters. When I returned to my apartment after work, I always reached for my electric guitar. It was a cheap, solid-body thing I never plugged into an amp, because I wanted the chords I fingered to come out as alluringly trebly and inaudible as I could manage. More often than not, these were nonsense chords, not the simple, stalwart C, F, and G of the recognizable blues. The music I produced lacked any universality whatsoever. I wrote my stories during the summers. I never taught creative writing often enough to draw any conclusions, other than that the students were always smarter than I was.

 

Do you feel like your process or approach to writing has changed over the years, or do you find yourself still writing in the same manner? If it has changed, how?

 

I was never a fast writer, was always a dawdler, a layabout, but the pace has slowed even further in the past few years. I long ago read somewhere that a writer, or any other sort of artist, is usually granted only fifteen years in which to come up with something decent, and after that, the work sinks into mannerism and the bitter brittleness of self-parody, or else completely dries up. That sounds just about right to me. I might have had a good month or two here and there. I feel I can live with two or three little things I’ve put into words.

José Vadi is the author of the debut essay collection Inter State: Essays from California (Soft Skull).

 

He received the San Francisco Foundation’s Shenson Performing Arts Award for his debut play “a eulogy for three” produced by Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Living Word Project. He is the author of SoMa Lurk, a collection of photos and poems published by Project Kalahati / Pro Arts Oakland. His work has been featured by the Paris Review, the PBS NewsHour, the San Francisco ChronicleCatapult, McSweeney’s, The Los Angeles Review of Books, QuartersnacksFree Skate Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine. He lives in Sacramento.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

 

Day 1: a song that reminds you of being 9 years old and drinking honeysuckles in the backyard after piano class while your mom pays the teacher

 

Day 2: a song that you listened to driving on the interstate for the first time, even though you weren’t allowed, and you got off one exit from where you got on because you were nervous

 

Day 3: a cover song that you never knew was a cover until someone at a party–where you were already feeling self conscious anyway–made you feel really stupid about it and now it’s the only thing you can remember when you think back on that party

 

Day 4: a song your coworker would always play and it used to annoy you but now you kind of love it and want to tell them, but you probably won’t

 

Day 5: a song that you only ever listened to 30 seconds of because it was on a “hit clip” that you got inside of a happy meal

 

Day 6: a song by someone you personally know that comes on shuffleevery time, like a cruel jokewhen you are just trying to make out and not think about your friends

 

Day 7: a song that always makes you think “i should do this at karaoke” but then you forget when you are actually at karaoke and you just do “Cowboy Take Me Away” again

 

Day 8: a song that feels like the first cold day in early October and it makes you want to cry from nostalgia but also smile with hope for the future and the combination makes your arm hairs tinglebut it could just be the cooler weather doing that

 

Day 9: a song that you only know about because it was featured on one of the biggest cultural influences of your generationan OC mix

 

Day 10: a song that you used to say you’d play at your wedding until you started questioning if getting married was ever something you would actually want to do and if you did, it probably wouldn’t be the kind of wedding with traditional “wedding dances” anyway

Louise Nealon is the author of the debut novel Snowflake (Harper Books), a #1 International Bestseller. It is the official September pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Nealon is a writer from County Kildare, Ireland. In 2017, she won the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition and was the recipient of the Francis Ledwidge Creative Writing Award. She has been published in the Irish Times, Southword, and The Open Ear. 

Nealon received a degree in English literature from Trinity College Dublin in 2014 and a master’s degree in creative writing from Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. She lives on the dairy farm where she was raised, and Snowflake is her first novel.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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Drenched in the blood of the country’s leader, in a suit that has become iconic in American consciousness, Jackie Kennedy has long stood as a representation of American sorrow, of chaos, and of loss, planted in the silence of mourning. But who is Jackie Kennedy, really? What does it mean to be a woman so embedded in public imagination that your story can be told (and, importantly, mistold) by just about anyone? How can one regain control of a story stolen? The answer, author Caroline Hagood tells us in her novel Ghosts of America, is through haunting: the voices of the past returning to reclaim their stories. Indeed, Ghosts of America tells us that haunting, however fantastical, can be a deeply political act, an act of resistance, a way to rewrite a silenced story.

Rachel Long is the author of the poetry collection My Darling from the Lions, available from Tin House. First published by Picador in the UK, it was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, and was named a Best Poetry Book of 2020 by The Guardian.

 

Long is the founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, which is housed at Southbank Centre in London. My Darling from the Lions is her debut collection. She was born in London, and resides there today.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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Three Sonnets

By Will Stanier

Poetry

 

 

Dark Sonnet

Lucie Elven is the author of the debut novel The Weak Spot, available from Soft Skull Press.

 

Elven has written for publications including The London Review of BooksGranta, and NOON. She is the former deputy editor of The Believer magazine, and The Weak Spot is her first book. She lives in London.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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Today on the podcast, an episode devoted to the life and legacy of the late author, activist, diarist, and digital native Mark Baumer. A new book, The One on Earth: Selected Works of Mark Baumer, is available now from Fence Books. It was edited by Blake Butler and Shane Jones, with a foreword by Claire Donato. Butler, Jones, and Donato are the guests.

 

Born and raised in Durham, Maine, Baumer was a graduate of the MFA program at Brown University, after which he became a web content specialist, a climate activist, and a labor organizer in Providence, RI. A member of the group FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas Convergence), he walked barefoot across America to draw attention to climate change. His work is continued by the Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

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725. Anna Qu

By TNB Editors

Podcasts

Anna Qu is the author of Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor, available from Catapult.

 

 

Qu is a Chinese American writer. She writes personal essays on identity and growing up in New York as an immigrant. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Lithub, Threepenny ReviewLumina, Kartika, Kweli, Vol.1 Brooklyn, and Jezebel, among others. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

She also serves as the Nonfiction Editor at Kweli Journal, and teaches at the low res MFA program at New England College, Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and Catapult. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their cat, Momo.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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Leigh Stein is the guest. Her new poetry collection, What to Miss When, is available from Soft Skull.

 

Stein is the author of five books including the novel Self Care and the poetry collection Dispatch from the Future. She has also written for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, AllureELLEThe CutSalon, and Slate. She is a recipient of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers and The Cut named her poet laureate of The Bachelor.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Photo credit: Brian Jacks Lores.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the novel Savage Tonguesavailable from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

Her previous novel, Call Me Zebrawon the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the John Gardner Award. She was a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree for her debut novel, Fra Keeler, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Paris Review, Guernica, Granta, and BOMB. She splits her time between South Bend, Indiana, and Chicago.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Katie Crouch is the author of the novel Embassy Wife, available from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. It is the official August pick of the TNB Book Club.

 

Crouch is the New York Timesbestselling author of Girls in TrucksMen and Dogs, and Abroad. She has also written essays for The New York TimesGlamourThe GuardianSlateSalon, and Tin House. A former resident of Namibia and San Francisco, Crouch now lives in Vermont with her family and teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

Instagram

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.