Larissa Pham is the author of the memoir-in-essays Pop Song, available from Catapult.

 

Pham is an artist and writer in Brooklyn. Born in Portland, Oregon, she studied painting and art history at Yale University. She has written essays and criticism for the Paris Review DailyThe NationArt in AmericaGuernica, and elsewhere. She was an inaugural Yi Dae Up fellowship recipient from the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She is also the author of Fantasian, a novella.

***

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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Four Poems

By Maria Canzano

Poetry

 

 

FLIES

 

I sit in the kitchen with the back door open 

and the man next door smokes 

he sounds like he could be my uncle 

or maybe one of the men 

who used to play cards below my bedroom window 

and hide from their wives in the summer

 

 

 

STRAWBERRY MARK

 

“the word for key again?” 

“chiave, chiave, chiave” 

to use the bathroom at the beach 

the corner of a spiky house 

the railing where I sat 

and then swung back 

I thought there would be a bump 

when I shaved my head a decade later 

but it was round as an allium flower 

what a funny compliment

Mike DeCapite is the author of the novel Jacket Weather, available from Soft Skull Press.

 

DeCapite’s other books include the novel Through the Windshield, the chapbook Creamsicle Blue, and the short-prose collection Radiant Fog, published under the banner of Sparkle Street Books. Cuz Editions published his story “Sitting Pretty,” later anthologized in The Italian American Reader.

DeCapite grew up in Cleveland and has lived in London and San Francisco, but has spent most of his time in New York City, where he now resides.

***

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.

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Merch

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Below is an excerpt from Adam Soldofsky’s forthcoming novella, Telepaphone, which includes illustrations by Axel Wilhite. Preorder your copy here.

 


 

Before we were friends I used to watch him, half-lovesick, from a distance in art school. The low formation of academic buildings came together in a pavilion with large grassy flights descending onto a shady lawn. Axel would sit near the top only somewhat out of the sun, legs crossed in conversation with a classmate, listening with his chin raised and lips slightly pursed or pulling earnestly from the little vape pen he was never without. He was handsome, dressed cool, was smart and unpretentious and his work was excellent. The faculty knew he was going to be great and we all did too and there was no reason to begrudge him for it though that didn’t stop some. He’d already had a few paintings in a serious group show and it was known that a well-regarded gallerist was awaiting his final portfolio. I loved his work from the first time I encountered it. It was ravishing and self-evident. You knew it was the real thing, and by implication you knew your own work was not, which stung but what could you do? You could still have a career, maybe just not a memorable one.

We didn’t have a class together until our final semester. The professor was a rather important Conceptualist. She would only allow for “description” during crits and under that principle said a lot of cruel and unflattering things without seeming to realize just how cruel and unflattering, which could be funny if you weren’t too far up your own ass, which most of us were, so we suffered when we could have had a laugh. At the end of it we installed our supposed best work in the graduation show hoping for some interest beyond family and friends. I hadn’t said much to Axel all semester except to praise what he brought to crits. I tried not to but sometimes I would look at him across the circle of students where he sat and wonder about him. Every once in a while he would catch me and smile in a friendly way that made me ashamed to have been born. Something was definitely wrong with me. It’s not that I wasn’t liked by my peers. I’ve always had friends and gotten along. I usually gelled with my teammates. I had loved and been loved in return, at least as far as I could tell. It was mainly that, for as long as I could remember, I’d harbored a suspicion that I was basically, at my core, full of shit, and nothing that had transpired in my life thus far had convinced me otherwise. 

 The day when we were supposed to be clearing out our campus studios, I heard a knock at my door and there was Axel Wilhite, leaning in the threshold.

Louise Erdrich is the author of the novel The Sentence, available from Harper.

 
One of America’s most celebrated authors, Erdrich was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Night WatchmanIn 2012, she won the National Book Award for her novel The Round Houseand twice she has been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award, first for her debut novel Love Medicine in 1984, and again for her novel LaRose in 2016.

Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She is the author of many novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore. A ghost lives in her creaky old house.

***

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

www.otherppl.com

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

Marlowe Granados is the author of the debut novel Happy Hour, available from Verso Books.

 

Granados is a writer and filmmaker living in Toronto. She co-hosts The Mean Reds, a podcast dedicated to women-led films. And her advice column, “Designs for Living,” appears in The Baffler.

***

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

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.

Matthew Clark Davison is the author of the debut novel Doubting Thomas, available from Amble Press.

 

Davison is a writer and educator living in San Francisco. He earned a BA and MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, where he now teaches full-time. His prose has been recently anthologized in Empty The Pews and 580-Split, and published in GuernicaThe Atlantic Monthly, Foglifter, Lumina Magazine, Fourteen Hills, Per Contra, Educe, and others; and has been recognized with a Creative Work Grant, (Inaugural Awardee/San Francisco State University), Cultural Equities Grant (San Francisco Arts Commission), the Clark Gross Award for a Novel-in-Progress, and a Stonewall Alumni Award.

***

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.

Emily Ladau is the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally, available from Ten Speed Press.

 

Ladau is an internationally known disability rights activist, writer, and speaker. She is the editor in chief of the Rooted in Rights blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives of the intersectional disability experience. She also co-hosts The Accessible Stall, a podcast about disability issues.

Ladau’s writing has been published in outlets including the New York Times, HuffPost, CNN, Self, Salon, Vice, The Daily Beast, Variety, and Marie Claire Australia. Her work is also included in the Criptiques Anthology and About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times. She has served as an expert source on disability issues for outlets including NPR, Vox, Washington Post, and Teen Vogue, and has been featured in a range of press outlets including Newsday, BuzzFeed, CBS News, and U.S. News & World Report.

A transcript of this interview is available here.

***

Show notes:

The Microsoft videos that Emily references during the interview can be found here.

Other useful resources:

Ableist words and terms to avoid.

2021 working definition of ableism.

***

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

Lucy Corin is the author of The Swank Hotel, available from Graywolf Press. It is the official October pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Corin’s other books include the story collections One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses and The Entire Predicament, and the novel Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Harper’s Magazine, Ploughshares, Bomb, Tin House Magazine, and the New American Stories anthology from Vintage Contemporaries. She is the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize and a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches at the University of California at Davis and lives in Berkeley.

***

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.

Kate Durbin is the author of the poetry collection Hoardersavailable now from Wave Books.

 

Durbin is a Los Angeles-based artist and author of four books of poetry. Her art and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Art Forum, Art in America, The Believer, BOMB, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the international 2017 Turn on Literature Prize for Electronic Literature for her poetry app, Abra.

***

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.

Catherine Raven is the author of the memoir Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendshipavailable from Spiegel and Grau.

 

Raven received her Ph.D. in biology from Montana State University and is a former National Park Ranger at Glacier, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Voyageurs, and Yellowstone National Parks. Her natural history essays have appeared in American Scientist, Journal of American Mensa, and Montana Magazine. She is currently an Assistant Program Director and Professor at South University in Savannah, Georgia.

***

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.

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

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.

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

@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.

 

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

Instagram

YouTube

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

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