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Between The Covers : Conversations with Writers in Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry podcast

Between The Covers : Conversations with Writers in Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry

BOOKS ∙ WORKSHOPS ∙ PODCAST

BOOKS ∙ WORKSHOPS ∙ PODCAST

 

#246

Ama Codjoe : Bluest Nude

“On Seeing and Being Seen” is the title of an Ama Codjoe poem but it could just as easily be a description of her debut collection Bluest Nude as a whole. Bluest Nude is a book that engages with ways of seeing, and its poems often engage with visual art—poems that look at art forms made outside of language but with language, poems that look at how artists look when making art. But more principally Bluest Nude is engaged with looking at how the Black female figure has been (mis)represented in art and asking how a Black female poet can write a poetry that claims a sovereign point of view, that reclaims a Black female subjectivity much as Lorraine O’Grady and Simone Leigh, two of the artists she engages with in her collection, have done in their own work in performance and visual art. These questions of how we see and how we are seen, both by others and by ourselves, call into question notions of selfhood, and the mysteries of how we construct a self, something that only happens in engagement with others, how they see us, how we see them seeing us. For the bonus audio archive Ama Codjoe presents us with three different strategies to write ekphrastic poetry, poetry that engages with visual art. And much like Dionne Brand did when she contributed readings of forthcoming work from 2023 books by Canisia Lubrin and Christina Sharpe, Ama first reads and discusses a poem by Evie Shockley from her forthcoming collection suddenly we, then she reads one of her own poems, and finally she ends with a long poem by Terrance Hayes from his forthcoming collection So to Speak. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the many other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener supporter head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) to check it all out. Here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-for-ama-codjoe-conversation) for today’s episode. The post [Ama Codjoe : Bluest Nude] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/ama-codjoe-bluest-nude/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

20 Nov 2022

2 HR 12 MINS

2:12:55

20 Nov 2022


#245

Crafting with Ursula : Gabrielle Bellot on The Power of Names & Naming

Writer and editor Gabrielle Bellot joins Crafting with Ursula to discuss the power of names and naming across Le Guin’s work. From the very beginning, with Ged in Earthsea, a boy-wizard who is named in three very different ways, names have contained both power and an elusive mysterious quality for Le Guin. The ways names can both honor, connect, and reflect something true, or reduce, dismiss, and cause harm speak to deep questions about both language and identity. These are topics Bellot explores in her own writing, both about others—from Edward Gorey to Neil Gaiman, James Baldwin to J.K. Rowling—as well as about her own identity as a multiracial transgender writer from the Commonwealth of Dominica. We take Le Guin’s interest in class, gender, and race down to the level of the sentence and look at the many different ways she has explored names and naming across novels and stories as a means within language to both address the world and listen to it, to both hear the world and speak a new world into being. Today’s episode of Crafting with Ursula might be most in conversation with [the first episode] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-becky-chambers-creating-aliens-alien-cultures/) of the series with Becky Chambers, on creating aliens and alien cultures. For one, we return again to explore the world of The Left Hand of Darkness, but we also return to vital questions, as writers, and simply as people, around the importance of how we describe “the other,” “the stranger,” the person or being who we feel is not like ourselves, and what that description, what the names and words we choose, say about us. If you enjoy today’s conversation, and Crafting with Ursula more generally, consider joining the community of listener-supporters. You can check out all the many potential benefits of doing so at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) .  Finally here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-for-gabrielle-bellot-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) for today’s episode. The post [Crafting with Ursula : Gabrielle Bellot on The Power of Names & Naming] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-gabrielle-bellot-on-the-power-of-names-naming/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Nov 2022

2 HR 35 MINS

2:35:25

10 Nov 2022


#244

Hélène Cixous : Well-Kept Ruins

Today’s guest is poet, novelist, playwright, feminist theorist, literary critic, and philosopher Hélène Cixous. Perhaps best known for her iconic 1976 essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Cixous thought for much of her writing life that she would never write about her birthplace and childhood in Algeria, that she would never write about her mother, that she would never write about, let alone go to, the German town of Osnabrück from which her mother and mother’s mother escaped (to Algeria) before the town’s entire Jewish population were murdered. But in the last thirty years, to her surprise, these have increasingly become the topics of her work. First writing about and returning to Algeria, and then, in the last twenty years, writing an increasing number of remarkable books about Osnabrück, her mother’s life there, her mother’s return to that city, Cixous’ “return” to it, as well as about her mother’s ultimate expulsion, the second of her life, now from Algeria. We focus today on two of these books, these novel-memoirs: Well-Kept Ruins and Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem. This strain of Cixous’ work, her novel-memoirs, are not books of autofiction like we’ve come to know them. Yes, they blur the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction but they are as concerned with the borderlands between the conscious and unconscious, waking life and dreams, between history and memory, and literature, imagination and experience, where the present moment in one of these narratives is likely to be inhabited, at the same time, by the seen, the imagined, the dead, and the literature one has read. In her latest book Cixous describes writing as a form of archaeology, historical and literary and ancestral, yes, but I think we could say it is also a psychological archaeology as well, a relation of the writer to her writing and herself. Today’s contribution to the bonus audio archive is a long-form conversation with Cixous’ longstanding translator Beverley Bie Brahic. It is an in-depth conversation about the pleasures and challenges of translating Cixous’ work that also, additionally, further illuminates Cixous as a person and writer, adding further texture and nuance to the main conversation with Hélène. To learn how to get access to the bonus audio and the other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Finally here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-for-helene-cixous-conversation) for today’s episode. The post [Hélène Cixous : Well-Kept Ruins] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/helene-cixous-well-kept-ruins/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Nov 2022

1 HR 29 MINS

1:29:37

01 Nov 2022


#243

Billy-Ray Belcourt : A Minor Chorus

Poet Billy-Ray Belcourt has already transformed the memoir form, remaking it—strange, fresh, and new, in A History of My Brief Body. He does something similarly unexpected with his first novel, A Minor Chorus. Deeply aware of the history of the novel, of the sociopolitical forces that shaped what we consider a novel today, a form whose limitations, according to Belcourt, can’t accommodate the reality of an indigenous queer life, this novel is both about the searching for a new form (and a new way of living) and a very example of it. Scholarly and sexual, joyful and citational, embodied and theoretical, A Minor Chorus is somehow a polyvocal narrative of self-making (and unmaking), written for the future, that arrives to us, a new form, as if from the future. If you enjoy today’s conversation consider joining the Between the Covers community of listener-supporters. Receive the resource-rich email with each episode, participate in the collective brainstorm of who to invite in the future, and check out the many possible gifts and rewards at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-billy-ray-belcourt-conversation) with all of Belcourt’s books and most of the books mentioned today, from Saidiya Hartman to José Esteban Muñoz to Judith Butler. The post [Billy-Ray Belcourt : A Minor Chorus] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/billy-ray-belcourt-a-minor-chorus/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

19 Oct 2022

1 HR 42 MINS

1:42:54

19 Oct 2022


#242

Crafting with Ursula : Maria Dahvana Headley on Feminist Translation & Classical Retellings

One of Le Guin’s lesser known but lifelong practices was that of a translator. Her translations of the first Latin American Nobel Prize Laureate in literature (and the only Latin American woman to receive the award), Gabriela Mistral, were the first truly substantive presentations of her work in both English and Spanish. She’s translated other poets and novelists from Chile and Argentina (Angélica Gorodischer, Diana Bellessi), as well as individual poems by Rilke and Goethe. And for many decades she worked on her now much beloved rendition of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Le Guin also reread the Aeneid in Latin as part of her preparation to write her final novel, Lavinia, Le Guin’s retelling of that classic epic of Virgil’s but from the point of view of a voiceless woman in the original. There were many feminist choices and considerations that went into both how Le Guin translated and who she chose to translate. That is also true of today’s guest Maria Dahvana Headley who has done both a contemporary feminist retelling of Beowulf in her novel The Mere Wife and who has also translated, to much critical and public acclaim, Beowulf itself, engaging with both the masculinity in the original and the misogyny inserted by various male translators over the centuries. She, like Le Guin, has also engaged with the Aeneid. Her ten-part musical adaptation of the epic is forthcoming. Together, we look at questions of feminist translation in both Maria and Ursula’s work and explore multiple theories on why Le Guin’s novels inspire many of today’s woman writers engaging with classical texts. If you enjoyed today’s conversation consider joining the Between the Covers/Crafting with Ursula community by becoming a listener-supporter of the show. Receive resource-rich emails with each episode, joining the collective brainstorm of who to invite in the future, and choose from a wide and deep selection of potential rewards and gifts, including rare Le Guin collectibles. Check it all out at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Finally here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-maria-dahvana-headley-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) . The post [Crafting with Ursula : Maria Dahvana Headley on Feminist Translation & Classical Retellings] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-maria-dahvana-headley-on-feminist-translation-classical-retellings/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Oct 2022

2 HR 08 MINS

2:08:49

10 Oct 2022


#241

Dionne Brand : Nomenclature — New and Collected Poems

Today’s guest Dionne Brand, to borrow the words of John Keene, “is without question one of the major living poets in the English language.” Kamau Brathwaite called Brand “our first major exile female poet.” Adrienne Rich described her as “a cultural critic of uncompromising courage, an artist in language and ideas, and an intellectual conscience for her country.” Dionne Brand is, as well, a celebrated and beloved novelist, essayist, filmmaker, editor, activist, and thinker. But today, with the release of the landmark work Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems, which gathers eight volumes of her poetry between 1982 and 2010, and includes a new book-length poem never before published, today we center her poetry, and look at why she considers herself a poet first and foremost. What does stepping back together, and looking at her body of work across the decades, tell us about her poetry over time? How is time itself related to her deep engagement with Black life and liberation in her writing? How does Brand employ language as a means to gesture toward an otherwise, an elsewhere, in order to both write toward a future and from a future time? For the bonus audio archive Dionne Brand contributes readings from two of the most-anticipated releases of 2023, a reading from poet Canisia Lubrin’s fiction debut Code Noir and a reading from Christina Sharpe’s Ordinary Notes. This joins a robust archive of supplemental material from Nikky Finney reading from Lorraine Hansberry’s diaries to Myriam Chancy reading and teaching from a passage of Jamaica Kincaid’s to a craft talk on the art of narrative seduction by Marlon James. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Finally here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-for-dionne-brand-conversation) . The post [Dionne Brand : Nomenclature — New and Collected Poems] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/dionne-brand-nomenclature-new-and-collected-poems/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Oct 2022

2 HR 41 MINS

2:41:08

01 Oct 2022


#240

Elaine Castillo : How to Read Now

“White supremacy makes for terrible readers” says today’s guest Elaine Castillo, arguing that we are all overeducated in a set of fundamentally terrible reading techniques, ones that impoverish us as readers and thinkers, ones that diminish the availability of meaning and meaningfulness in our lives. When Castillo says “read,” and suggests that how we read needs a reevaluation, she is indeed talking about books. But not only. “How to read” extends to what we watch—television, movies, the news—to how we read our histories, and ultimately to how we read the world. What if we aren’t really reading in the true sense at all? And what would a real reading practice, one that is not extractive but one that itself endows meaning, what would it do for us as readers, or as writers or art-makers or activists, and most importantly, as thinking and feeling people in the world? Join Elaine Castillo as she challenges us to re-vision reading. If you enjoy today’s conversation consider joining the Between the Covers community. Every supporter, regardless of level of support, gets resource-rich emails with each episode, and can participate in our collective brainstorm around what future guests we should invite on the show. There are also a wealth of gifts, rare collectibles, the bonus audio archive, and more available to choose from.  You can check it all out at the show’s [Patreon] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) page. Here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-elaine-castillo-conversation) too. The post [Elaine Castillo : How to Read Now] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/elaine-castillo-how-to-read-now/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

18 Sep 2022

2 HR 48 MINS

2:48:34

18 Sep 2022


#239

Crafting with Ursula : Lidia Yuknavitch on The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction

Today’s conversation is about one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s most iconic and influential essays: The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, an essay that deserves an entire episode to itself. And who better to discuss it than Lidia Yuknavitch, whose latest novel Thrust follows a character who herself is a “carrier.” Because this essay has influenced not only an incredible number of  writers but anthropologists, visual artists, filmmakers, performance artists, scholars, and musicians as well, we weave in the voices of others, across disciplines, as we talk about and unpack this work of Le Guin’s. The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction interrogates questions of labor and economy, and interrogates gender in relation to inherited story forms, and looks at the power of story, both to tell and to silence. Le Guin’s essay is her way to reimagine the shape of a story, to dethrone the hero to allow many less familiar and stranger stories to find their way. And she invites us all in to figure it out with her. If you enjoy the Crafting with Ursula series consider transforming yourself from a listener to a listener-supporter. Every supporter gets a resource-rich email with each episode chock full of things referenced in the conversation and things discovered in preparing for it. But there are a ton of other goodies, from rare Le Guin collectibles to the book Ursula and I did together, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, and much more. You can check it all out at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . And lastly, here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-lidia-yuknavitch-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) . The post [Crafting with Ursula : Lidia Yuknavitch on The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-lidia-yuknavitch-on-the-carrier-bag-theory-of-fiction/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

08 Sep 2022

1 HR 41 MINS

1:41:02

08 Sep 2022


#238

Claire Schwartz : Civil Service

Claire Schwartz’ poetry collection Civil Service looks at the ways ordinary, everyday actions uphold and sustain state violence, the ways civility can and does serve extraordinary atrocities. The world of this collection, populated by civil positions—The Accountant, The Archivist, The Curator, The Intern—also has within it a fugitive voice, a disruptive voice, the voice of Amira. Her voice, if not beyond language, nevertheless reaches to its edges, reaches beyond the dominant meaning-making of the system that precludes her, reaches toward and imagines an elsewhere and an otherwise. Our conversation ranges widely, weaving Claire’s thoughts on her own work with the writings of Paul Celan, June Jordan, Gwendolyn Brooks, Edmond Jabès, Dionne Brand, and many others. All in service of asking what it means to write poetry towards love and revolution. Claire also contributes a reading of Edmond Jabès to the bonus audio archive. Joining an ever-growing wealth of supplemental material, from Alice Oswald reading from the Book of Job to Jen Bervin reading from the letters and prose of Paul Celan and then one of her poems under his influence. The bonus audio is only one of many potential rewards of becoming a listener-supporter and joining the Between the Covers community. You can check out everything at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Lastly, here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-claire-schwartz-conversation) for today’s conversation The post [Claire Schwartz : Civil Service] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/claire-schwartz-civil-service/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Sep 2022

2 HR 06 MINS

2:06:11

01 Sep 2022


#237

Morgan Talty : Night of the Living Rez

Morgan Talty’s collection of linked short stories is set on the Penobscot Reservation on Indian Island in Maine. But Morgan is quick to point out that these stories are not Penobscot stories in so far as they do not ‘represent’ the Penobscot people, that even people who are praising the book are often falling into this trope of “exoticized foreknowledge.” As we talk about his acclaimed debut fiction collection, we talk about this term (coined by David Treuer), about the problematic ways people often come to literature written by Native Americans, and the ways Talty himself subverts these expectations. We talk about symbols in stories, about the challenges of being the sole well-known Penobscot fiction writer, about writing in a way that does not perform indigeneity for the white gaze and much more. For the bonus audio archive Morgan contributes a reading of his essay “The Citizenship Question : We the People” which extends our discussion from the main conversation about blood quantum, Native identity, and questions of belonging. This joins an ever-growing archive of supplementary bonus audio, including from indigenous writers Terese Marie Mailhot, Elissa Washuta, Brandon Hobson, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, and Jake Skeets, among many others. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio archive and about the many other potential rewards and benefits of joining the community of Between the Covers listeners-supporters, head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Lastly, here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-morgan-talty-conversation) for today’s episode. The post [Morgan Talty : Night of the Living Rez] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/morgan-talty-night-of-the-living-rez/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

20 Aug 2022

2 HR 08 MINS

2:08:13

20 Aug 2022


#236

Crafting with Ursula : Julie Phillips on the Writing Mother

Ursula K. Le Guin’s biographer, Julie Phillips, joins “Crafting with Ursula” to talk about the writing mother, how Le Guin’s embrace of both writing and motherhood influenced her engagement with feminism, as well as with story form, and ultimately how it prompted her to develop a philosophical framework from which to re-vision her own work going forward. Julie is not only the perfect guest to discuss this because of the regular conversations she had with Le Guin over the years, but also because she is the author of The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood and the Mind-Baby Problem. This book looks at six writing mothers, from Audre Lorde to Doris Lessing to Angela Carter to Ursula herself, and how they each navigated becoming and defending a life as both a writer and as a mother. If you enjoyed today’s conversation consider becoming a supporter of the show. There are many potential rewards and benefits of doing so, from resource-rich emails with each episode, to bonus audio from past guests, everyone from N.K. Jemisin to Ted Chiang, to rare Le Guin collectibles. You can check it all out at the show’s [Patreon page.] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) Finally here is today’s conversation’s [Bookshop.] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-julie-phillips-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) The post [Crafting with Ursula : Julie Phillips on the Writing Mother] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-julie-phillips-on-the-writing-mother/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Aug 2022

1 HR 56 MINS

1:56:12

10 Aug 2022


#235

Daniel Mendelsohn : Three Rings — A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate

Daniel Mendelsohn’s latest book you could say is about digression and about ring composition, a form of storytelling with digression at its heart. And yet this book, about digression, is not only his shortest and most concise, a mere 112 pages, but also somehow contains all the concerns of his previous books and much more, distilled down into a tight hypnotic spiral. A book about Homer and the Hebrew Bible, about the Odyssey and the Holocaust, about forced migration, exile, and unexpected hospitality, about Proust, Sebald, Auerbach, Fénelon and many others lost to history. But ultimately it is about representation and narrative. Of how best to represent something in a way that feels most true, whether when telling a story, performing a play, building a monument, or creating a memorial. Three Rings is as much a meditation on art-making and writing as it is a meditation on memory and remembering; the mysteries of both, and also the thorny political and ethical questions that arise when choosing to represent reality in one way or another. A conversation rich with references, you can find many of the books mentioned in today’s conversation at the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-daniel-mendelsohn-conversation) for today’s episode. If you enjoyed today’s conversation, help ensure the future of in-depth conversations just like this by becoming a part of the Between the Covers listener-supporter community. Find out all the potential rewards and benefits of doing so at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . The post [Daniel Mendelsohn : Three Rings — A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/daniel-mendelsohn-three-rings-a-tale-of-exile-narrative-and-fate/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Aug 2022

2 HR 24 MINS

2:24:06

01 Aug 2022


#234

Vauhini Vara : The Immortal King Rao

The Immortal King Rao is somehow three narratives in one, a historical novel set within a Dalit community in 1950s India, a near-future tech dystopia on the islands of the Puget Sound near Seattle, and an immigration story from the former to the latter. As a technology reporter herself, Vauhini Vara is interested in artificial intelligence in relation to writing and narrative, and she has found an ingenious tech-assisted point of view to tell this story of India and the United States, of caste and capitalism, of corporate governance and the anarchist resistance to it, in the most novel of ways. This may be the only podcast you listen to this year where pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, the longest word in the dictionary, is spoken. Surely it is the only one that looks at everything from artificial intelligence to anarchism, Ambedkar to Gandhi, global capitalisms to global feminisms, and questions of representation, diversity, and erasure within everything from technology itself to whose stories get published and read. During today’s conversation Vauhini mentions many books by Dalit authors (as well as books about Taoism and anarchism and capitalism) and we’ve collected many of them in today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-vauhini-vara-conversation) . Vauhini’s contribution to the bonus audio archive is also of note. She reads from and discusses her award-winning essay “Ghosts,” which engages with an artificial intelligence called GPT-3. Vara believes it is a technology that could be useful for writers that are having trouble finding the language for something that defies words, much as her engagement with GPT-3 helps her find a way into the grief she felt about losing her sister, something until then she had been unable to write into. This joins bonus audio from so many others: from Viet Thanh Nguyen reading and discussing Maxine Hong Kingston to Ted Chiang reading his essay on why Silicon Valley fears super-intelligent A.I.  You can find out more about subscribing to the bonus audio and about the many other potential rewards and benefits of becoming a listener-supporter and joining the Between the Covers community at the show’s [Patreon page.] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) The post [Vauhini Vara : The Immortal King Rao] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/vauhini-vara-the-immortal-king-rao/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

20 Jul 2022

1 HR 59 MINS

1:59:45

20 Jul 2022


#233

Crafting with Ursula : William Alexander on Writing for Children

“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by them,” says Ursula K. Le Guin. “From within.” This is just one of many quotes that arise from Le Guin’s high regard for the child reader and for the unique intelligence of children. Her philosophy around the importance of the imagination and of imaginative fiction is also rooted in this regard for children. Le Guin’s respect for their unique intelligence, on its own terms, connects to many of her other concerns as well, whether ecological, political, cosmological, or literary. So we are lucky today to have National Book Award–winning children’s author William Alexander on Crafting with Ursula. Le Guin not only held his work in high regard, but they reviewed each other, became friends, and corresponded. Alexander himself has thought deeply about the longstanding fear of the imagination, and how it is playing out today, whether in schools, with the battles for what is considered acceptable literature or acceptable history to teach, or in relation to “the other,” the fear of the stranger, the fear of the nonhuman, the fear of that which is both real and true and something we can’t understand. For the bonus audio archive Will contributes a description of his playful and theatrical writing exercise called “Smoke.” An associative nonlinear technique, “Smoke” is something he uses to either create or develop characters in his stories to help them come alive on the page. This joins bonus audio from many past guests, from Daniel José Older and Ted Chiang to Carmen Maria Machado and N. K. Jemisin. You can find out how to subscribe to the bonus audio and check out all the other potential rewards of becoming a listener-supporter, from Le Guin collectibles to becoming an early reader for Tin House, receiving twelve books over the course of a year months before they are available to the general public, at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Finally, here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-william-alexander-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) for today’s episode, including the books discussed today by both Le Guin and Alexander. The post [Crafting with Ursula : William Alexander on Writing for Children] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-william-alexander-on-writing-for-children/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Jul 2022

2 HR 12 MINS

2:12:23

10 Jul 2022


#232

Hernan Diaz : Trust

Hernan Diaz’s debut novel In the Distance went on to become not only one of the great debuts of the year, but a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and the PEN/Faulkner award. His follow-up Trust is also a book that engages with and interrogates the stories that the United States tells about itself and the mythologies it creates, but this time focusing not on the Western frontier but rather on the accumulation of capital and the mythos of money. But Trust is really about the contract between reader and writer, fiction’s relationship to truth and history, and the way the “reality” of what really happened is often built upon the erasure of certain voices. Trust is a marvel of both form and voice. It is a nested puzzle that requires the reader to be a textual detective, and yet, at the same time, remains a compulsive, immersive reading experience. Somehow the book is able to shift styles—from that of Edith Wharton or Henry James to that of Jean Rhys or Virginia Woolf—and not only remain a cohesive project but deepen as it sheds one skin and assumes another. If you enjoy today’s deep dive with Hernan Diaz consider joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter. There are many benefits and rewards for doing so.  Check them all out at the show’s [Patreon] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) page. Lastly, here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-hernan-diaz-conversation) with all of the books mentioned today. The post [Hernan Diaz : Trust] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/hernan-diaz-trust/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Jul 2022

2 HR 24 MINS

2:24:56

01 Jul 2022


#231

Rae Armantrout : Finalists

The first time Rae Armantrout came on the show, in 2017, we looked at her poetry through the lens of her interest in quantum physics. Now, five years later, with the release of this double collection of poems, we look at her career-long desire to cultivate a poetics that encourages life to interrupt and interject within her poems, to disrupt what her constructing mind desires to write and change the poem’s trajectory. We look at this approach, and the resulting poems, through another of Rae’s longstanding interests: cognitive science, not only how we perceive or think, but how we construct meaning and to what end. This takes us many places, from anthropology to philosophy, but always returns us to the mysteries of language and language-making and to questions of selfhood, voice, and truth. For the bonus audio archive Rae contributes a reading of many poems from her  just-finished manuscript, giving us an early sneak peek of what is coming next for her. This joins bonus readings from Jorie Graham, Alice Oswald, Rosmarie Waldrop, Nikky Finney, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, Forrest Gander, Arthur Sze, and many others.  The bonus audio is only one potential benefit of becoming a supporter of the show and joining the Between the Covers community. There are many other gifts and rewards to choose from, all of which you can find at the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Lastly here is this episode’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-rae-armantrout-conversation) with all the books mentioned today. The post [Rae Armantrout : Finalists] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/rae-armantrout-finalists/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

19 Jun 2022

1 HR 53 MINS

1:53:43

19 Jun 2022


#230

Crafting with Ursula : Kim Stanley Robinson on Ambiguous Utopias

Today’s guest, Kim Stanley Robinson, is perhaps the living writer most associated with utopian literature today. And as a student of the philosopher, political theorist, and literary critic Fredric Jameson, Robinson has thought deeply about the history of utopias, the history of the novel, and the strange hybrid form that became the utopian novel. In his mind it was Ursula K. Le Guin who wrote the first truly great utopian novel. We discuss Le Guin’s utopian work alongside his, and contextualize her importance historically. Robinson also shares some incredible anecdotes from his time in the 70s as her student and the ways their lives as fellow writers have intersected over the decades. What is a utopian novel? What is an ambiguous utopia? And why has this genre become a particularly vital form and even a critical tool of the human imagination today? Listen in to find out. And if you enjoy this series consider transforming yourself from a listener into a listener-supporter. Head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) to check out all the potential rewards and benefits of doing so, from rare Le Guin collectibles to bonus audio from SFF luminaries. Lastly, here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-kim-stanley-robinson-s-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) for today’s episode which contains many of the books and stories discussed today. The post [Crafting with Ursula : Kim Stanley Robinson on Ambiguous Utopias] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-kim-stanley-robinson-on-ambiguous-utopias/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Jun 2022

1 HR 59 MINS

1:59:49

10 Jun 2022


#229

Courtney Maum — The Year of the Horses

Courtney Maum’s latest book, her memoir The Year of the Horses, is about a writer at a rough point in her writing career, in her marriage, as a mother, as a woman, finding a way back to herself in all of these spheres by learning to listen and communicate, outside of language, to another species. What are the therapeutic benefits of learning to be with a horse of all creatures, an animal that is not geared towards comforting us or aiming to please? Why do anxious or traumatized people find help by being with an anxious animal?  And what can a person like Courtney, whose life is word-centric, as a language maker, a writer, bring back to language when returning to the desk from the barn? We discuss these questions, but we also unpack issues of gender and misogyny with regards to how memoir writing is framed, and talk about the status of women and animals in the world of writing and the world of riding both. Lastly, because Courtney is a writing teacher, a writing coach, and the author of Before and After the Book Deal, we talk about agents and editors, drafting and revision, and about useful tips and techniques to take one’s abundance of life material and shape it into story.  For the bonus audio archive Courtney contributes a discussion of an essay by poet, essayist, and psychoanalyst Nuar Alsadir. This joins bonus readings from everyone from Ada Limón to Teju Cole, Sheila Heti to Victoria Chang. To find out how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the many other potential benefits of becoming a supporter of the show head over to the Between the Covers [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-courtney-maum-conversation) for today’s conversation with all the books mentioned today. The post [Courtney Maum — The Year of the Horses] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/courtney-maum-the-year-of-the-horses/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Jun 2022

2 HR 21 MINS

2:21:32

01 Jun 2022


#228

Ada Limón : The Hurting Kind

Today’s guest Ada Limón discusses her latest collection of poetry, The Hurting Kind, whose poems ask and explore what it means to be a human animal among animals, and how language can be a means or an obstacle to this desire. We talk about the relationship of joy to death, poetry to praise, and the desire to and challenges of writing with directness, with an aim to connect. We look at the trajectory of Ada’s poetics, one she describes as getting closer and closer to who she really is, and what it means, in language and on the page, to aim for authenticity, for the “I” in your poems to really be, or aim to be, you. We also talk about pizza, groundhogs, and the Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik (and I make an improbable connection between the three!). Pizarnik is a big part of our conversation and for the bonus audio archive, Ada contributes a reading of some Pizarnik poems that she particularly loves. To learn more about how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the other potential benefits and rewards of becoming a supporter of the show, head over to the Between the Covers [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Lastly, here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-ada-limon-conversation) for today’s episode, with all the books mentioned. The post [Ada Limón : The Hurting Kind] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/ada-limon-the-hurting-kind/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

20 May 2022

2 HR 23 MINS

2:23:34

20 May 2022


#227

Crafting with Ursula : adrienne maree brown on Social Justice & Science Fiction

Today’s conversation with adrienne maree brown begins with the notion that all organizing is science fiction, and thus that social justice and science fiction are intricately linked imaginative acts, acts that have real effects in the world at large. brown looks at works by Le Guin that she considers foundational texts for activists and organizers, and discusses what it means to do the work of imagination, as well as the dangers of not doing that work, of living within a world imagined by others, people who might not fully imagine you. Many of adrienne’s concepts, from ‘emergent strategy’ to ‘fractal responsibility,’ are linked to everything from Le Guin’s interest in anarchism to their shared interest in Taoism. If you enjoyed today’s conversation consider becoming a supporter of the show. Check out all the possible rewards and benefits of doing so, from rare Le Guin collectibles to access to bonus audio by Ted Chiang to N.K. Jemisin, to becoming an early reader for Tin House, receiving books months before they are available to the general public by going to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Lastly, here is today’s [Bookshop,] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-adrienne-maree-brown-s-crafting-with-ursula-conversation) which contains the books by Le Guin mentioned today and many of adrienne’s books, from her debut novel Grievers to her books on social activism to the anthology she coedited, Octavia’s Brood. The post [Crafting with Ursula : adrienne maree brown on Social Justice & Science Fiction] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-adrienne-maree-brown-on-social-justice-science-fiction/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 May 2022

2 HR 38 MINS

2:38:39

10 May 2022


#226

Cristina Rivera Garza : New and Selected Stories

Cristina Rivera Garza returns to the show to discuss her New and Selected Stories, which gathers together fiction across thirty years of her writing life. Some are stories translated into English for the first time. Others are stories in English that haven’t yet appeared in Spanish. Still others are new versions, rewritten, retranslated or both. We talk about her lifelong interest in troubling the borders between these two languages, Spanish and English, and the borders between Mexico and the United States, even between writer and translator. But Cristina also undermines the borders of selfhood and identity in such uncanny ways, ways that have implications around gender and the status of women, and around nature and the status of the nonhuman other. In addition we look at some of her more scholarly work on “necrowriting” (writing with the dead) and what it means to have a writing practice of “disappropriation,” one that returns writing to its plural form. Today’s bonus audio is a long-form conversation with Cristina’s longtime translator Sarah Booker. Among the many things we discuss is the unique fashion in which Cristina and Sarah write and rewrite, translate and retranslate each other’s work, a horizontal relationship that redefines authorship and is informed for both of them by a feminist ethics. To learn more about how to subscribe to the bonus audio and to check out the many other potential benefits and rewards of joining the Between the Covers community as a supporter, head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Finally, here is this episode’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-cristina-rivera-garza-conversation) . The post [Cristina Rivera Garza : New and Selected Stories] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/cristina-rivera-garza-new-and-selected-stories/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 May 2022

2 HR 12 MINS

2:12:28

01 May 2022


#225

Caren Beilin : Revenge of the Scapegoat

Today’s guest, Caren Beilin, talks about her latest novel Revenge of the Scapegoat. All four of her books—two nonfiction, two fiction—each stand alone but they each also share recognizable people/characters that travel across books and across genre. How do the fictional versions of the real people in her life—her partner, her parents, her siblings, her friends—relate to their “real selves” and how does this spilling over from one book to the next help Caren engage with shared questions that animate them all? We talk about what it means to write prose with a disability poetics, about pain’s relationship to form, about the unruly body and body humor, and about creating stories that interrogate and undermine destructive systems, from medical and institutional gaslighting to ‘the scapegoat mechanism,’ to the dynamics of the family unit itself. We also talk about sentences, about the pleasure and power of knots of language, as a site for expression, rebellion, and even liberation. For the bonus audio archive, Caren discusses and reads from Flaubert’s final, unfinished novel Bouvard et Pécuchet, the novel whose two grumpy old men, Bouvard and Pécuchet, Caren’s most recent protagonist names her two painful, arthritic feet after. To find out how to subscribe to the bonus audio and to check out all the other potential benefits of becoming a listener-supporter of the show (including a limited number of signed copies of Caren’s Blackfishing the IUD) head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . And finally here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-caren-beilin-conversation/) which contains many of the books mentioned today (from those by Sheila Heti, Gustave Flaubert, and René Girard to those by Beilin herself). The post [Caren Beilin : Revenge of the Scapegoat] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/caren-beilin-revenge-of-the-scapegoat/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

20 Apr 2022

2 HR 50 MINS

2:50:45

20 Apr 2022


#224

Crafting with Ursula : Karen Joy Fowler on Experimental Women, Animals, Science & Story

Today’s guest on Crafting with Ursula, the award-winning writer of science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction Karen Joy Fowler, was a longstanding friend of Ursula K. Le Guin. And they both shared a deep interest not only in science, but also in raising questions about the biases deeply embedded in the way we conduct it (species biases, cultural biases, gender biases, etc.). These questions about science enter and animate their stories, stories that examine the foundations of species supremacy, of how we define intelligence (and why), of what qualities we want to reserve and defend as human or humane, of the implications on both animals and women when we feminize certain approaches to knowledge and inquiry and then discount them. This is a great complement to the last Crafting with Ursula with Isaac Yuen, both deeply engaged with questions of the human and nonhuman in storytelling, and yet these two conversations go to very different, if kindred, places. If you enjoyed today’s conversation consider transforming from a listener to a listener supporter of the show. Join the collective brainstorm of who to invite on the show going forward, get the supplementary resources that go out to supporters with each episode, and check out the other potential rewards of doing so, from rare Le Guin collectibles to bonus readings from everyone from N. K. Jemisin to Ted Chiang, at the show’s [Patreon page.] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) Finally here is today’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-karen-joy-fowler-s-crafting-with-ursula-conversation/) with many of the books by Le Guin, Fowler, and others mentioned during the conversation. The post [Crafting with Ursula : Karen Joy Fowler on Experimental Women, Animals, Science & Story] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-karen-joy-fowler-on-experimental-women-animals-science-story/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Apr 2022

1 HR 55 MINS

1:55:05

10 Apr 2022


#223

Sheila Heti : Pure Colour

Sheila Heti returns to Between the Covers to discuss her latest unclassifiable novel Pure Colour. When something happens in your life that upends everything you thought you knew, that changes what you notice and value, something that is hard, if not impossible, to put into language, that mystifies you even now, how do you find a new form to reflect this? We discuss what it is to write books influenced less by other books than by other art forms (what does it mean to try to write more like a painter paints or sculptor sculpts?), about the role of criticism and inviting other writers into the process of a book becoming itself, about the art critic characters in her new book that are imagining a future world better than this one, and much more. For the bonus audio archive Heti discusses and reads from her serialized Oulipian project, taking her diary entries from the past ten years and alphabetizing the sentences (this joins a previous contribution by Sheila, a reading of her essay “My Life is a Joke”). To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio and about the many other potential benefits and rewards of joining the community of Between the Covers supporters, head over to the show’s [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . Finally here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-sheila-heti-conversation/) for today’s episode with many of the books mentioned. The post [Sheila Heti : Pure Colour] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/sheila-heti-pure-colour/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

01 Apr 2022

1 HR 31 MINS

1:31:50

01 Apr 2022


#222

Alejandro Zambra : Chilean Poet

Today’s guest is Chilean novelist, essayist, literary critic, and poet Alejandro Zambra, talking about his latest novel Chilean Poet, a novel brimming over with, yes, Chilean poets and poems, but also with love and laughter, artistic dreams and failures, and the desire to find language for things deeply felt that have no name. This conversation, one about everything from writing itself to translation, cats to parenthood, Mexico to Chile, Roberto Bolaño to Nicanor Parra, and poetry to prose, is ultimately one wondrous love letter to literature, those who make it and those who read it. Whenever a guest comes on the show for a book they wrote in another language than English, I try to do a second long-form conversation with the translator for the bonus audio archive. The bonus audio (one of the potential benefits of becoming a listener-supporter of the show) is full of a wide variety of supplemental material (from readings to craft talks) but the most robust material, often hour-long conversations, are these conversations with translators. These include Sophie Hughes (translating Fernanda Melchor), Kurt Beals (translating Jenny Erpenbeck), Suzanne Jill Levine (translating Cristina Rivera Garza), and Emma Ramadan (translating Abdellah Taïa). Today’s translator conversation is with Megan McDowell, who has translated Alejandro since his 2nd book and who translates many other South American writing luminaries (e.g. Samanta Schweblin and Mariana Enriquez).  To learn more about the potential benefits of becoming a supporter of the show, including the bonus audio, head over to the Between the Covers [Patreon] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) page. And here is the [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-alejandro-zambra-conversation/) for today’s conversation with many of the books mentioned during it. The post [Alejandro Zambra : Chilean Poet] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/alejandro-zambra-chilean-poet/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

20 Mar 2022

2 HR 33 MINS

2:33:38

20 Mar 2022


#221

Crafting with Ursula : Isaac Yuen on Writing Nature & Nature Writing

Today’s “Crafting with Ursula,” a conversation with nature writer Isaac Yuen, explores Le Guin’s writing of the nonhuman other in her fiction. Why might we consider decentering the human within our stories and how do we do so? How does one evoke a truly alien intelligence (i.e. that of a plant or an insect) but using human language for a human readership? Looking closely at three of Le Guin’s short fictions, “The Direction of the Road,” “Bones of the Earth,” and “The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of Therolinguistics,” Isaac and David discuss the various strategies Le Guin uses to evoke a world that is more than human, and that stretches past human comprehension. We place these stories alongside stories and essays of Isaac’s to find the ways Le Guin and Yuen’s work speak one to another. This episode’s [Bookshop] (https://bookshop.org/lists/books-from-isaac-yuen-s-crafting-with-ursula-conversation/) contains all the Le Guin books mentioned in today’s conversation along with Yuen’s  favorite touchstone books of nature writing in both fiction and nonfiction. If you enjoyed today’s conversation, consider becoming a supporter of the show. Check out all the potential benefits and rewards, including Le Guin collectibles, bonus audio from iconic SFF guests, and more at the Between the Covers [Patreon page] (http://patreon.com/betweenthecovers) . The post [Crafting with Ursula : Isaac Yuen on Writing Nature & Nature Writing] (https://tinhouse.com/podcast/crafting-with-ursula-isaac-yuen-on-writing-nature-nature-writing/) appeared first on [Tin House] (https://tinhouse.com) . ... Read more

10 Mar 2022

1 HR 37 MINS

1:37:33

10 Mar 2022