Book Fight

This week we're discussing a series of very short essays by J. Robert Lennon, and talking about how we teach students to write very short pieces that aren't simply tossed-off and incomplete. Plus: Tom gets angry about a rich book influencer who thinks her pandemic problems are unique and interesting. And Mike runs into his first anti-masker in the wild.

You can read J. Robert Lennon's essay here:

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Direct download: Ep345_LennonEssays.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're continuing our ongoing discussion of creative nonfiction by diving into an essay by Hanif Abdurraqib about attending a Bruce Springsteen concert in Jersey and thinking about who gets to romanticize "hard work" in America. Plus: Tom has opinions about Susan Orlean rebranding herself as a fun drunk, and Mike brings you another installment of "The Worst Person in This Month's Architectural Digest."

You can buy Hanif's book here:

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Direct download: Ep344_Abdurraqib.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're talking about a second-person essay by Jennifer Murvin that was first published in The Cincinnati Review. We also talk about grading in creative writing classes, and how to arrive at standards that are fair without being either too mean or a pushover. Plus at least one tantalizing blind item!


You can learn more about Jennifer Murvin and her writing here:

Check out the bookstore she owns (and order books online) here:

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Direct download: Ep343_Grades.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're discussing an Alice Bolin essay from The Toast, "A Meditation on Britney's 'Baby One More Time,'" which uses the pop star's music as a jumping-off point for an exploration of loneliness, isolation, and the ways in which we hold ourselves apart from others. We talk about ways that writers can use their pop culture obsessions to get into some pretty interesting personal territory, and how we can get students, in particular, to wade out into those deeper waters, rather than simply writing essays about music they like.

Also: Tom is mad about a writing conference that emailed him, and Mike hate-reads Architectural Digest.

You can read the Alice Bolin essay here:

And if you like the show, and would like more of it in your life, you can join our Patreon, for just $5/month, and get all our bonus episodes:

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep342_PopCultureWriting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT