Mon, 26 October 2020
This week we're talking about research-driven memoir writing, books that are difficult to pin down, and what it means to say that writing feels "poetic."
Our reading was The Grave on the Wall, the prize-winning memoir by poet Brandon Shimoda, which begins with the author on a search to understand his grandfather's life.
In the second half of the show, we talk about strategies for talking about student work that might be offensive or otherwise problematic.
You can buy The Grave on the Wall here: https://bookshop.org/books/the-grave-on-the-wall/9780872867901
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Mon, 19 October 2020
This week's reading is an essay by Elena Passarello about birdsong. But it's also other stuff! We talk about writing that make you look at the world a bit differently, and writers who can make you care about things you never thought you cared about. In the second half of the show, we discuss a recent Twitter kerfuffle over writing and money and whether publishing a book can (or should) change your life.
The essay we discussed, "Of Singing," was published in The Iowa Review, but is also available in Passerello's 2012 collection, Let Me Clear My Throat, from Sarabande Books.
If you like the podcast, and would like some more of it in your life, please consider joining our Patreon, which gets you monthly bonus episodes and also helps support the making of the show: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Mon, 12 October 2020
This week we're discussing a piece of creative nonfiction that really pushes the bounds of the genre, imagining the effects of a California earthquake on animal and plant life, as well as several invented human characters. Daniel Orozco's "Shakers" appeared in an edition of Best American Essays edited by David Foster Wallace, but is it really an "essay"?
In the second half of the show, we talk about strategies for running creative writing workshops. When we started teaching, we both adhered to the kinda "free-for-all" model favored in our own grad program, but over the years we've begun to experiment with more structured approaches, including tasking small groups with digging into various elements of a story or essay.
If you like the show, and would like some bonus Book Fight episodes in your life, consider joining our Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Mon, 5 October 2020
This week we're continuing our discussion of creative nonfiction by revisiting a classic in the genre: Joan Didion's essay "The White Album," which explores the author's experiences of anxiety and paranoia at "the end of the 60s." We talk about things we can learn from a master, and how to write essays that will age well. Plus: a Miss Manners column about famous authors snubbing an academic.
If you like the show, and you'd like to have some more of it in your life, you can subscribe to our Patreon for $5 a month and get access to our entire catalog of bonus episodes: Book Fight After Dark, where we explore various genres of romance novel, and Reading the Room, where we give writers (and readers) advice on how to live their lives.