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Story About the Story: An Interview with Sven Birkerts

Sven Birkerts is the author of many books of essays, including, most recently, The Other Walk. His contribution to The Story About the Story I, “On a Stanza by John Keats,” first appeared in Birkerts’ The Electric Life: Essays on Modern Poetry. He directs the MFA program at Bennington University. Birkerts has nice things to say about the new volume, and we […]

Posted in Interviews, Tin House Books

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Story About the Story: An Interview with William Gass

William Gass’s contribution to The Story About the Story Vol. I, “In Terms of the Toenail: Fiction and the Figures of Life,” first appeared in New American Review and is the title piece of his 1970 book of criticism, Fiction and the Figures of Life.  Seven volumes of essays would follow to accompany six of fiction, […]

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Technique Informing Flow: An Interview with Lindsay Hunter

Don’t Kiss Me by Lindsay Hunter is a rare sighting: a heterogeneous story collection that holds together. The book presents a spectrum of peculiar voices that tend to overlap in areas of loss, self-pity, and hilarity. Hunter renders a vernacular, or several vernaculars, that seem to come from your own hometown, a stranger’s childhood, or […]

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Story About the Story: An Interview with Jane Tompkins

Up next in J.C. Hallman’s series of Q&A’s with Story About the Story contributors is writer and professor Jane Tompkins.  Jane Tompkins is the author of a number of books, most recently A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned.  Her contribution to The Story About the Story II, “The Last of the Breed: Homage to Louis L’Amour,” is excerpted from […]

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This City Could Be Your Poet: Seattle

One of the fantastic things about calling Portland home is being able to partake in our kinetic and flourishing poetry scene. Not only are there a number of ridiculously well-curated reading series (Bad Blood, Sleep, If Not for Kidnapped, to name drop a few) but our poetry and poets can be found in the fabric […]

Posted in Interviews, Poetry

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Story About the Story: An Interview with Wendy Lesser

J.C. Hallman continues his series of Q&A’s with Story About the Story contributors today with writer and editor Wendy Lesser. Wendy Lesser is the founding editor of The Threepenny Review.  Her essay “The First Novel,” included in The Story About the Story II, appears in Lesser’s Nothing Remains the Same: Rereading and Remembering.  Her most recent book is Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and his Fifteen […]

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Story About the Story: An Interview with Charles Baxter

In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their […]

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The Altering Perspective I Like: An Interview with Michael Ondaatje

It’s September and everyone in Paris is diving into la rentrée littéraire; much more than just a catchy, catch-all phrase, it is a way of life that roughly translates as “a specific time in very late summer when all of France comes back after summer vacation to present, celebrate and otherwise promote newly published books […]

Posted in Aperitif, Interviews

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Tumbledown: An Interview With Robert Boswell

Robert Boswell is a patient man. The facts surrounding this interview support this claim. Our conversation began in Telluride, where he and his wife, the writer Antonya Nelson, have a home. This was a year ago and I should mention that our weekend together began with me flying into the wrong airport some 90 miles […]

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This is Not Imitation: An Interview with David Greenberg

I met David Greenberg almost twenty years ago, at Johns Hopkins; he was attending the Writing Seminars and I was in the first year of a Ph.D. program there. We had several seminars together with our common mentor, Allen Grossman. At the time, I was struck by the intense beauty and ethical force of David’s […]

Posted in Interviews, Poetry

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A Man of His Times: Revisiting Alan Sillitoe

From Issue 30, Winter Reading Alan Sillitoe’s writing is uniquely musical, but it is a street rhythm, located in the English postindustrial town of Nottingham. His quick-witted dialogue parallels the quick thinking his characters need to survive. Their inner monologues, however, seethe with anger at those who circumscribe their lives, and with a constant ache […]

Posted in From The Vault, Interviews

Comments: 2

Divinatory Branding: An Interview with Suzette Smith

Suzette Smith is an artist and cartoonist living and working in Portland, OR. An enthusiastic and supportive member of Portland’s independent comics community, her comics explore murky areas of personal experience and imagination with wry, defiant wit. She will be leading a workshop at The Projects, a festival of experimental comics and narrative arts happening […]

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Snakes Whose Skins Refuse to be Shed: An Interview with Jeff Jackson

“It’s difficult to say what I might be up to,” the narrator of Jeff Jackson’s debut novel Mira Corpora tells us. His name is also Jeff Jackson. “These days I’m on a need-to-know basis with myself.” Identity and the impossibility of knowing one’s self provide many of the thematic resonances here. Mira Corpora is a […]

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The Science Delusion : An Interview with Curtis White

Published in May of this year, Curtis White’s The Science Delusion has garnered the type of fractured responses one might expect for a book that aims to “critique the delusions of science alongside a rousing defense of the role of art and philosophy in our culture.” The following email conversation took place in the weeks leading […]

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The Virgins by Pamela Erens – Q & A

The Virgins is the story of Aviva Rossner and Seung Jung’s erotic awakening at Auburn Academy re-imagined in richly detailed episodes by their classmate Bruce, a once-embittered voyeur, now repentant narrator, whose envy spurs the novel’s tragic end.

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Sarah Butler: An Interview

Walking into Sarah Butler’s Official Transcript (at Brooklyn’s Reverse Art Space through 6/30), one sees works of art where familiar elements frequently associated with writing and language bend towards the unfamiliar. Handwriting shifts into forms almost sculptural; long, rapturous essays become surreal compositions, the same phrases recurring in dreamlike formations. Through a series of emails, […]

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Comments: 2

A Thimblerig of Time: An Interview with Andrew Sean Greer

Ed. Note: Greer will be reading at Powell’s Books in Portland this evening, 7:30pm. jjjjj Kyle Minor: Like many readers, I first learned about your work when John Updike reviewed The Confessions of Max Tivoli in the New Yorker. He spoke of how his own teacher, John Hawkes, once astonished his class by saying, “When […]

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Absolutely Voracious: An Interview with Alissa Nutting

For the past month, whenever I talk to other writers or booksellers about new books they’ve been thrilled by, Alissa Nutting’s debut novel, Tampa, usually becomes the focus of the conversation. Just mentioning the word Tampa causes these literary folk to open their eyes wide and exclaim, “Holy shit! Have you read that?” Indeed, this is […]

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Comments: 4

You Only Get Letters from Jail – An Interview

Alan Heathcock: First, I just want to congratulate you on You Only Get Letters from Jail. It’s an amazing and impressive work of art, one that really hit me where I live. That said, it’s almost odd to congratulate you on the book, in the sense that you seem to be rooting through some intense […]

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Comments: 3

American Dream Machine: An Interview

Dana Spiotta: Let’s start with the title. Can you tell me about it? There is an earnestness in the novel—almost a nostalgia—about the idea of the American dream. Beau seems to have some purchase on it that isn’t available to his son Nate. Were you thinking about the way the possibilities of America have declined […]

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On Kubrick: An Interview with Leon Vitali

In Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon, Lord Bullingdon is the titular character’s stepson. He is played by Leon Vitali, who would become enmeshed with Kubrick’s career and personal life, including the films The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick’s atypically paternal interest in Vitali led the latter to serve as actor, personal […]

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Advice to Newlyweds: An Interview with John D’Agata

Joanna Klink, the Tin House Writer-in-Residence (and a damn fine neighbor), recently engaged in an email conversation with John D’Agata, whom she first met while the two were studying at the University of Iowa. Unlike some of his more famous correspondences, this discussion was decidedly cordial. Centered on his latest project, a new translation of […]

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Comments: 2

Imaginative Leaps: Karen Shepard and Andrea Barrett in Conversation

Karen Shepard’s newest novel, The Celestials, will be published by Tin House Books in June. She’s also the author of three previous novels: An Empire of Women, The Bad Boy’s Wife, and Don’t I Know You?, as well as numerous stories, articles, and essays. In May, I had the chance to talk with her about […]

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Comments: 2

The Slippage: An Interview with Ben Greenman

Ben Greenman’s new novel, The Slippage, is a book about marriage and its discontents—not to mention the suburbs, charts, driving in the suburbs, and the limits of language. The Slippage urges the reader to examine the relationships in their life based on love and friendship. I recently met up with Ben at a busy Starbucks […]

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Dear Lucy: An Interview with Julie Sarkissian

Julie Sarkissian and I attended The New School’s MFA program at the same time, and although we shared a few literature seminars (and many more hours drinking at Café Loup on West 13th Street), we were never in a workshop together. Julie was always extremely private about her work, so I had only the vaguest idea […]

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Comments: 1