Ursula K. Le Guin : Steering The Craft

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.15.23 AMUrsula K. Le Guin believes we cannot restructure society without restructuring the English language, and thus her book on the craft of writing inevitably engages class, gender, race, capitalism and morality, all of which are not separate from grammar, punctuation, tense, and point of view for Le Guin.  Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of more than sixty books of fiction, fantasy, children’s literature, poetry, drama, criticism and translation.  She talks today about her writing guide, Steering The Craft, newly rewritten and revised for writers of fiction and memoir in the 21st century.

Liz Prato : Baby’s On Fire

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.59.34 PM“Liz Prato’s stories are filled with the lost, the lonely, and the damned, and she makes all of them sing with a haunting grandeur. Baby’s on Fire is a lamentation brimming with wit, candor, and the eternal possibility of mercy,”  says writer Steve Almond about Liz Prato’s debut collection of stories. “The stories are at once beautifully written and tremendously compelling—not to mention filled with characters so full of life that they feel as real as people we know. A knockout collection.”—Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans.  Liz is a fiction writer and essayist, teacher and editor, in Portland, Oregon.

David Biespiel : A Long High Whistle

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 7.05.53 AMLibrary Journal calls David Biespiel’s A Long High Whistle one of the best books about reading poetry you will ever find. Biespiel is a poet, editor, essayist, critic and teacher, and also the writer of the longest running newspaper column on poetry in the U.S.  A Long High Whistle discusses the work of nearly a hundred poets from ancient times to the present, in English and in translation. This collection will provide anyone, from the beginning poet to the mature writer to the lover of literature, with insights into what inspires poets, how poems are written and read, and how poetry situates itself in American life.

Rebecca Makkai : Music For Wartime

Screen shot 2015-08-05 at 1.11.07 PMRebecca Makkai, whose stories have appeared in four consecutive editions of The Best American Short Stories, discusses her much-anticipated story collection Music for Wartime. A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even as her own relationship falls apart. A young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. A composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction. These stories—some inspired by her own family history—demonstrate Makkai’s extraordinary range as a storyteller, and confirm her as a master of the short story form.

Maggie Nelson : The Argonauts

Screen shot 2015-07-29 at 9.12.54 AMAn intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family. Maggie Nelson binds her personal experience, the story of her relationship with the fluidly-gendered artist Harry Dodge, to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language, offering a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.

Lidia Yuknavitch : The Small Backs of Children

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 2.15.50 PMIn a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer’s best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own. In The Small Backs of Children, Lidia Yuknavitch explores the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art. “Yuknavitch moves through narratives and structures like a literary banshee seeking a body. Fast, visceral, The Small Backs of Children is a gunshot meditation on art and violence and I couldn’t put it down.” (Vanessa Veselka, author of Zazen)

Mary Ruefle : An Incarnation of the Now

Screen shot 2015-06-01 at 10.27.51 AMBeloved and critically-acclaimed poet, essayist and erasure artist, Mary Ruefle, talks about her life as an artist, her approach to poetry, the questions she comes back to, and the artists that influence her.  Ruefle is the author of ten books of poetry, the collected lectures Madness, Rack & Honey, a book of prose, a comic book, and the erasure,  A Little White Shadow.