RMSYL 54: Twirling at Ole Miss by Terry Southern (read by Gideon Lewis-Kraus)

Gideon Lewis-Kraus reading Terry Southern

I dislike travel writing about temples, or churches, or mosques, or architecture in general, or, for that matter, trees, or trains, or roads, and especially the Khyber Pass; in fact I think I only like travel writing when it’s not about travel at all but rather about friendship, lies, digression, amateurism, trains, and sex.” Gideon Lewis-Kraus

 

Gideon Lewis-Kraus is the author of A Sense of Direction, a travel memoir (of sorts). He has written for numerous US publications, including Harper’s, The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, and others.

LINKS: 

Gideon’s website: http://www.gideonlk.com/
Read Terry Southern’s Twirling at Ole Miss in full: http://bit.ly/O7ceVG
 
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RMSYL 53: The Garden Party (read by Emily Midorikawa) vs. Mrs Dalloway (read by Emma Claire Sweeney)

Emma Claire Sweeney and Emily Midorikawa reading

“Because our friendship has been so important to our progress as  writers (as well as human beings), we wanted to find out about friendships between other female authors we loved. We all know quite a lot about male writer friends: Wordsworth & Coleridge, Hemingway & Fitzgerald. But who was Jane Austen’s friend? Who was George Eliot’s? Emma Claire Sweeney & Emily Midorikawa

 

Emily Midorikawa is a half-English, half-Japanese writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and her work has been published in, amongst others, Aesthetica, Mslexia, The Telegraph, and The Times. She teaches creative writing at City University London, New York University in London and the Open University.

Emma Claire Sweeney’s short stories have been published in the UK, Ireland and the USA. She combines writing with university lecturing, community based writing residencies, and mentoring and editing services for emerging writers. Her current writing, research, and residencies all relate to links between narrative and learning disability.

DISCUSSED: what makes prose timeless; interpersonal warmth & class tension; bang slap etymologies; transgressing boundaries; opposites attract and refract; the perfect segue; SW nails his colours to the mast; ECS does some judicious defending of VW; the Desert Island Discs question; Something Rhymed; gender differences in accomodating competition in friendships

LINKS:

Emma’s website: http://emmaclairesweeney.com/writing/
Emily’s website: http://emilymidorikawa.com/
Something Rhymed: http://somethingrhymed.com/
 
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RMSYL 52: Power Lunching by E.Melvin Pinsel (read by Brian Lobel)

Brian Lobel Reading From Power Lunching by E Marvin Pinsel“The problem the whole book presents is that it’s trying to give you a strategy for getting what you want: out of people, out of things, out of a seat, an outfit, a drink. I hope, personally, my own agenda is a little bit more outward-facing.” Brian Lobel

 

Brian Lobel create performances about bodies: politicized bodies, marginalized bodies, dancing and singing bodies, happy bodies, sick bodies and bodies that need a little extra love. 

DISCUSSED: C-word alert (not cancer) ; existential #fail; power showers; my father for instance; charisma; I think about it every day; focus; playing games with hierarchy; the powerless pleasures of pyjama-time; aah…exhalation; our fantasies of invisible work/lavatories/side stands; how to get out of Siberia; deep vs. shallow relating; In Bed With Brian; schmoozing vs. networking; transactional loopholes that (might) lead to connection; barking teachers; the guest’s agenda

LINKS:

Brian’s website: http://www.blobelwarming.com
Buy “Power Lunching”
 
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RMSYL 51: The Plain Sense of Things by Wallace Stevens (read by Josh Cohen)

“Try and imagine what this great pond, quite unglamorous and muddy, this dirty-watered pond looks like when you don’t impose yourself, your whole history, or the history of a culture on it; when you just let yourself see it.”  Josh Cohen

 

Josh Cohen is a psychoanalyst in private practice, and Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London. He is the author of Interrupting Auschwitz (2003), How to Read Freud (2005), and The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark (2013) .  

DISCUSSED: Definite indefinite plain-ness; slipping on fallen leaves (inside and out); the mind stripped down to its essence; the end of the imagination; the  rescuing As If; counting Cohen’s innards;  the fierce desire of speaking; staying true to what-is; the emotional pressure to find the words; father to a sister of a thought; the necessity of fantastic failed efforts; the illusion of fullness; deprivation as a first condition; carrying the minor house within; getting to grips with our unsurpassables; rat-vision; the reassuring loopiness of the self; hopefully in the dark.

LINKS:

Read ‘The Plain Sense of Things’ online.
Buy The Private Life: Why We Remain In The Dark.
Read the tiny Lydia Davis story ‘What She Knew” mentioned in our discussion.
 
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Short Story Masterclass Series

I’ve been on a bit of a RMSYL hiatus in the last few months, but new episodes to come soon.

Until then, if you’re missing listening to people reading you things they like -even if in this case the things happen to be their own writing- here are some interviews I did for Thresholds talking to a variety of interesting writers about their short story output .

Interview with Sarah Hall for Thresholds/Small Wonder
Interview with Margaret Drabble for Thresholds/Small Wonder
Interview with Joseph O’Connell for Thresholds/Small Wonder
Interview with with Michèle Roberts for Thresholds/Small Wonder
Interview with David Vann for Thresholds/Small Wonder
Interview with Deborah Levy for Thresholds/Small Wonder
 

RMSYL 50: Tooth by Michael Burkard (read by Ryan Van Winkle)

“”What the hell the tooth is doing there, I don’t know, but I love it.” Ryan Van Winkle

 

Ryan Van Winkle is currently Poet in Residence at Edinburgh City Libraries following a similar stint as the Scottish Poetry Library’s first-ever Reader in Residence. This is how I first discovered him as the host of the SPL’s weekly poetry podcast which he curates with charismatic aplomb. His critically praised first collection, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, was published by Salt in 2010 and won the prestigious Crashaw Prize. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Poetry New Zealand and The Oxford Poets series. 

DISCUSSED: Unfolding Poems; Illogical Teeth; The Lost Son; Coming Open To Closed Poems; She is Fucking/Human (Divergent Synapses Firing); The Misery That Is Going To Pass

 LINKS:
 
Ryan: http://ryanvanwinkle.com/
             https://twitter.com/rvwable
Buy Michael Burkard’s Unsleeping (includes Tooth)
Buy Ryan’s Tomorrow, We Will Live Here
Read Ryan’s History Of A Mouth (online)
SPL podcast: http://scottishpoetrylibrary.podomatic.com/
 
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RMSYL 49: The Wonderful Focus of You by Joanne Kyger (read by Marcus Slease)

“The poetry I’m interested in most of the time is open-ended: inviting the reader to participate in the process of questioning, meaning, and everything really.”  Marcus Slease

 

Marcus Slease was born in Portadown, N. Ireland. He has lived all over the world as a teacher of English as a foreign language. Recent fiction and poetry have appeared in magazines such as: Metazen, Housefire, So and So Magazine, Spork, InDigest, Gesture, NAP, Forklift Ohio, and Little White Lies. His most recent book, Mu (dream) So (Window) was published this year by Poor Claudia. He lives in London and blogs at The House Of Zabka.

DISCUSSED: Writing Personally To Get Out Of The Straitjacket Of Self; Big Things, Little Things, Trivial Things; Nice; Reclaiming the Vernacular; What Holds A Year/Your Life Together; Echo Mess Internet; The Poem As A Mind Graph; Living In The Moment (Argh!); Daybook Poetry

LINKS:
 
Marcus’s website: marcusslease.tumblr.com
Follow Marcus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/postpran
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/postpran
Read The Wonderful Focus of You online: http://tinyurl.com/bqh93vm
 
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RMSYL 48: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (read by David Shields)

“We’re all bozos on this bus. We’re all lost, we’re all confused, we’re all presenting a civilized veneer. But in our own hearts, we’re all kind of madmen in various ways. ”  David Shields

 

David Shields is the author of fourteen books, including How Literature Saved My Life and  Salinger (with Shane Salerno), both published this year. Also, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (Knopf, 2010), named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications and kick-starter for our Reality Hunger Reading Creative Nonfiction Reading Group.

DISCUSSED: Building A Bridge Across The Existential Abyss of Loneliness; Let’s Not Get Past The Contrivance; Compression, Concision & Velocity; Enough With The Furniture Moving Already; Warp Speed Culture; Gun To The Head Prose; Vonnegut’s Jaunty Tone; The Trapdoors to Howling Despair; Clear Thinking About Mixed Feelings; Loyal To The Moment Texts; Putting Your Intimate Cards On The Table; Stuttering as an Existential Gift; The Mirror Turn Lamp

LINKS:
 
David’s website: http://davidshields.com/
Read the first chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five: http://bit.ly/XoBxTv
 
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RMSYL 47: The Flower by George Herbert (read by Jane Davis)

“The wonderful thing about poems is that no matter how many times you’ve read them before, they still feel new if you’re reading them in a live way.”  Jane Davis

 

Jane Davis is changing the way people relate to literature, to each other and to themselves through a shared reading model called ‘Get Into Reading’, which brings small groups together on a weekly basis to read books and poems aloud. Run in care homes, libraries, hostels, mental health centres, schools and prisons Get Into Reading brings literature to where people are. 

DISCUSSED: Uncomfortable Praise; Highs and Lows (Interaction); Patterns of Creativity – Losing and Finding; Smelling, Relishing, Budding; Email To A Future Self; A New Vocabulary for Mental Health; The Mother Root; Angry Fathers;  God as Inhuman?; Turning Away From Life, And Back Again; Poems as Mantras; Spacious Readings; Lines that Move Within

LINKS:
 
Read the poem online: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/181059
The Reader Organisation: http://thereader.org.uk/about-us/
Jane’s blog: http://readerjanedavis.wordpress.com/
 
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RMSYL 46: Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan (read by Vera Chok)

“There’s so much naughtiness and pleasure in overturning the ridiculousness of taking ourselves so seriously.”  Vera Chok                                                 

Vera Chok is a stage and screen actress from Malaysia who is based in the UK. Vera trained at The Poor School and Ecole Philippe Gaulier and has appeared in productions such as Mansfield Park & Ride (2010), Uncle Vanya (2010), The Firework-maker’s Daughter (2011), and Chimerica (2013).

DISCUSSED: What Does Richard Brautigan Taste Like?; Exciting Familiarity Versus Unfamiliar Excitement; Trout-Based 60s Cornerstones; Marston Bates (File Under: Captain Pugwash?); Finding a Rationale for Culture; Serious Questions or “Serious Questions” (i.e. Silliness); Chok-Inspired Neolexia; Chasing the Mayonaise/Mayonnaise; The Upsetting Space of Beauty; Bygone Names; Ambivalent Mayonnaise; Caring Mayonnaise; Mayonnaise As The Ultimate Signifier.

LINKS:
 
Vera: http://www.verachok.com/
TwitterChok: https://twitter.com/Vera_Chok
The Brautigan Book Club: http://www.brautiganbookclub.co.uk/
 
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