Radio Free AWP

At a 2009 AWP panel I met John Griswold--a sweet, smart, funny writer who pens a column for Inside Higher Ed under the byline of Oronte Churm. Not that his writing skills end there. John is also the author of the novel A Democracy of Ghosts, a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year, and a nonfiction history of the same hellraising town--located in an Illinois county often called “Bloody Williamson."

Our chance meeting led to a November 2009 guest post at "The Education of Oronte Churm" called "Let It Rain," which detailed the quirky circumstances under which I left my full-time job and embarked on the sometimes thrilling, sometimes exhausting, always tenuous path to becoming a full-time writer.

I'm delighted to once again be a part of John's blog, this time in the form of having a podcast on my work included in the line-up for "Radio Free AWP." Hunger Mountain editor Dana Burchfield spent some time with I Was the Jukebox and put together a gorgeous meditation on poetry in the cacophonous space of everyday life. I'm honored to have my comments and readings of poems interspersed with her thoughts.

These podcasts will be available for free downloading all week starting Wednesday, simultaneous to the AWP Conference here in Washington, DC. For those attending the conference in person, there will be some opportunities to win associated raffle prizes. (Thanks to W. W. Norton for donating a copy of my book!) For those unable to make it in, especially given the perilous weather, it'll be a nice distraction from afar. 

A full program is included here, but here is what I'm really looking forward to:
  • National Book Award finalist in poetry Patricia Smith and crime novelist Bruce DeSilva—wife and husband—interview each other on writing, art, public lives, and domesticity.
  • Amy Hassinger (The Priest’s Madonna) and Fred Arroyo (The Region of Lost Names) introduce Lewis Hyde's The Gift and discuss its cult status among writers.
  • Matthew Gavin Frank reads from the beginning of Pot Farm (forthcoming 2012, University of Nebraska Press), his hazy and sometimes inaccurate nonfiction book about his work on a Northern California medical marijuana farm.
  • The staff of Creative Nonfiction offer an inside look at how they read, what they look for, and how they choose themes for issues.
  • Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner, on adventures on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
  • Etgar Keret, Israeli writer (Missing Kissinger, The Girl on the Fridge) and filmmaker (Jellyfish, winner of the Caméra d’Or at Cannes) reads his short story “Shoes.”
  • The Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, with oral histories of people talking about their food culture.

Again, check here for each day's downloads. As someone who has been crisscrossing the country by car for the last six months, I'm learning to appreciate this type of programming in a way I never did before. Much as I love a little guilty-pleasure Top 100 radio listening, sometimes you need to tune in to something that feeds your brain. Enjoy!