This week we present the second half of our interview with Michael Silverblatt, the host of KCRW's nationally syndicated literary show Bookworm. Silverblatt explains his 100-page rule for reading, how old-school writers shared a kind of magician's code, and how he relates his Jewish grandmother to the novels of Samuel Beckett.
Featuring Tom Lutz, Laurie Winer, and Seth Greenland. Produced by Jerry Gorin.
This week's show features crime and mystery writer Gary Phillips, who discusses the changing publishing landscape in genre fiction, diversity in genre fiction, and the Black Pulp and soon to be released Asian Pulp anthologies that he created. Also, television writer and producer Betsy Borns joins to talk about the success of comedian Amy Schumer, Russian studies professor Boris Dralyuk talks about one of his favorite Ukrainian crime writers, and writer Meri Nana-Ama Danquah reads a poem by Kenyan-born poet Warsan Shire.
On this week's show, Tom, Laurie, and Seth interview Michael Silverblatt, the host of Bookworm, a nationally syndicated radio show featuring interviews with the world's best writers of literary fiction and poetry. Silverblatt talks about conceiving a show where "the author finally talks to someone who has read their work," and talks about his rigorous interviewing style and process, shares stories of some of his favorite guests — like David Foster Wallace and Joy Williams — and also talks about his childhood and his early love of musicals.
Conceptual Poet Vanessa Place has ruffled some feathers in the literary world as a growing number of people have taken notice of her latest project, in which she has been tweeting the entirety of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind juxtaposed with provocative images of mammy characters. Place says her goal is to point to the racism in the text, but a Change.org petition rallied together many voices who found the project itself to be "at best, startlingly racially insensitive, and, at worst, racist." Recently the Assn. of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) removed her from the selection committee for next year's annual meeting, and this year's Berkeley Poetry Conference, where she was scheduled to speak, has been cancelled in response to protests.
On our program this week we try to make sense of what we feel is a very complicated issue. Does the racism lie in Mitchell's original work, or in Vanessa Place's re-creation? What responsibilities, if any, does one have to contextualize their art or make it more sensitive? Does the fact of her being white make the project more insensitive? And how do we think about her dismissal from the AWP and the canceling of the Berkeley Poetry Conference, which this year was celebrating a 50-year anniversary of the Free Speech Movement?
We'll hear from Vanessa Place to try to better understand her meaning, and we'll also hear from two writers, Matthew Shenoda and Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, both of whom are critical of Place's work.