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This Week: Radio Free AWP
January 30, 2011 - 4:30pm

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Please tune in here, this Wednesday through Saturday, to click-and-listen to two-dozen free podcasts by big-time poets, writers, and editors. (If you came directly to this post, please click the logo, above--The Education of Oronte Churm--to take you to this blog's main page, where the Radio Free posts will appear.)

At the same time you’ll have chances to win free, signed first editions, other books and galley copies, a year’s subscription to Poets & Writers magazine and the award-winning journal Ninth Letter, writer-themed t-shirts from Café Press, and more!

Did I mention everything is free? Come on.

Radio Free AWP will coincide with the annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which supports more than “34,000 writers at over 500 member colleges & universities and 100 writers' conferences & centers.” This year the conference is in Washington, DC, home of Inside Higher Ed, and with IHE’s help I’m using this opportunity to connect writers and readers, wherever they are.

It’s true pirate radio, internet-style, with some of my literary friends and friends-of-friends generously donating their words and time for your listening pleasure. The readings and discussions range widely, from a short story recorded professionally in the studio of some guy named Ira who evidently has an interest in American lives, to a self-produced audio essay recorded on location in Africa, to what sounds like a writer who's broken into your kitchen late at night to drink your bourbon and pet your dog, and when you discover him there he tells you a crazy-funny tale about the Russian mob stealing a river.

The roster is (nearly) complete:

  • 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
  • Andrew MacFadyen-Ketchum, who runs PoemoftheWeek.org, on the late, young poet Joshua Vinzant and his chapbook, Max, which was released earlier this year with RopeWalk Press
  • Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore discusses portrayal of characters in a brief essay of mine listed as notable in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009
  • Roy Kesey reads from his new novel Pacazo (Dzanc 2011), about an American historian who teaches English at a small university in Piura, on the desert coast of Peru
  • The staff of Creative Nonfiction offer an inside look at how they read, what they look for, and how they choose themes for issues
  • An audio essay on poet Sandra Beasley, selected by Joy Harjo as winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, by Hunger Mountain editor Dana Burchfield
  • Lee Gutkind, “godfather” of the creative nonfiction movement, talks with his son, Sam, who’s 19, on their memoir Truckin’ With Sam (SUNY Press, 2010)
  • South African memoirist Glen Retief on teaching travel writing to American students, recorded in part while staying with them in a Xhosa seaside village
  • Translations of poet Tatiana Kuzovleva by Eugene Alper, with music he wrote to her Russian lyrics
  • The staff of Ninth Letter on the collaboration between Art & Design faculty and Creative Writing faculty at the University of Illinois in producing the award-winning journal
  • Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner, on adventures on the Kamchatka Peninsula
  • Readings from a night at Quickies, “Chicago's favorite reading series,” dedicated to flash fiction
  • A night at The Parlor, another Chicago series, with Adam Levin, whose novel was just released by McSweeneys Books
  • 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”
  • Poet and writing program administrator Steve Davenport talks about poetry and lyrics—and co-writes a song or two—with indie musician Bruiser Rummenie
  • Jessica Keener, writer and Agni fiction editor, reads "Not for Sale," part of a larger work-in-progress called "An Ordinary Girl's Search for Home," a memoir
  • Xu Xi, finalist for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize, reads from Habit of a Foreign Sky and afterward speaks about writing with her editor
  • 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
  • Debra Di Blasi, founding publisher of Jaded Ibis Press, discusses the Press’s business model and mission
  • Press 53 author Michael Kardos, on his forthcoming story collection One Last Good Time
  • Poet and essayist Art Homer, chair of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Writer's workshop and Director of the Nebraska low Residency MFA in Writing, performs a lecture on intersecting forms between music and poetry
  • And you’re going to love what the canonical William Gass says about a duck, in outtakes from the recording sessions for the audio book of The Tunnel

Stay tuned, and please help spread the word! The fun starts Wednesday.

 

 

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