39 episodes

A podcast about the literary essay: what it is, why we like it, and which ones are our favorites. Co-hosted by Elena Passarello and Justin St. Germain, who are both creative nonfiction professors and acclaimed writers in the genre.

I'll Find Myself When I'm Dead Elena Passarello, Justin St. Germain

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

A podcast about the literary essay: what it is, why we like it, and which ones are our favorites. Co-hosted by Elena Passarello and Justin St. Germain, who are both creative nonfiction professors and acclaimed writers in the genre.

    Nonfiction Theater

    Nonfiction Theater

    In our season 3 finale, we discuss documentary/nonfiction theater. Elena explains the subgenre, and David joins us to discuss “The Laramie Project,” a nonfiction play. Also: a stapler anthology update, a stapler anthology cocktail, some true crime talk, a theater-themed lightning round, our worst performances, and more! Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next season.

    “The Laramie Project,” full text: http://www.harringtonartsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/The-Laramie-Project-Script.pdf

    • 2 hr 7 min
    Having and Being Hot

    Having and Being Hot

    This week, we’re re-recording the lost episode from two weeks ago, about Eula Biss’ 2020 book Having and Being Had. We discuss its main topics—capitalism and class—as well as whether it’s a book-length essay and why or why not. Also: other books we’re reading, a creaky chair, the hottest day in Oregon history, how much money we’d cut our thumbs off for, and more!

    The upcoming (7/5) Essay Daily Salon with Justin and Jana Larson: http://www.essaydaily.org/p/the-essay-daily-salon-series.html 

    Jana’s book, Reel Bay:

    Stacey Swann’s novel, Olympus, TX:

    Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest & Relaxation:

    • 1 hr 58 min
    Essays About Sex (w/Dave Madden)

    Essays About Sex (w/Dave Madden)

    This week, our special guest, longtime friend, and fellow nonfiction professor Dave Madden joins us to discuss two essays about f*****g: Samuel Delaney’s “Ash Wednesday,” and Kristen Dombek’s “Letter from Williamsburg.” Also: Father’s Day presents, workshop models, a debate about sentences, Sizzler essays, and more!


    Dave’s website: https://www.davemadden.org 

    Dave’s web designer, Beth Sullivan: https://bethsullivan.com 

    Samuel Delaney’s “Ash Wednesday”: http://bostonreview.net/arts-society/samuel-r-delany-ash-wednesday 

    Kristin Dombek’s “Letter from Williamsburg” (subscription required for full essay): https://www.theparisreview.org/letters-essays/6236/letter-from-williamsburg-kristin-dombek 

    The audio version of “Letter from Williamsburg”: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2013/07/26/kristin-dombeks-letter-from-williamsburg/

    • 1 hr 52 min
    IFMWID Rewind: I'm Your Huckleberry

    IFMWID Rewind: I'm Your Huckleberry

    Our episode for this week failed to record (thanks, Zoom!), so we're going back to the archives. More than a year ago, back when the pandemic was still young, we recorded an episode about Val Kilmer's memoir I'm Your Huckleberry. It has the fewest downloads of any of our episodes, for some mysterious reason, so we decided to dig it out and re-post it to hold you over until we can get our shit together and finish Season 3. Also: other parts of the Kilmer corpus, including his poetry, art, and music; the movie Tombstone and related trivia; David's Old Western cocktail; Frank Stallone; fake memoirs; and much, much more.

    • 1 hr 33 min
    One Long Episode About Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

    One Long Episode About Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

    This week, we discuss the 1993 Canadian/French Canadian film “Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould,” which we think is essayistic in many ways. Also: breath mints found in orifices, the thesis circle of life, writing too-long essays, apocalyptic media, Hamlet 2, “Canadian stakes,” lyric vs. narrative, accessibility, Graham Gano, and more!

    The full movie on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv7nPiZHKy4 

    Gould’s radio documentary “The Idea of North”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szgnGV4hOKU 

    Justin’s essay from Territory: http://themapisnot.com/issue-iii-justin-st-germain

    • 1 hr 49 min
    Interviews with Essayists

    Interviews with Essayists

    In this week's episode, we discuss two "The Art of ..." interviews from the Paris Review: one on the essay with Hilton Als, and another with Geoff Dyer about nonfiction in general. Also: our mutual love of Mrs. Dalloway, Elena’s study abroad experience, our rocky resumption of vaccinated socializing, Val Kilmer has a documentary, a couple of weird bird stories, one sad cat story, a lightning round about celebrities, lots of interviewing talk, and more!


    “The Art of the Essay” with Hilton Als (subscription required):

    “The Art of Nonfiction” with Geoff Dyer (same):

    • 2 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

madeleinejw ,


Simply one of the best literary podcasts around (and way more fun than the norm!)

marleswilliams ,

An awesome literary podcast

An informative and entertaining deep dive into the literary essay form! Justin and Elena are amazing hosts who remain fun and personable in their nuanced discussions of craft, literature, and academia. A must-listen for creative non-fiction writers everywhere.

Daveiii ,

I’ll find myself when I’m in bed

Which is where I listen to IFMWID. It’s great drifting off to sleep content. 11/10 would recommend

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