Even in times of stillness and physical distance, reading a great poem has the ability to move us, transport us—in other words, poetry will always retain its power to feel, as Lowell says, like an event. On Well-Versed, we’ll be commemorating the art of verse, with original recordings, conversations with poetry luminaries, and more.
Episode 08: Marilynne Robinson
This month on Well-Versed, Jonathan Galassi, publisher of FSG, talks with writer Marilynne Robinson about her new novel, Jack, returning to Gilead, her research on the segregation of St. Louis, and the mysterious impulse of a new novel.
Episode 07: Héctor Tobar
This week on Well-Versed, Sean McDonald, publisher of MCD, talks with Héctor Tobar about his new book, The Last Great Road Bum, the great road novels in literature, his real-life allegiance to Joe Sanderson and his family, and publishing a novel at the current moment.
In The Last Great Road Bum, Héctor Tobar turns the peripatetic true story of a naive son of Urbana, Illinois, who died fighting with guerrillas in El Salvador into the great American novel for our times.
Episode 06: Laura van den Berg and Catherine Lacey
This week on Well-Versed, Emily Bell, director and Senior Editor of FSG Originals, talks with writers Laura van den Berg and Catherine Lacey about their new books, making it through the profound bewilderment of novel-writing, and the relationship between the bizarre and the mundane.
Pew, Catherine Lacey’s third novel, is a foreboding, provocative, and amorphous fable about the world today: its contradictions, its flimsy morality, and the limits of judging others based on their appearance. With precision and restraint, one of our most beloved and boundary-pushing writers holds up a mirror to her characters’ true selves, revealing something about forgiveness, perception, and the faulty tools society uses to categorize human complexity.
I Hold the Wolf by the Ears, Laura van den Berg’s first story collection since her prizewinning book The Isle of Youth, draws readers into a world of wholly original, sideways ghost stories that linger in the mouth and the mind. Both timeless and urgent, these eleven stories confront misogyny, violence, and the impossible economics of America with van den Berg’s trademark spiky humor and surreal eye.
Episode 05: Eric Cervini and Mark Gevisser
This week on Well-Versed, FSG editor Jackson Howard discusses queer rights past and present with Eric Cervini, the award-winning historian and author of The Deviance War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America, and Mark Gevisser, author of The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World's Queer Frontiers.
This podcast was produced for Lit Hub in partnership with ALOUD, a program of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.
Episode 04: Carl Phillips and francine j. harris in Conversation
On this episode of Well-Versed, poets Carl Phillips and francine j. harris discuss their bodies of work, the representation of people of color in poetry, and answering a question that shouldn't be able to be answered.
Episode 03: Hannah Sullivan's Three Poems
Three Poems, Hannah Sullivan’s debut collection, which won the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize, reinvents the long poem for a digital age. “You, Very Young in New York” paints the portrait of a great American city, paying close attention to grand designs as well as local details, and coalescing in a wry and tender study of romantic possibility, disappointment, and the obduracy of innocence. “Repeat Until Time” shifts the scene to California and combines a poetic essay on the nature of repetition with an enquiry into pattern-making of a personal as well as a philosophical kind. “The Sandpit After Rain” explores the birth of a child and death of a father with exacting clarity.