Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tin House Podcasts

Tin House has podcasts available, both readings and talks on craft. While all the podcasts offered are entertaining and useful, the one I'd like especially to recommend is Steve Almond's lecture, which is followed with a reading by poet D. A. Powell.

Although Steve Almond is generally speaking about prose writing, his discussion of writing as a function of decision-making is useful for anyone who writes anything at all. He argues for the need to read the work of other unpublished writers, since reading published writers won't help you learn about mistakes -- they have already edited out all the bad decisions in their work, or they wouldn't be published. Since you don't  have clear vision about your own writing, to learn how to identify bad decision-making, you have to read and critique other people who are making the same mistakes as you are. You need a group of peers, or maybe just one peer. But you need other writers of your level. (I once read that you will learn it on your own without a writing group, but you can save 10 years by learning from others. I believe this.)

Later in the lecture Almond suggests about subject, "Write about what you can't get rid of by other means." He also discusses motives for writing, which he traces back to the silences in families.  He talks about the role of writers as moral actors in the world. There's something in this podcast for all writers.

(But you should listen to all these podcasts. Karen Russell on place and Dorothy Allison on dialogue give extremely colorful talks that you will find yourself nodding to, and laughing along with.) Thanks, Tin House, for sharing your programs with us all.

No comments: