Thresholds

Jordan Kisner

This is Thresholds: a series of conversations with writers about experiences that completely turned them upside down, disoriented them in their lives, changed them, and changed how and why they wanted to write. Hosted by Jordan Kisner, author of the essay collection THIN PLACES. Thresholds is a Lit Hub Radio podcast. www.thisisthresholds.com

All Episodes

Jordan talks to James Han Mattson, author of Reprieve, about a trip to Korea to find his birth family and about harnessing messiness to create fiction that feels real. James Han Mattson was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in North Dakota. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has received grants from the Copernicus Society of America and Humanities North Dakota. He has been a featured storyteller on The Moth, and has taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Cape Town, the University of Maryland, the George Washington University, Murray State University, and the University of California – Berkeley. In 2009, he moved to Korea and reunited with his birth family after 30 years of separation. He is the author of two novels: The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves (Little A: 2017) and Reprieve (William Morrow/Harper Collins and BloomsburyUK: 2021), which was a Fall 2021 Book Pick by The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Chicago Tribune, O Quarterly, Esquire, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, and was featured on the TODAY show. He is currently the fiction editor of Hyphen Magazine. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe on your favorite podcast platform! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dec 1

45 min 9 sec

It's Infrastructure Week on Thresholds! Kind of! Jordan talks with Aimee Bender, author of The Butterfly Lampshade, about how developing a structure can change your writing life, about the paralysis of options, and creating the character of Francie in her latest book. Aimee Bender is the author of six books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures (2005) which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010) which won the SCIBA award for best fiction, and an Alex Award, The Color Master, a NY Times Notable book for 2013, and her latest novel, The Butterfly Lampshade, which came out in July 2020, and was longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Award. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and more, as well as heard on PRI’s “This American Life”and “Selected Shorts”. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, and teaches creative writing at USC. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe on your favorite podcast platform! -------------------------------- This episode is presented in collaboration with the 2021 Miami Book Fair. Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is just one of the many writers from around the world participating in the nation’s largest gathering of writers and readers of all ages. This year's Miami Book Fair takes place online and in person from November 14th to November 21st. Please visit miamibookfair.com for more information, or follow MBF at @miamibookfair Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 24

39 min 10 sec

Jordan talks donuts, taking big leaps, and writing with/for/about pleasure with Ryka Aoki, author of Light from Uncommon Stars. Ryka Aoki is a poet, composer, and teacher and author of Seasonal Velocities, He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song), Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul and The Great Space Adventure. Her latest novel, Light from Uncommon Stars, is out now from Tor Books. Ryka is also a former national judo champion and the founder of the International Transgender Martial Arts Alliance. She is also a professor of English at Santa Monica College, a half-decent pianist, and is starting to learn to play the violin. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe on your favorite podcast platform! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 17

41 min 54 sec

Jordan is joined by Pulitzer-winning poet and memoirist Gregory Pardlo — currently teaching at NYU in Abu Dhabi — to talk about sobriety, understanding the stories of one’s life, and answering the self-imposed question “What god are you serving, Pardlo, when you write X?” Gregory Pardlo was born in Philadelphia in 1968. He is the author of Air Traffic (Knopf, 2018), a memoir in essays, and the poetry collections Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), which received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award, and Totem (American Poetry Review), which was selected by Brenda Hillman for the American Poetry Review/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. He is the poetry editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and is currently teaching at NYU in Abu Dhabi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 10

39 min 23 sec

Hi listeners – I just started a new miniseries from Wondery and Topic Studios called Operator, the untold true story of the phone sex line company that took over the world. Make sure to Follow “Operator” on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or you can listen early and ad-free by subscribing to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery App. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 9

4 min 15 sec

Jordan talks Susan Orlean (author of On Animals and The Library Book and The Orchid Thief and those hilarious tweets) about finding the right way to tell a story, taking risks in hopes an audience will come along, and starting out as a beat reporter writing about the drudgery of city government. Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of eight bestselling books, including The Library Book, Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in Los Angeles and may be reached at SusanOrlean.com and Twitter.com/SusanOrlean For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe!! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 3

46 min 10 sec

Jordan talks to memoirist and fiction writer Saïd Sayrafiezadeh about growing up in the Socialist Workers Party, deprogramming from childhood, and how even in fiction, the memoirist doesn't fall far from the memoir. Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is the author, most recently, of the story collection American Estrangement. His memoir, When Skateboards Will Be Free, was called one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times and his story collection, Brief Encounters With the Enemy, was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Fiction Prize. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, Granta, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, and New American Stories, among other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction and a Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers’ fiction fellowship. Saïd lives in New York City with his wife, the artist Karen Mainenti, and serves on the board of directors for the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities and he leads the Creative Nonfiction track in Hunter's MFA program. He also teaches creative writing at Columbia University and New York University, where he received an Outstanding Teaching Award. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! -------------------------------- This episode is presented in collaboration with the 2021 Miami Book Fair. Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is just one of the many writers from around the world participating in the nation’s largest gathering of writers and readers of all ages. This year's Miami Book Fair takes place online and in person from November 14th to November 21st. Please visit miamibookfair.com for more information, or follow MBF at @miamibookfair Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 27

44 min 33 sec

Jordan sits down to a wild, funny, moving conversation with violinist, composer, Bad Seed, and author of Nina Simone's Gum Warren Ellis. It's an honest examination of where Warren's new book came from, how he learned how to write it, and why the potato is the miracle of the tuber world. Warren Ellis is an Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, most famous for his work as collaborator and bandmate of Nick Cave, in both the Bad Seeds and Grinderman. Both solo and alongside Nick he is also a multi-award-winning film composer whose soundtracks include The Proposition, The Road, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Mustang and most recently This Train I Ride. His own band Dirty Three have released eight studio albums since 1994 and he is an in-demand producer and writer, working with artists including Marianne Faithful, Jupiter and Okwess and Tinariwen. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 20

37 min

Jordan talks to the incomparable Rita Dove about discovery, about taking a break from creating and publishing, and about re-learning to hold a pen again after her MS diagnosis. Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate, is the only poet honored with both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts. Her recent works include Playlist for the Apocalypse, Sonata Mulattica, and the National Book Award–shortlisted Collected Poems: 1974–2004. In 2021 she was awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Charlottesville, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Virginia. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! -------------------------------- This episode is presented in collaboration with the 2021 Miami Book Fair. Rita Dove is just one of the many writers from around the world participating in the nation’s largest gathering of writers and readers of all ages. This year's Miami Book Fair takes place online and in person from November 14th to November 21st. Please visit miamibookfair.com for more information, or follow MBF at @miamibookfair Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 13

44 min 48 sec

Sanaë Lemoine tells Jordan about the moment she learned her father had a second family and the ways that that reveal changed her life, her family, her relationship to secrets -- and helped inspire The Margot Affair. Sanaë Lemoine was born in Paris to a Japanese mother and French father, and raised in France and Australia. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her MFA at Columbia University. She now lives in New York. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 6

41 min 29 sec

Jordan talks to Andrew Martin about a trip to Montana in the midst of a tumultuous year, putting on a persona for writing, and how the two combined to change the way he tells stories. Andrew Martin's most recent book is a story collection entitled Cool for America. His first novel Early Work was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and a finalist for the Cabell First Novelist Award. His stories and essays have been published in The Paris Review, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, Harper's, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. He lives in New York with his partner, Laura, and their dog Bonnie. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 29

41 min 25 sec

Jordan chats with writer and critic Rebecca Carroll about the tricky nature of writing memoir, being the mother of a Black son, and about the power of being the one to tell the story. Rebecca Carroll is a writer, creative consultant, editor-at-large, and host of the podcast Come Through with Rebecca Carroll: 15 Essential Conversations about Race in a Pivotal Year for America (WNYC Studios). Most recently, she was a cultural critic at WNYC, and a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times. Her writing has been published widely, and she’s the author of several books about race in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America. Her memoir, Surviving the White Gaze (Simon & Schuster, Feb 2021), has been optioned by MGM Studios and Killer Films with Rebecca attached to adapt for TV. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 22

44 min 40 sec

Jordan talks to Maggie Nelson about hope, about hitting one's threshold, and about trying to respond to current events in On Freedom without dating the text. Maggie Nelson is the author of several books of poetry and prose, most recently On Freedom. She's also the author of the New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Argonauts. She teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles. This episode is brought to you by the House of CHANEL, creator of the iconic J12 sports watch. Always in motion, the J12 travels through time without ever losing its identity. Want more Thresholds? Visit www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 15

39 min 8 sec

Jordan talks to author Alexandra Kleeman about the threshold of the natural and the man-made, about how we are and will continue to consistently cross that threshold back and forth, and about how cognitive science influenced her new book. Alexandra Kleeman is the author of Something New Under the Sun as well as Intimations: Stories and the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, which was awarded the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In 2020, she was awarded the Rome Prize and the Berlin Prize. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others, and other writing has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, VOGUE, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. Born in 1986 in Berkeley, California, she was raised in Colorado and lives in Staten Island with her husband, the writer Alex Gilvarry. She is an Assistant Professor at the New School. This episode is brought to you by the House of CHANEL, creator of the iconic J12 sports watch. Always in motion, the J12 travels through time without ever losing its identity. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 8

48 min 5 sec

Jordan talks to journalist Lauren Sandler about how close you can or should get to your subjects, about who gets to write what and why, and about the driving forces behind the stories that intrigue her. Lauren Sandler is an award-winning journalist and author based in Brooklyn. Her most recent book is the bestselling This Is All I Got: A New Mother’s Search for Home (named a Notable Book of 2020 by The New York Times) and she's the author of two previous books -- One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One and Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement.   Lauren's essays and features have appeared in dozens of publications including Time, The New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and Elle. She has been on staff at Salon and at NPR, where she worked on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and the Cultural Desk. She has led the OpEd Project’s Public Voices Fellowships at Yale, Columbia, UVA, and Dartmouth, and has taught in the graduate journalism program at NYU, where she has also been Visiting Scholar. Lauren is a member of NationSwell Council. She has been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, a Calderwood Journalism Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, a Mid-Atlantic Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and a Brown Foundation resident at the Maison Dora Maar in Menerbes, France. This episode is brought to you by the House of CHANEL, creator of the iconic J12 sports watch. Always in motion, the J12 travels through time without ever losing its identity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 1

38 min 47 sec

Jordan talks to writer Eula Biss about living in the moment of a threshold, about buying a house, about making a career, and about how too much fertile ground for thought can lead to overload. Eula Biss is the author of four books, most recently Having and Being Had. Her book On Immunity was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review, and Notes from No Man’s Land won the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism in 2009. Her work has recently appeared in the Guardian, the Paris Review, Freeman’s, The Believer, and The New Yorker. This episode is brought to you by the House of CHANEL, creator of the iconic J12 sports watch. Always in motion, the J12 travels through time without ever losing its identity. Try MUBI for 30 Days at MUBI.com/Thresholds. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com -- and be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Aug 25

50 min 25 sec

Jordan talks to Deesha Philyaw about getting out of a bad marriage, learning to embrace life again, and doing it all while putting together a short story collection. Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. This episode is brought to you by the House of CHANEL, creator of the iconic J12 sports watch. Always in motion, the J12 travels through time without ever losing its identity. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to subscribe and review! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Aug 18

43 min 2 sec

Jordan visits with poet Mary Ruefle at her home in Vermont for a conversation about the passage of time, the both-sides-ness of thresholds, memory -- and the best way to cook an egg. Mary Ruefle is the author Dunce (Wave Books, 2019), which was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize and the 2019 LA Times Book Prize and was long-listed for the 2019 National Book Award and the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award. She's also written many other books including My Private Property (Wave Books, 2016), Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has also published a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed! (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007), and is an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries and published in A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont. This episode is brought to you by the House of CHANEL, creator of the iconic J12 sports watch. Always in motion, the J12 travels through time without ever losing its identity. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Aug 11

37 min 42 sec

While you wait for the next episoe of Thresholds, we wanted to share a preview of a new podcast from our friends over at Wondery. Looking for a new podcast that's like Olivia Pope meets your favorite Ryan Murphy show? Or do you just love a good scandal? On True Love, a new fiction podcast from Wondery, you'll hear stories of scandalous flings, secret affairs, and the drama that ensues. TRUE LOVE brings these relationships to life through reimagined stories about love, lust and heartbreak. From secret celebrity hookups that play out under the cover of night to the web of lies it took to protect a high profile politician from revealing his secret life, each character finds themselves mixed up in every form of drama imaginable. This is just a preview of True Love, but you can listen to full episodes at wondery.fm/TL_Thresholds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Aug 7

5 min 6 sec

Jordan talks to Nadia Owusu, author of Aftershocks: A Memoir, about the familial revelations that inspired the book, about her journey through (and reclamation of) madness, and about coming to embrace the forces that have shaped her life. Nadia Owusu is a Ghanaian and Armenian-American writer and urbanist. Her first book, Aftershocks: A Memoir was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and topped several best-of lists in 2020. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay, So Devilish a Fire won the Atlas Review chapbook contest. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Lily, Orion, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Catapult, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, and others. By day, Nadia is the Director of Storytelling at Frontline Solutions. She is a graduate of Pace University (BA) and Hunter College (MS). She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction at the Mountainview low-residency program where she now teaches. She lives in Brooklyn. Thanks to Our Sponsors! Try MUBI for 30 Days at MUBI.com/Thresholds. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com -- and be sure to subscribe and review the show on your podcast platform! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Aug 4

42 min 42 sec

In this episode, Jordan talks to Michelle Orange about her new book, Pure Flame, the archetypal relationship between mothers and daughters, and the politics and perils of being a woman. Michelle Orange is author of Pure Flame (2021) and the essay collection This Is Running for Your Life, which was named a best book of 2013 by The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times, Slate, Bookforum, The Nation, and many other outlets. A contributing editor and columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review, she is a faculty mentor in the graduate writing program at Goucher College and an adjunct assistant professor of writing at Columbia University. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com -- and be sure to subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 28

41 min 41 sec

In this episode, Jordan talks to Rivka Galchen about the projects she never finishes, how hard it is for her to stay in love with an idea, and how often she throws projects away. They also talk about her most recent novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch, which Galchen says came out in a big “love-affair style rush.” Rivka Galchen is the author of Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch and is the recipient of a William Saroyan International Prize for Fiction and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, among other distinctions. She writes regularly for The New Yorker, whose editors selected her for their list of 20 Under 40 American fiction writers in 2010. Her debut novel Atmospheric Disturbances (2008) and her story collection American Innovations were both New York Times Best Books of the Year. She has received an MD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Galchen lives in New York City. Thanks to Our Sponsors! Try MUBI for 30 Days at MUBI.com/Thresholds. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com -- and be sure to subscribe and review the show on your podcast platform! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 21

48 min 44 sec

Kaveh Akbar’s poems appear in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paris Review, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. His second full-length volume of poetry, Pilgrim Bell, will be published by Graywolf in August 2021. His debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is out now with Alice James in the US and Penguin in the UK. He is also the author of the chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, published in 2016 by Sibling Rivalry Press. In 2022, Penguin Classics will publish a new anthology edited by Kaveh: The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 100 Poets on the Divine In 2020 Kaveh was named Poetry Editor of The Nation. The recipient of honors including multiple Pushcart Prizes, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, and the Levis Reading Prize, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. In 2014, Kaveh founded Divedapper, a home for dialogues with the most vital voices in American poetry. With Sarah Kay and Claire Schwartz, he wrote a weekly column for the Paris Review called "Poetry RX." Thanks to Our Sponsors! Try MUBI for 30 Days at MUBI.com/Thresholds. Talkspace. Get $100 off of your first month with code THRESHOLDS. for more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com and if you like what you hear, please leave us a review and subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 14

52 min 32 sec

Kristen Radtke is the author of the graphic nonfiction books Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (July 2021), for which she received a 2019 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, and Imagine Wanting Only This (2017) as well as the forthcoming graphic novel Terrible Men, all from Pantheon. She is the art director and deputy publisher of The Believer magazine.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Elle, Vogue, NPR.org, and many other places. Find her on Twitter @kristenradtke and on Instagram @kristenradtke_. Thanks to Our Sponsors! Try MUBI for 30 Days at MUBI.com/Thresholds. If you're enjoying Thresholds, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts! If you're looking for more episodes, check out our backlist at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 7

43 min 33 sec

Jericho Brown is author of the The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection, The Tradition won the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The Bennington Review, Buzzfeed, Fence, jubilat, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program and a professor at Emory University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 30

49 min 6 sec

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author of three novels, two memoirs, and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her novels include So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, Pulling Taffy, and Sketchtasy. Her first memoir, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award. Her recent memoir, The Freezer Door, has been longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Her most recent anthology, Why are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She recently completed a new anthology, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing up with the AIDS Crisis, which will be published in October. Her activism has included ACT UP in the early ’90s, Fed Up Queers in the late ’90s, Gay Shame, and other unnamed groups. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 23

52 min 24 sec

Patrick Cottrell is the author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (McSweeney's). His work has appeared in numerous places including Granta, Buzzfeed, Vice, Bomb, The White Review, and has been anthologized in Pets (Tyrant Books). He most recently guest-edited an issue of McSweeney's Quarterly dedicated to queer fiction. He's the winner of a Whiting Award in Fiction and his work is being translated into Korean, French, Italian, and Turkish. This episode's sponsors: Talkspace. Get $100 off of your first month with code THRESHOLDS. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 16

40 min 32 sec

Kristen Arnett is the author of With Teeth: A Novel (Riverhead Books, 2021) and the NYT bestselling debut novel Mostly Dead Things (Tin House, 2019) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in fiction. She is a queer fiction and essay writer. She was awarded Ninth Letter's Literary Award in Fiction, has been a columnist for Literary Hub, and was a Spring 2020 Shearing Fellow at Black Mountain Institute. Her work has appeared at The New York Times, The Cut, Oprah Magazine, North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Buzzfeed, Electric Literature, McSweeneys, PBS Newshour, Bennington Review, The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her next book (an untitled collection of short stories) will be published by Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House). She has a Masters in Library and Information Science from Florida State University and currently lives in Miami, Florida. You can find her on Twitter here: @Kristen_Arnett  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 9

42 min 35 sec

Donika Kelly is the author of THE RENUNCIATIONS (Graywolf 2021) and BESTIARY (Graywolf). BESTIARY is the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. The collection was also long listed for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for a Publishing Triangle Award and a Lambda Literary Award. A Cave Canem graduate fellow and member of the collective Poets at the End of the World, Donika has also received a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a summer workshop fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic online, The Paris Review, and Foglifter. She currently lives in Iowa City and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 2

45 min 4 sec

Hilary Leichter is the author of the novel Temporary, which was shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and longlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her writing has appeared in n+1, The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Times, and New York Magazine's The Cut. She teaches fiction at Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Foundation for the Arts. For more Thresholds, visit www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 26

34 min 35 sec

Born in Beijing, C Pam Zhang is mostly an artifact of the United States. She is the author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold, which won the Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award and the Asian/Pacific Award for Literature, was nominated for the Booker Prize, and was one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of the year. Zhang’s writing appears in Best American Short Stories, The Cut, McSweeney’s Quarterly, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. She is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com This week's sponsor: Get $100 off your first month with Talkspace. Visit talkspace.com and use promo code Thresholds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 19

38 min 16 sec

Rachel Kushner is the author of the internationally acclaimed novels THE MARS ROOM, THE FLAMETHROWERS, and TELEX FROM CUBA, as well as a book of short stories, THE STRANGE CASE OF RACHEL K. Her new book, THE HARD CROWD: ESSAYS 2000-2020 was published in April 2021. She has won the Prix Médicis and been a finalist for the Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Folio Prize, the James Tait Black Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was twice a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. She is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and the recipient of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her books have been translated into twenty-six languages. For more Thresholds, visit www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 12

43 min 7 sec

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His latest book, A Little Devil in America, was released in March 2021 to critical acclaim. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He released Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was released in 2019 by Tin House, and won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School. For more Thresholds, visit www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 5

36 min 51 sec

Ahmed Naji, a writer from Egypt, is presently a fellow at the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. His work touches on a variety of themes, including sci-fi, Islamic methodology, sex, friendship, prison literature, music, magic, and masculinity. Naji’s novel, Using Life, was among the “Tales of a Fantastic Future” shortlisted by the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards (2018). The work also led to a two-year prison sentence in Egypt for obscenity and disturbing public morals. Naji served a year of his sentence and was honored by the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award in 2016. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 28

46 min 4 sec

Aimee Nezhukumatathil (neh-ZOO / KOO-mah / tah-TILL) is the author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays and Kirkus Prize finalist, WORLD OF WONDERS: IN PRAISE OF FIREFLIES, WHALE SHARKS, & OTHER ASTONISHMENTS (2020, Milkweed Editions), which was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year. She has four previous poetry collections: OCEANIC (Copper Canyon Press, 2018), LUCKY FISH (2011), AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO (2007), and MIRACLE FRUIT (2003), the last three from Tupelo Press. Her most recent chapbook is LACE & PYRITE, a collaboration of epistolary garden poems with the poet Ross Gay. Her writing appears twice in the Best American Poetry Series, The New York Times Magazine, ESPN, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and Tin House. Honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. In 2021, she became the first-ever poetry editor for SIERRA magazine, the story-telling arm of The Sierra Club. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 21

38 min 32 sec

To celebrate the paperback release of Thin Places, this special episode features Jordan in the interview seat in a conversation with returning guest Lydia Millet! Jordan Kisner writes essays, features, and reviews for n+1, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, The Believer, and others. She also writes a column for The Paris Review. Her first book, Thin Places, was one of NPR’s “best books of 2020.” She is also the host of Thresholds. Lydia Millet has written more than a dozen novels and story collections, often about the ties between people and other animals and the crisis of extinction. Her latest novel A Children's Bible was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2020. She also writes essays, opinion pieces and other ephemera and has worked as an editor and staff writer at the Center for Biological Diversity since 1999. For more Thresholds, visit us at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 14

53 min 22 sec

Fariha Róisín is an NYC based, Australian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist with an interest in her wellness, Muslim identity, race, self-care pop culture. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Vice, Village Voice and others. She writes a weekly newsletter here and is also the Deputy Editor of Violet Book. She has published How To Cure A Ghost (Abrams, 2019), Being In Your Body (Abrams, 2019) and Like A Bird (Unnamed Press, 2020) which was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, Globe and Mail, Harper’s Bazaar, a must-read by Buzzfeed News and received a starred review by the Library Journal. Her first work of non-fiction is forthcoming and entitled Who Is Wellness For? On Radical Wellness (HarperWave, Spring 2022). For more Thresholds, visit www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 7

43 min 45 sec

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by Esquire, Book Riot, The Cut, Electric Literature, Bustle, Medium, Refinery29, The Brooklyn Rail, Salon, The Rumpus, and others. Her second essay collection, Girlhood, was published by Bloomsbury on March 30, 2021. A craft book will be published by Catapult in 2022. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 31

48 min 27 sec

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novels PARAKEET (New York Times Editors’ Choice) and 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS (NPR Best Books 2014), and the story collection SAFE AS HOUSES (Iowa Short Fiction Award). Her fourth book, the novel BEAUTYLAND, is forthcoming from FSG. Her work has been translated into eight languages, and has received The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellowship in Cork, Ireland, The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize and two special mentions, fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook Writers Colony, The Center For Fiction NYC, and Sewanee Writers Conference, where she was the Walter E. Dakin fellow. Her work has twice been featured on NPR’s “Selected Shorts” program. A former editor for One Story and Catapult, she teaches fiction in the MFA programs of NYU and The New School. In Spring 2020 she was the Distinguished Kittredge Visiting Writer in University of Montana’s MFA. She has worked as a biographer for people living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). For more Thresholds, visit www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 24

41 min 2 sec

Esmé Weijun Wang is a novelist and essayist. She is the author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias (2019), and a debut novel, The Border of Paradise, which was called a Best Book of 2016 by NPR. She was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017 and won the Whiting Award in 2018. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, she is the founder of The Unexpected Shape Community for ambitious writers living with illness and disability. She can be found at esmewang.com and on Twitter @esmewang. Find more Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 17

45 min 9 sec

Lynn Steger Strong’s most recent novel, Want, was one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Books of 2020. Her first novel, Hold Still, was released by Liveright/WW Norton in 2016. Her nonfiction has been published by Guernica, Los Angeles Review of Books, Elle.com, Catapult, Lit Hub, and others. She teaches both fiction and non-fiction writing at Columbia University, Fairfield University, and the Pratt Institute. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 10

41 min 18 sec

Born in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1982, Fernanda Melchor is widely recognized as one of the most exciting new voices of Mexican literature. Her novel Hurricane Season was a finalist for the 2020 Man Booker International Prize and was long-listed for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature. A collection, This Is Not Miami, is forthcoming from New Directions. Find more Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 3

44 min 54 sec

Lydia Millet has written more than a dozen novels and story collections, often about the ties between people and other animals and the crisis of extinction. Her latest novel A Children's Bible was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2020, her story collection Fight No More received an Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2019, and her collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. She also writes essays, opinion pieces and other ephemera and has worked as an editor and staff writer at the Center for Biological Diversity since 1999. She lives in the desert outside Tucson with her children and boyfriend. Find more from Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 24

48 min 47 sec

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His new poem, Be Holding, was released from the University of Pittsburgh Press in September of 2020. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019. Ross is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Rosechard Wehrenberg, of the chapbook, "River." Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He also works on The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London.  Visit Thresholds online at www.thisisthresholds.com. Thanks to Literati Kids for sponsoring this episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 17

49 min 36 sec

Today, we revisit our 2020 conversation with Suleika Jaouad in celebration of her memoir, Between Two Kingdoms, which was released this week. Suleika Jaouad is an Emmy Award-winning writer, speaker, cancer survivor, and activist. She served on Barack Obama's President's Cancer Panel, and her advocacy work, reporting, and speaking has been featured at the United Nations, on Capitol Hill, and on the TED Talk main stage. When she's not on the road with her 1972 Volkswagen camper van and her rescue dog Oscar, she lives in Brooklyn. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 10

33 min 53 sec

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet, subsequently novelist, public talker and art journalist. A Sagittarius, their 22 books include For Now, evolution, Afterglow, I Must Be Living Twice/new & selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim, a Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, 4 Lambda Book Awards, the Shelley Prize, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In 2016, they received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. In 2019 Myles received a poetry award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. In 2020 they got the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. They live in New York and Marfa, TX. Thank you to The House of Chanel for sponsoring this episode. Find out more at inside.Chanel.com. Find more from Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 3

44 min 14 sec

The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Margo Jefferson previously served as book and arts critic for Newsweek and the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Vogue, New York Magazine, The Nation, and Guernica. Her memoir, Negroland, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. She is also the author of On Michael Jackson and is a professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts. Thank you to The House of Chanel for sponsoring this episode. Find out more at inside.Chanel.com. Find more from Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 27

45 min 52 sec

Catherine Lacey is the author of four works of fiction: Nobody Is Ever Missing, The Answers, Certain American States, and Pew. She's recently published work in The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Believer. Her books have been translated into several languages​.​She is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of the Whiting Award, and earned an artists' fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Granta Magazine named her one of their "Best of Young American Novelists" in 2017. She was nominated for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and has held residencies at the Omi International Arts Center. Thank you to The House of Chanel for sponsoring this episode. Find out more at inside.Chanel.com. Find more from Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 20

45 min 48 sec

Raven Leilani's debut novel, Luster, was released in August 2020 and won the Kirkus Prize and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her work has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Yale Review, Conjunctions, The Cut, and New England Review, among other publications. She completed her MFA at NYU. Thank you to The House of Chanel for sponsoring this episode. Find out more at inside.Chanel.com. Find more from Thresholds at www.thisisthresholds.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 13

43 min 4 sec

As we prepare for the 2021 season of Thresholds, we took a look back at some of our favorite conversations from 2020 including excerpts from interviews with Mira Jacob, Ocean Vuong, Natalie Diaz, Carmen Maria Machado, Alexander Chee, and Mychal Denzel Smith. New episodes of Thresholds coming every Wednesday, starting 1/13/21! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 6

29 min 40 sec