John King and I discuss JUVENTUD in the latest episode of The Drunken Odyssey

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Such a pleasure it was to have this conversation with my friend and Drunken Odyssey host, John King, about my debut novel, Juventud, what inspired the story, and to a greater extent, the novel-writing process. You may listen here:

Interview with Vanessa Blakeslee about her novel, Juventud

More to come soon — today’s book tour stop brings me to the Heartland Fall Forum in Chicago, IL, where I’ll be pitching the novel to independent booksellers from across the Midwest in a speed-dating style lunch event cleverly dubbed, the “Moveable Feast.” Wish me luck!


In our latest podcast-odyssey, John King and I explore “On the Sublime” by Longinus

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What would our joint-study of ancient “writers on writing” be without a thorough examination of this work? On the Sublime may not be touted in writing classrooms as often as Aristotle’s Poetics, but the treatise still offers salient wisdom on what makes great literature resonate. In this latest episode of our up-close series on craft texts, John King and I discuss the relevance of On the Sublime to working writers today, in the context of contemporary works by Saul Bellow, Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison, Rick Moody, Hunter S. Thompson, and others. Although Longinus’s prose is often dry, legalistic, and meandering (and my contribution peppered with a few sleep-deprived gaffes, which hopefully adds to the entertainment value) our examination ultimately proved meaningful and lively. You may listen to the full episode here:

Roundtable Discussion of MFA vs. NYC with John King, Vanessa Blakeslee, Boris Fishman, and David James Poissant

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AWP 2015 Minneapolis is just a few days away, and appropriately enough, the latest episode of The Drunken Odyssey podcast follows suit, with a lively, at times heated, Roundtable Discussion of the much-buzzed essay collection MFA vs. NYC. My partner-in-crime a.k.a. host John King and I are joined by Boris Fishman, author of the fine novel, A Replacement Life, and David James Poissant, author of the delightful debut story collection, The Heaven of Animals, both of which debuted in 2014.

You can listen to the episode here:

This week at The Drunken Odyssey with John King: Chekhov’s watermelon, Wes Anderson, and “How Fiction Works” by James Wood

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John King and I discuss and digress upon the above topics, as well as Henry James, the flaneur, Twin Peaks, and more in the latest episode of The Drunken Odyssey podcast. How do these far-flung topics tie back to our craft text, How Fiction Works by esteemed critic James Wood, you may ask? You’ll just have to tune in and find out.  Merely click the link below ~ thanks for listening!


Having tea with Horace: I talk “Ars Poetica” with John King at The Drunken Odyssey podcast

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“Study to be wise,” states Horace. Can creative writing be taught, and can we trace the first MFA program back to 1st century Rome? In the latest episode of The Drunken Odyssey podcast, John King and I discuss our 2nd ancient tome on the craft of storytelling, Horace’s Ars Poetica. Our lively banter delves into tangential topics such as dissecting the gore and decadence in narrative via the context of Shakespeare’s King Lear and MacBeth, Medea, ExcaliburGame of Thrones and more.

A Craft Discussion on Aristotle’s Poetics at The Drunken Odyssey Podcast

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This month kicks off a series of conversations I’ll be having with John King, host of The Drunken Odyssey literary podcast, on craft books and how they relate to writing today. We’ll be exploring texts from ancient to modern, beginning with this week’s discussion of Aristotle’s Poetics; next up is Douglas Glover’s Attack of the Copula Spiders. You can listen to the inaugural episode here: