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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wednesday, May 26 Essayist John D'Agata

My guest Wednesday at 2:30 has been praised as an innovator whose contribution to the essay form is lyricism and complexity, and a writer whose prose offers a kind of reassesment of consciousness. But he is also a terrific storyteller, whose ambition is fully realized in juxtaposing detail, character, information and memoir to create work that is poetic and accessible, not to mention honest. In John D’Agata’s newest book, About a Mountain, the writer investigates the impossible contradictions of science and imagination at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed storage site for U.S. nuclear waste. He juxtaposes this big story with the death by suicide story of a teenager living in nearby Las Vegas, a city D’Agata portrays as so impossibly fake and contrived that it makes life there as we know it nearly as strange a premise as that of the nuclear waste storage facility. John D’Agata is the author of Halls of Fame and editor of The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay. He teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he lives.

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