Wednesday night at 8 on KPFK 90.7 FM: ALISA SLAUGHTER. My guest this week has somehow dramatically amplified what should be most obvious and unremarkable about our lives in the Southland – our clumsy sharing and easy noncooperation with animal lives --- and served it up to us in perversely, delightfully proto myth: “varieties of animal story, anthropomorphized morality and crypto-poltical tales,” Alisa Slaughter has herself called this. Cougar goes to a ball game, Raven is foreclosed, Coyote is a downtown street vendor. It’s hard --- by which I mean, easy and fun and rewarding! --- to try and tell where they end and we begin in Slaughter’s accommodating fictional worldview. She is author of the new collection Bad Habitats, winner of USC’s Gold Line Press chapbook collection. Teacher and essayist, and now author of a debut short story collection, Alisa Slaughter has produced an ongoing, evolving if you will, revisionist history of our relations – pun intended - to the creatures and places around us. Bad Habitats is only six stories but with a much larger vision indeed, of a Southern California you will recognize if you look carefully, as she has, where human animal and wild animal residents interact, share and fight for resources, where easy transformation and cooptation and sometimes reluctant empathy are all part of survival across the Southland. Thanks for listening on the radio, online, or as a download free from the KPFK station archives. Friend me on Facebook.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Tonight at 8 PM on KPFK 90.7 FM in
Southern California: GARY AMDAHL.
What a pleasure it is to host in studio at last a writer whose work has
meant so much to me over many years both in terms of his professional artistic struggle
with a weird industry and his success as a devoted craftsman of a kind of prose
that explores ideas and character, place and politics with such attention to
language as to cause readers to stop and reread, sometimes perhaps out loud,
before advancing further to plot and premise.
Gary Amdahl is the author of a first collection called Visigoth, which won the Milkweed
National Fiction Prize. His second book
was two novellas, published together as I
am Death. And now arrives The Intimidator Still Lives in Our Hearts,
a second short and long story collection that is perhaps his most representative,
ambitious and richly complex yet entertaining.
This collection is a good introduction to a writer about whom you should
know and care, and a reward for his many long-time fans. Throughout the stories there is
simultaneously the voice of a dramaturge, sometimes out front, sometimes less
autobiographical, but always familiar --- and a consciousness, of the artist in
whose trust we are affirmed and challenged.
Amdahl’s collection brings together recent stories originally seen in A Public Space, Agni, Massachusetts Review,
Liquake and, yes, Santa Monica Review. Gary Amdahl is one of the smartest, most
talented, most rewarding writers you can read.
Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, and as a free download
from the station’s archives.