“Strange Songs That Invite You In Gently”: An Interview With Shana Cleveland

The last time I talked with Shana Cleveland, her band La Luz was in the midst of releasing a host of EPs. Since then, they’ve released one full-length, It’s Alive, on Hardly Art, with a followup due out later this year. She’s also released her debut solo album: Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles’ Oh Man, Cover the Ground, on Suicide Squeeze. While it shares a haunting quality with her work in La Luz, Oh Man, Cover the Ground also features […]

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Working Titles, Midwestern Winters, and the Allure of the Squid: An Interview With Matthew Gavin Frank

“So,” you think to yourself. “I’m looking to read a long essay–one that riffs on the fictionalization of history, music in the Borscht Belt, and the way that authors can become obsessed with history. Oh, and it should have squid in it. The giant squid, if at all possible.” And lo: you seek out Matthew Gavin Frank‘s Preparing the Ghost, a fascinating meditation on all of the topics in question. Frank begins with a photograph taken by Moses Harvey of a […]

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Magic Realism, Family Sagas, and Punk Rock: An Interview with Sarah McCarry

Sarah McCarry‘s novel All Our Pretty Songs was one of my favorite books of last year: its story blended smart observations about music and a loving portrayal of Seattle with mythological overtones. Said novel is the first book of a trilogy; the second, Dirty Wings, leaps back in time to examine the friendship of Maia and Cass, whose daughters were at the center of All Our Pretty Songs. (I should probably mention now that I’m part of a group that’s thanked in the […]

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The Confessional Geographies of Jamie Iredell

Jamie Iredell is equally skilled at writing heartfelt nonfiction and far more surreal works that defy quick classification. He can also tell you, on sight, what size jacket, pants, and hat you wear. The man has talents that extend far beyond the realm of writing; he’s also a remarkably congenial guy, a gripping reader, and someone whose participation in the literary community takes many forms. Iredell’s new collection of essays, I Was A Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac, touches on subjects […]

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“Bookselling Made a Writer Out of Me”: An Interview With Matthew Simmons

Matthew Simmons’s new collection Happy Rock expertly moves from beatific realism to quietly forays into the fantastic. These glimpses of lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula focus on everything from suburban isolation to low-key superpowers; they’re alternately wistful and devastating. More impressive still is the diference in style between this collection and his earlier books, the experimental novella A Jello Horse and the black-metal-inspired The Moon Tonight Feels My Revenge. I caught up with Simmons to discuss his experience as a bookseller, Michigan lit, and […]

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