Lizzie Skurnick & Wendy Lesser (BSS #13)

Authors: Lizzie Skurnick and Wendy Lesser

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Slightly hoarse but nostalgic for trains.

Subjects Discussed: The mania of poets, poetic meters, the prejudice against Spenserian stanza, the difficulties of getting a poetry collection published, writing while driving, husband poems, masturbation, clandestine encounters, educating a native Californian about Tyringham, Mass., Horace, the use of first-person voice (both singular and royal), Aimee Bender, the personality of numbers and letters, the dubiously romantic appeal of rocks (from Marlowe on), names, pronunciation, online identities, blogs oriented around eavesdropping, Paul Auster’s film adaptations, the ethics of writing about people, the title of The Pagoda in the Garden, Coim Toibin’s The Master, novella collections as novels, Michael Cunningham, the importance of fiction, anonymous protagonists, basing fiction on real experience, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Harry Thomas as editor, U.S. Presidents as reference points, historical cycles in fiction, Philip Klass’s 1975 statement on freedoms, women’s freedoms, profanity, Samizdat, love, an unexpected answering machine message, playing with perspective, Gilbert Sorrentino, the influence of literary criticism on writing fiction, postmodernism vs. traditionalism, mysteries, and plotting.