A Conversation Between Peter and Reed Turchi

Faculty member Peter Turchi is interviewed about his newest book A Muse and a Maze by his son Reed for The Believer:


REED TURCHI: Well, now that I’ve cut out all of the paper polygons from the last page of A Muse and A Maze and made what looks like a duck-rabbit, should my writing have improved? In the end, should I even be trying to solve the puzzle, or enjoying my polygonic-wanderings?

PETER TURCHI: Actually solving the puzzles in the book isn’t going to improve anyone’s writing, but “trying to solve the puzzle” is one way to think about what a lot of us—writers and other artists—do every day. Step one is to recognize the problem, step two is deciding what constraints you want to impose or respect, and step three is finding a pleasing/surprising/exciting solution.

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“Not a Just World but a Lavish One” by Michael Puican

A poem by alumnus Michael Puican (poetry, ’09) appears at The Cortland Review:

A green river bells and
comes into hue, a blues
riff slices the dusk, crows
caw from a trash barge

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“Flyte” by Dawn Abeita

A new piece by alumna Dawn Abeita (fiction, ’96) appears in the Belle Rêve Literary Journal:

The baby ran away. The baby was always running away. Like a leaf, he would skitter off down the gutter. And so she was left to leave affairs mid-stride, to dash half bent, scuttling crab-like after, trying to catch a hand. She was a mean, mean mommy, yelling in the street.

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Robert Boswell Interviews Peter Turchi

Faculty member Robert Boswell interviews faculty member Peter Turchi regarding Turchi’s newest book A Muse and a Maze for Fiction Writers Review:

Pete Turchi and I met in graduate school at the University of Arizona. We had the good luck to be in a fiction workshop led by Francine Prose, and we discovered that we had a lot in common: we both loved lousy baseball teams (well, Pete’s team won the World Series that year, but went on to embarrass themselves for decades), and we suffered cheerfully through long seasons with the same combination of pluck and denial. We both had girlfriends who were smarter and better looking than we were, and we pondered the enigma of their apparent interest in us. We both had been raised by good-hearted parents who had climbed from meager beginnings to the lowest rungs of the middle class and who were worried and baffled by our belief that we might escape the 8-to-5 schlep by investing in language and narrative.We both loved literature with a particularly desperate dedication, wishing to write novels that would express the beautiful, terrible wonder of the human treadmill. We both drank beer.

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You can also read “The Pleasures of Difficulty” from A Muse and a Maze on the Tin House blog.

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Margaree interviews Brian

UnknownRecently, poetry Alum Margaree Little (’12) interviewed poetry alum Brian Blanchfield (’99) for the MFA Program for Writers Website.

Your second book of poems, A Several World, received the 2014 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award. But you’re currently focusing on prose, and a book of essays, Onesheets, forthcoming from Nightboat Books. Could you talk about Onesheets

So “onesheets” are single-subject essays that take no recourse in authoritative sources— I think through the topic at hand and report on what it is I know or estimate or remember or misremember about it. And about each subject I begin with some notion that there’s some hot territory in it for me, some dicey personal territory. So even if I may not quite know what that is, I trust that the process, in these 2,000-word essays, (3,000 tops), I arrive at this rather naked place and report from there. Some of them very much need a loincloth.

The subjects are all over the place—miscellany is part of the project and hopefully part of the joy of it—they’re about foot washing, Br’er Rabbit, the locus amoenus in the pastoral tradition, tumbleweed, house sitting, the Leave in billiards. But yes—I’m the single source of the essays, which feels like it connects with the oldest traditions of essaying, a kind of radical empiricism that’s not about getting it right, and that performs thinking on the spot.


Read the rest of the interview at the Program Website.

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