Episode 92: Ashly Stohl

Ashly Stohl is a photographer based in Los Angeles and New York. In the artist statement for her latest series, The Days & Years, Ashly writes, “In photography, they say that all portraits are really self portraits. So what are portraits of your kids? They are portraits of a parent.” In our conversation, we talked about artistic collaboration, personal photography, and the perception of motherhood in art and society. Then in the second segment we talked about the differences between New York and LA.

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Episode 52 (RERUN): Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey's two recent novellas, River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, were a huge amount of fun for me as a fan of both Westerns and speculative fiction. Our conversation covered both of those books, her serialized novelette The Fisher of Bones, as well as her Hugo-nominated column at Tor.com about the women of Harry Potter. In the second segment, Sarah talked to me about Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg.

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Episode 91: Michelle Brittan Rosado

Michelle Brittan Rosado is a poet based in Long Beach, CA. In her book Why Can’t It Be Tenderness, Michelle writes about California, Malaysia, and the space between, about divorce, and life transition, and new love. In our conversation we talked about her book, about her creative process and how she thinks about poetic form, and about mixed-race identity. Then in the second section we talked about the history of the pantoum, and our experiences with English-language versions of Asian poetic forms.

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Episode 90: Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a physician and writer. I read Chaya’s short story collection White Dancing Elephants this spring and really enjoyed it, both because of the way it centered South Asian and women’s stories, and for the complex, complicated relationships at the heart of each story. In our conversation, Chaya and I talked about White Dancing Elephants; about Seamus Heaney, punishment, and complicity; and about whose stories get called “dark.” Then for the second segment, we talked about some of Chaya’s favorite poets, and why poetry is important to her.

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Episode 89: Julia Dixon Evans

Julia Dixon Evans is a writer based in San Diego, CA. I read Julia’s novel How to Set Yourself on Fire recently and was quite taken with her use of voice and the strong characterization of the story’s narrator, Sheila. In our conversation, Julia and I talked about her book, about experimenting with form as a writer, and about the question of likability. Then for the second segment we talked about trail running, and pushing yourself both physically and creatively.

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Episode 87: David Bowles

David Bowles is a writer based in south Texas. David’s latest book of poems, They Call Me Güero, is a middle-grade novel-in-verse about a light-skinned Mexican-American boy who is just entering the seventh grade. In the book, David portrays the life of a border kid with all its joys and challenges. In our conversation we talked about that book, as well as about David’s collection of the myths and legends of pre-Colombian Mexico, Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky. We discussed the importance of representation, especially for young people of color. Then for the second segment, David and I talked about finding our way to a softer masculinity, and seeking out pop culture that makes us cry.

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Episode 86: Lydia Kiesling

Lydia Kiesling is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Lydia’s debut novel, The Golden State, is a lot of things: a road trip story, an intimate portrayal of young parenthood, a portrait of a far-Northern California community, and more. In our conversation, Lydia and I talked about The Golden State, her nonfiction writing, and the relationship between the two forms. We also discussed the ephemerality of parenting experiences, the power of nostalgia, and what rural California is like. Then in the second segment, Lydia chose as her topic the lives of Marshall and Phyllis Hodgson.

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Episode 85: Mariela Sancari

Mariela Sancari is an Argentinian-born photographer based in Mexico City. Mariela’s series Moisés—a typology of portraits of men the age her late father would have been if he were still alive—is, in a way, a searching as well as an exploration of grief. In our conversation, Mariela and I talked about the how collaboration shapes her projects, how she uses iteration to create something new from existing work, and what the photobook form is and isn’t good for. Then in the second segment we talked about the unconscious references that inform our photographic work.

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Episode 84: Matika Wilbur

Matika Wilbur, of the Swinomish and Tulalip tribes, is a photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. For her current endeavor, Project 562, Matika has visited hundreds of tribes across the United States, making portraits and sharing contemporary Native stories to counteract the stereotypes and misinformation so prevalent in mainstream media and history textbooks. In our conversation, Matika and I talked about the origins of Project 562, her collaborative portrait-making process, and the difference between activism and storytelling. Then for the second segment, Matika talked about ways to indigenize our spaces, acknowledge our indigenous communities, and form a relationship with the land.

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Episode 83: Shivanee Ramlochan

Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet, arts reporter, and book blogger. I had the opportunity to read Shivanee’s book of poems Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting a few months ago and I found it a powerful experience. In our conversation, Shivanee and I talked about her book, making art out of our traumas, and navigating audience responses to our work. Then in the second segment, we talked about how few opportunities there can be for marginalized writers, and how this often creates an unnecessarily competitive environment.

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Michael SakasegawaWriting, Poetry
Episode 82: Victoria Mara Heilweil

Victoria Mara Heilweil is a photographic artist, curator, and educator based in San Francisco, CA. I met Victoria at an opening here in San Diego a couple of years ago and immediately hit it off with her, as our work is very much on the same wavelength. In our conversation we talked about the importance of imperfection and the everyday in her work, placing her work in a feminist context, and her experience as an independent curator in San Francisco. Then for the second segment, we talked about the state of education in the United States, and the lack of respect given to teachers.

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Episode 81: Mike Sakasegawa

To celebrate the third anniversary of Keep the Channel Open, photographer Daniel Gonçalves turned the tables on me and took on the role of podcast host in order to spend some time talking about my own work. In our conversation, Daniel and I discussed my photographs and creative process, making an emotional connection through art, and why quiet masculinity is important to me.

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Episode 80: Jerry Takigawa

Jerry Takigawa is a photographer, designer, and writer based in Carmel Valley, CA. In his photo series Balancing Cultures, Jerry explores his family’s history during the Japanese American Internment, creating striking and beautiful compositions that tell the story of a dark chapter in our nation’s past. In our conversation, I talked with Jerry about this body of work, about our shared identity as Japanese Americans, and about how he developed a visual vocabulary that has evolved throughout his artistic career.

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Episode 79: Rachel Lyon

Rachel Lyon is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Rachel’s debut novel Self-Portrait With Boy caught my attention for its complex depiction of a young artist in 1990’s Brooklyn, and the story has stuck with me in the months since I first read it. In our conversation, Rachel and I talked about the similarities between her novel and one of her earlier short stories, about the necessity of art in the contemporary world, and about the way her novel and its characters engage with questions of class. Then in the second segment, we talked about alcoholism and the role drinking plays in our culture.

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Episode 78: David Naimon

David Naimon is a writer and the host of the literature podcast Between the Covers, one of my absolute favorite podcasts. On his show, David brings a deep curiosity and impressive intellect to every conversation, making for some of the most engaging and in-depth interviews I’ve ever heard. In our conversation, David and I talked about the similarities and differences between our two shows, about the craft of interviewing, as well as about his own writing. Then in the second segment, David asked the question, is there a way for us as a society to change the way we tell stories that might enact change in our relationship to the natural world?

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Episode 77: Brandon Thibodeaux

Brandon Thibodeaux is a photographer based in Dallas, TX. At the Medium Festival of Photography this year, Brandon presented his series In That Land of Perfect Day, in which he looks at faith, identity, and perseverance in a group of five African-American communities in the Mississippi Delta. In our conversation we talked about the project, the importance of empathy, and the responsibility of documentary photography. Then in the second segment, Brandon and I talked about the interaction between our personal work and our careers.

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Episode 10 (RERUN): Claire A. Warden

The images from Claire A. Warden's series Mimesis are visually striking and delightfully inscrutable. Like most viewers, I was immediately grabbed by them when I first saw them, but it wasn't until I talked with Claire and read her artist's statement that I really understood what she was trying to say with these pictures. Having that experience, though, really deepened my appreciation for the work. This week, Claire and I talked about her unique process and the reason why it's so important that this series exist in the context of photography. In the second segment, we discussed race and being and immigrant, and how that affects the way one's identity forms.

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Episode 38 (RERUN): Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor is a writer and graduate student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. One of my favorite contemporary writers, Brandon's short stories are marvelously crafted, understated and emotionally charged, while his personal essays and cultural critique are insightful and often lyrical—all of it is just a joy to read. In today's conversation, Brandon and I talked about his work and his process, how he often finds himself inventing around the margins of the stories he takes in, and how and why he always resists the reductive take. For the second segment, Brandon chose expectation as his topic, both the excitement and terror of one's own anticipation of the future, but also the expectations others can put on us.

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Episode 31 (RERUN): Christina Riley

Christina Riley is a photographer and musician currently based in Seaside, California. When I first saw Christina's 2014 book Back to Me, I was immediately blown away by the emotional power and authenticity of the photographs. We talked about Christina's experience with bipolar disorder, her photographic process, and what it's like to move from Ontario, Canada to a small coastal community in Northern California. For the second segment, Christina chose change as her topic.

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