On-Line Conversations


Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar in conversation. (Nora Lewis photograph)
Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar in conversation. (Nora Lewis photograph)


Mary Cappello and Namwali Serpell discuss LECTURE, hosted by Community Books/Brooklyn, September 8, 2020

On ephemeral forms and quest-driven genres; a shoemaker’s fascicles; the power of veering; on the lull, the nap, on clarity and fog; on the pedagogic versus the instructional; on the extemporized

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A conversation with Eric LeMay for The New Books Network, December 1, 2020

On the lecture as antidote to the bully pulpit of the mind; on finding the lecture where we least expect it; on imagining the lecture that does not yet exist; on how the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election put the verb “to speculate” under erasure; on precariousness and mortality

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An interview Ken Volante’s Podcast, “Something Rather than Nothing” in which Ken asks what were you like as a young human? who or what made you what you are? why do you create? what is art? why is there something rather than nothing? On the politics and theorization of memoir @ 55:14.

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“Breaking the Rules with Mary Cappello,” with Nicole Walker for Essay Daily
On finding a form for the imperceptible; habitat dioramas; creative captioning; mood conductors; breaking the abstract/concrete rule; nonfiction’s uncanny; jubilant physics; seductive surfaces and the challenge of our contemporary moment; cyanometers; the crepuscular; middle of the night moods; breaking the rules or breaking the ruler; & audacity of form
Essay Daily — November 21, 2016
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The Mood Listener: Barrie Jean Borich Interviews Mary Cappello
On sonic memoir, embodied criticism, queer corporeal idea, e-mail as a literary form, off-limit affective states, hover and drift, unnamed feelings, writing as mood, mood as essay, interruption, suspended attentions, books that defy category, rhizomatic taxonomies, misogyny, the US presidency and the mood of the nation
Los Angeles Review of Books — November 13, 2016
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Creative Nonfiction Conversations: An Interview with Julija Šukys
on the almanack as literary form; the slow reveal; Ben Franklin and Djuna Barnes; non-knowledge useless knowledge; contemporary affectlessness; hiding in full light; ASMRs; minimalism and excess; mood disorder or attention shifts; the universal mood room; anger rooms; hallucinogens; and taxidermy
Creative Nonfiction Conversations — December 7, 2016
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Jacket Copy: Books, authors and all things bookish
by Carolyn Kellogg
On the most interesting book assigned in school.
Los Angeles Times — November 11, 2010
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Propellor Quarterly
with Sarah Kruse
On the uncanny, counter-intuition, cabinets of curiosity, aesthetics of the spiral, detours, tone, altered states, prepositions, word auras, changing the language, arrangement and derangement, the tug of narrative, and non-narrative assemblage.
Propeller: A Quarterly of Lit, Art, Film and Culture — Fall 2011
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The Conversant
with Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar
On turning points in life and in art; the spiritual (as distinct from religious) underpinnings of artistic practice; the place where a writing project begins and where it arrives; the interplay of mastery and humility in making art; the pleasures and challenges of imagining audience.
2014 Ocean State Summer Writing Conference — November 2014
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Voluptuously, Expansively, Historically, Contradictorily: Essaying the Interview
with Mary Cappello and David Lazar
On convergence, coincidence, peregrination, digression, improvisation, character actors, psychoanalytic logic, the auditory sublime, mood rooms, Georges Perec, Charlie Chaplin, creative writing pedagogy, and overcoats.
The Conversant — October 26, 2013
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Disconcerting Pleasures; or, The Mysterious Unknowability of the Mind
with Mary Cappello and Christine Montross
On the divergence between literary and psychiatric narratives of disease.
BLP Conversations — May 23, 2014
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The Conversant Staging
On beauty: anti-beauty, un-beauty, disruptive beauty, and uncontained beauty in poetry and the essay; trauma and poetic practice; writing violence and literary nonfiction; letting the wild in; queer Italian/Americana; the contrapuntal and distillate forms; lyrical space; confluent energies; writing light; and plaid.
Mary Cappello with Peter Covino — December 2012
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