The acclaimed poet Diana Goetsch has now published “This Body I Wore,” which our reviewer, Manuel Betancourt, called an “achingly beautiful memoir” about “a trans woman’s often vexed relationship with her own body.” On this week’s podcast, Goetsch talks about her approach to writing.
“My assumption always, as a poet and as a writer, is — I’m a generalist. And I just think the most idiosyncratic thing about ourselves also happens to be the most universal, if we can get to it and present it in the right way,” she says. “It was never my primary objective to give information about a transition, even if somebody’s initial attraction is prurient. They can now get that on Wikipedia or something. I particularly love artists who have what I call the common touch — Bruce Springsteen has the common touch. my old mentor William Zinsser has the common touch; the ability to say something very well, but also not exclude anyone from it at the same time.”
CJ Hauser visits the podcast to talk about her new essay collection, “The Crane Wife,” the title essay of which became an online phenomenon after The Paris Review published it in 2019. She describes her attempt to overcome the idea that love needs to have a grand narrative attached to it.
“In my family, we love stories. We’re sort of Don Quixote people. We’ve read so many stories and we self-mythologize and we tell stories,” Hauser says. “By the end of the book, I come out into a place of telling a kind of static love story or slow-growing love story. What does it mean to not conflate drama with love, and does love need to be dramatic? Because I think that’s a thing that I inherited.”
Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter discusses new novels about race and racism that find freedom in satire; and Lauren Christensen and Joumana Khatib talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.
Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin
“Mating” by Norman Rush
“Norwood” by Charles Portis
We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to email@example.com.