Dead Parents Society
By Jamie-Lee Josselyn
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Dead Parents Society is a series from the Kelly Writers House about writing about the loss of a parent, hosted by University of Pennsylvania creative writing instructor Jamie-Lee Josselyn. We are particularly interested in emerging writers who experienced their loss at a young age and whose writing and world view have been shaped, at least in part, by this. Our goal is to have frank, open conversation on a topic that many of us learned to be quiet or guarded about.
||ExplicitEpisode 12: John Culhane on "Little Mirrors of Mortality"||Slate.com contributor and Widener Law professor John Culhane joins Jamie-Lee and Maya to read and discuss his piece "Little Mirrors of Mortality," which is from the perspective of a parent realizing his mortality in his children's eyes. Our usual perspective is flipped, in a sense, to great effect thanks to John's piece. We also discuss John's perspective as a gay dad who came out later in life, and relate the idea of "coming out" to how those who've lost parents young choose to identify themselves.||10/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 11: Arielle Brousse on "Grief Beach"||Arielle Brousse, author of the TinyLetter "Grief Beach" joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss how she came to write a weekly letter to friends and others about her difficult year of loss and how the form of a TinyLetter has impacted her writing, her grieving, and her relationships. They also discuss writing about not just grieving the death of two of her grandparents, but the end of a long-term relationship as well.||9/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 10: Jamie-Lee Josselyn on "When News of a Suicide Comes During Memoir Class"||Bassini Apprentices Maya Arthur and Sabrina Qiao interview Jamie-Lee Josselyn on her essay, "When News of a Suicide Comes During Memoir Class" from LitHub in September 2016. They discuss how personal history and the writing that comes from it converges with and remains separate from the work of a creative writing teacher.||9/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 9: Jess Bergman on "The Difficult Business of Dying"||Jess Bergman (@jesslbergman), Features Editor at Literary Hub, joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss her essay "The Difficult Business of Dying" from The New Republic in December 2017. In the essay, Jess weaves together her own experience of mourning her father with Caitlin Doughty's book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, which examines the funeral industry in the United States as well as mourning rituals across cultures.||8/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 8: Catherine Ricketts on "Eloquent Limbs" and "Books to be Buried In"||Essayist and songwriter Catherine Ricketts (http://catherinedanaricketts.com/) joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss her essay "Eloquent Limbs" and her song "Books to be Buried In," which she also performs. Cat, who joined us for our live event in April, discusses how she decides to approach particular experiences through songwriting versus through essay writing, her direct and vivid approach to writing about her father's illness and death, and how her conversations with him informed this.||7/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 7: Victoria Ford on "Elegy for Clitoris"||The poet and essayist Victoria Newton Ford joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss her poem "Elegy for Clitoris" from Connotation Press. Victoria has said that she writes "to tell the truth, and the truth is often hideous. And though it feels good to write, I don't write to make the reader feel good, particularly. I write to make you feel. To honor my own feeling, which is another way to honor the fact that I exist. And so, it is my duty to witness and speak while I'm here."||7/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 6: Scott Gould and Jamie-Lee Josselyn on the pedagogy of writing about difficult experience||Jamie-Lee talks with the writer Scott Gould, who is the director of creative writing at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, about how he approaches working with high school students who are facing difficult personal material, including, but not limited to loss and grief. They discuss general classroom pedagogy, specific essays to use in discussions, and more.||6/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 5: Jamie-Lee Josselyn and Kristen Martin on Hope Edelman's "Motherless Daughters"||Jamie-Lee Josselyn (@jljosselyn) and Kristen Martin (@kwistent) discuss Hope Edelman's 1994 book Motherless Daughters, which has remained successful in the more than 2 decades since its release. Jamie-Lee and Kristen, whose mothers died from suicide and cancer respectively, discuss the book's form, its longevity, how it enables readers to both connect through their own experience and learn about losses much different from their own, and other topics. For more on Hope Edelman, visit: http://hopeedelman.com/ or follow her on Twitter: @hope_edelman.||6/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 4: Kristen Martin on "Don't Cover Your Eyes"||Sabrina Qiao, Maya Arthur, and Jamie-Lee Josselyn gather with Kristen Martin (@kwistent) to discuss her essay "Don't Cover Your Eyes," from Catapult in 2016. Kristen's essay inspires conversation about how a television show -- in this case, HBO's Six Feet Under -- can help access grief, rather than numb it. The group also discusses how writing about loss is also just as much about living in the present as it is reflecting on the past.||5/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 3: Gabriel Ojeda-Sague on Where Everything Is In Halves||Jamie-Lee Josselyn gathers with Emily Harnett (@therealeharnett) and Maya Arthur (@maya_s_arthur) to discuss Where Everything Is In Halves by Gabriel Ojeda-Sague (@hadeejasouffle) published by Be About It Press. Gabe reads a selection from the chapbook and then joins the conversation about choosing a particular form/approach/constraint to writing about grief and loss, how media and entertainment factor into our lives during difficult times, and more.||5/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 2: Recorded live from Kelly Writers House||This episode was recorded live at the Kelly Writers House on April 16, 2018 at Dead Parents Society's Beltran Family Teaching Award Program. Jamie-Lee hosts the writers Catherine Ricketts, Seth Laracy, Mingo Reynolds, Isabella Simonetti, and Anna Strong who each read a piece of writing about the loss of a parent. Conversation and questions from the audience follows and we end with a musical performance of "Downpour" by Catherine Ricketts (catrickettsmusic.com).||4/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 1: Emily Harnett on "When Art Cannot Console Us in Death"||Jamie-Lee Josselyn (@jljosselyn) gathers with Gabriel Ojeda-Sague (@hadeejasouffle) and Sabrina Qiao to discuss "When Art Cannot Console Us in Death" by Emily Harnett (@therealeharnett) from Literary Hub. Emily reads the piece and then joins in on the conversation too, which covers everything from grieving secularly to the reasons we write about death and loss to Emily's father's love of cheese sandwiches.||4/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|