I produce and host Story Behind the Story, a monthly radio show for KSQD 90.7 FM in Santa Cruz. On my show, I interview authors working in every genre and medium on their work and their creative process.
Carmen Maria Machado
In her 2019 memoir, In the Dream House, author Carmen Maria Machado describes the abuse she endured in her first relationship with another woman. Machado’s writing, which moves deftly between genre conventions and styles, reflects the fracturing of memory that so often results from abuse and the non-linear way we process trauma.
In our conversation, which was part of a live event at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, we discuss the complex narrative structure of her memoir, the archival silence around queer domestic violence, and how Machado turned the worst nightmares of her past into a work of art.
As a content note, the discussion includes descriptions of psychological abuse and intimate partner violence. Graywolf Press has created resources for queer survivors of domestic violence living in the Bay Area. You can find them here.
Daniel Summerhill is a poet, a professor of Poetry and Social Action and Composition Studies at CSU Monterey Bay, and an Oakland native. He has performed his poetry on stages around the world, including at the Kwamashu Center in South Africa as part of a workshop sponsored by the US Embassy. He is the 2015 New York Empire State Grand Slam Champion, a 2015 Nitty Gritty Grand Slam Champion, and a recipient of the Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry. His poems have been published in the Lilly Review, Califragle, Button, and Blavity, to name just a few, and he edited the collection “Black Joy: An Anthology of Black Boy Poetry,” which came out in 2019.
In this episode, I talk to Summerhill about his poetry collection, Divine, Divine, Divine, which he is editing for publication.
Luis ‘xago’ Juarez
Drawing on the long tradition of documentary theater and taking inspiration from practitioners like Anna Deveare Smith and Culture Clash, Luis ‘xago’ Juarez interviewed nearly 40 residents of East Salinas before he wrote his reAlisal plays. He wanted to tell the history of the East Salinas neighborhood he grew up in — known as the Alisal — from the perspective of the people who lived there. He hoped that by telling their stories in their voices, he could help reshape the dominant narrative most people hear about the region.
In this interview, I talk to xago about the third play in this series, reAlisal: Stories from East Salinas, as well as his theatrical upbringing and what it means to residents to hear stories about the region told in their own voices.