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Animals with Freeman’s
November 5, 2022 @ 10:45 am - 11:45 amFree
Three contributors from the new Freeman’s annual—Tess Gunty (The Rabbit Hutch), Debra Gwartney (I Am a Stranger Here Myself), and Sasha LaPointe (Red Paint)—discuss their work with editor John Freeman.
More about Freeman’s: Animals
Over a century ago, Rilke went to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, where he watched a pair of flamingos. A flock of other birds screeched by, and, as he describes in a poem, the great red-pink birds sauntered on, unphased, then “stretched amazed and singly march into the imaginary.” This encounter—so strange, so typical of flamingos, with their fabulous posture—is also still typical of how we interact with animals. Even as our actions threaten their very survival, they are still symbolic, captivating and captive, caught in a drama of our framing
This issue of Freeman’s tells the story of that interaction, its costs, its tendernesses, the mythological flex of it. From lovers in a Chiara Barzini story, falling apart as a group of wild boars roams in their Roman neighborhood, to the soppen emergency birth of a cow on a Wales farm, stunningly described by Cynan Jones, no one has the moral high ground here. Nor is this a piece of mourning. There’s wonder, humor, rage, and relief, too.
Featuring pigeons, calves, stray dogs, mascots, stolen cats, and bears, to the captive, tortured animals who make up our food supply, powerfully described in Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk’s essay, this wide-ranging issue of Freeman’s will stimulate discussion and dreams alike.
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John Freeman is the founder of the literary annual Freeman’s, and an executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. He is also the author and editor of eleven books, including Dictionary of the Undoing; There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love (co-edited with Tracy K Smith), and Wind, Trees, a new collection of poems. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and been translated into more than twenty languages. Once a month he co-hosts the California Book Club for Alta, an online discussion of a classic of golden state literature. He lives in New York City.
Tess Gunty holds an MFA in creative writing from NYU, where she was a Lillian Vernon fellow. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Iowa Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Freeman’s, Joyland, and other publications. The Rabbit Hutch is her first novel.
Debra Gwartney is the author of two book-length memoirs, Live Through This, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the RiverTeeth Nonfiction Prize and the Willa Award for Nonfiction. Debra has published in such journals as Granta, The Sun, Tin House, American Scholar, Creative Nonfiction, Freemans, and others. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, and her essay, “Fire and Ice,” was recently selected for Best American Essays, by Alexander Chee. Debra is co-editor, along with her husband Barry Lopez, of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. She lives in Western Oregon.
Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe is from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribes. Native to the Pacific Northwest she draws inspiration from her coastal heritage as well as her life in the city. She writes with a focus on trauma and resilience, ranging topics from PTSD, sexual violence, the work her great grandmother did for the Lushootseed language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage. With obsessions revolving around Twin Peaks, the Seattle music scene, and Coast Salish Salmon Ceremonies, Sasha explores her own truth of indigenous identity in the Coast Salish territory. Sasha holds a double MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in creative nonfiction and poetry.
Her memoir Red Paint has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Shelf Awareness and was named “Best new book of the month,” by Time Magazine. Red Paint was featured on Nylon’s list of most anticipated books of 2022 and has received praise from Ms. Magazine, The LA Times, and Bust Magazine. Red Paint is available through Counterpoint Press. Her collection of poetry Rose Quartz is forthcoming from Milkweed in 2023.