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Crafting with Ursula : Molly Gloss on Writing the Clear, Clean Line

Today’s guest on the second episode of Crafting with Ursula, Molly Gloss, the acclaimed writer of both award-winning science fiction and fantasy as well as feminist Westerns, has a particular insight into the work and writing life of Le Guin. Gloss’ writing career began as a student of Le Guin’s in a workshop in the 1980s. And yet they soon became friends, were friends and writing peers for thirty-five years, and were in peer writing groups together in both poetry and prose during that time, critiquing each other’s work. Today’s episode focuses on something Ursula herself loved to think about, the meanings that lie beneath the words we write, the music (or lack of music) in a line or sentence that make our stories or our poetry gurgle or sing. And, of course, how to create this meaning from below and why.

While this conversation begins at the level of the line, at the level of the sentence, we do come to talk about the unusual way Le Guin employs technology in her work, a sensibility that informs Gloss’ writing, particularly in The Dazzle of Day. We talk about her different relationship to fiction and to poetry, and perhaps most notably we get to hear a long, never-before-seen, unpublished poem of Le Guin’s that was brought to one of their shared poetry peer groups, a poem about the practice of writing itself.

The Bookshop for today’s episode is particularly robust: Gloss’ most iconic SFF works, Le Guin’s craft books, her poetry, and more. It is just one way to support writers, independent bookstores, and the show all at the same time. If you enjoyed today’s program, consider transforming yourself from a listener to a listener-supporter. There are many potential benefits of doing so, from the bonus audio archive to rare collectibles from past guests including from Ursula K. Le Guin herself. Check it all out at the show’s Patreon page.