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Between the Covers Podcast

Tin House Live : Max Porter on Shy

Even though each of Max Porter’s books is a stand-alone book, some have called Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, Lanny, and his latest, Shy, a “trilogy of boyhood,” a framing Max himself embraces. After a truly electrifying short reading from Shy, Max and I explore his impulse to examine and evoke boyhood across these three books and how his choices on the page engage with the crisis that is contemporary masculinity. We talk about fatherhood and parenting, the extra-literary influences on his writing, whether comics or music or visual art, about the mythic and the wild in relation to the human and language, and much more. Today’s conversation was recorded live in Portland, Oregon, at the downtown location of Powell’s Books in May of 2023.

Don’t miss Max’s first appearance on the show in 2019 for his book Lanny. Back then, Max contributed a reading of a poem of his to the bonus audio archive. The singer-songwriter Joan Shelley had reached out in admiration of his books. They began a correspondence (which eventually resulted in some of his words becoming lyrics to her songs) and part of that correspondence included this poem he wrote for her. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio archive and the other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter head over to the show’s Patreon page.

Lastly, here is the Bookshop for today’s episode.