In this episode I talk with Yahdon Israel, one of Under the Gum Tree’s previous contributors. Yahdon is 27-year-old writer from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, who has written for Avidly, The New Inquiry, Brooklyn Magazine, LitHub, and Poets & Writers. He graduated from the MFA Creative Nonfiction Writing program at the New School. He is the Awards and Membership VP of the National Book Critics Circle. He runs a popular Instagram page which promotes literature and fashion under the hashtag Literaryswag, and hosts a web show for writers called LIT. Yahdon’s essay “Dorian” appears in the January 2017 issue of Under the Gum Tree.
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In this episode we talk about:
- Writing as a means to confronting the world
- Telling lies to find your voice, and writing as a way to be heard
- Getting to the truth of feelings through false constructs like memory and objectivity
- How James Baldwin has influenced Yahdon as a writer
- White editors and their expectation that black writers should answer their questions
- Complexity of asking questions that reveal assumptions and lies we tell ourselves
- The essay as a form of asking questions that may never be answered
- What the literary market wants and expects from writers of color
- The Women, by Hilton Als
- The importance of literary citizenship and contributing to community beyond writing
- Yahdon’s interview with Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Tyehimba Jess
- Yahdon’s popular Instagram hashtag #literaryswag and his new web show for writers called LIT.
- Visit Yahdon online at yahdonisrael.com. Follow him on Instagram @yahdon and on Twitter @yahdonisrael.
- Follow Yahdon’s projects on Instagram @litplatform and @literaryswagbookclub.
Visit us online at moretothestorypodcast.com and visit Under the Gum Tree at underthegumtree.com. Follow Under the Gum Tree Twitter and Instagram @undergumtree. Follow me on Twitter @justjanna and @jannamarlies on Instagram. Find out about my 6-week email audio course at jannamarlies.com/cnf101course.