Category Archives: Interview

A Conversation With Kenny Fries

Featured nonfiction writer at this year’s Ocean State Writing Conference

Kenny Fries author photo
Photo Credit Michael R. Dekker

by Elizabeth Foulke

In his most recent memoir, In the Province of the Gods, Kenny Fries recounts the time he spent in Japan. There are echoes of his earlier work, as Fries continues to examine what it means to adapt –in this case to an unknown place and culture, as well as to illness and loss. Throughout the memoir, Fries reflects on how to remain malleable in the face of the unexpected.

Kenny Fries is the author of two previous works of literary nonfiction, The History of my Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory and Body Remember. His works also include the poetry collections, In the Garden of Japan, Desert Walking, and Anesthesia. Fries is the editor of Staring Back, a collection of writing by authors with disabilities and wrote the libretto for the opera, The Memory Stone.

This June, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Fries, who lives and works in Berlin. Fries expertly weaves together folklore, scientific theory, and poetry with questions of social policy and the construction of space as they intersect with disability. Our conversation explores his craft, adaptation, Japan, and the continued need to incorporate marginalized voices into our cultural narrative. Below is an excerpt of the interview. The full interview can be found in the print version of the recent edition of The Ocean State Review.

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Voluptuously, Expansively, Historically, Contradictorily: Essaying the Interview with Mary Cappello and David Lazar

In November 2013, Mary Cappello brought essayist David Lazar to campus to share and celebrate his latest book, Occasional Desire in our Read/Write Series. Earlier in the year, Cappello and Lazar, both of whom work in the vanguard of the essay and new nonfiction form, interviewed each other for Andy Fitch’s magnificent archive, The Conversant. Can an interview approximate the intensities of an essay’s occasional desires? Click here to read Lazar and Cappello on convergence, coincidence, peregrination, digression, improvisation, conundra and conundrums, character actors, psychoanalytic logics, the auditory sublime, mood rooms, Georges Perec, Charlie Chaplin, creative writing pedagogy, and overcoats.