The Editors on Talus, or Scree

Tell me about the creation of Talus, or Scree. When and how and why was it conceived?

Before we start, let us say that while our episodes have been a bit sporadic over the past few months, we are still very much alive and kicking. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming very soon.

We met during graduate school in Wilmington, North Carolina and discovered, while frightening beach-goers with our in-ocean behaviors (manatee impersonations, throwing a football to each other at just the right time so that the receiver would get pummeled by a wave, our unchanging Midwestern pastiness, etc) that, in addition to the fact that we were both writers, we shared wide-ranging interests, from music to movies to beer to the Civil War to chicken parmesan sandwiches.

This inevitably led to long conversations on porches, at bars, and on the telephone. Sometimes we would talk to each other on the phone for hours, even though we were neighbors. We will let your staff of psychologists parse that one out.

Somewhere in there we took student jobs in the Admissions office and found a shared love for and obsession with Christmas/holiday music. That became our first collaboration, a shared music blog called 77 Santas. Still, that wasn't enough, or was perhaps too limited, and one day we decided, over the phone (this time between Virginia and Chicago), that we should start a podcast born out of the many ideas we would pore over for hours on end each week. So, somewhere around May of 2011, Talus, Or Scree was born. Things got real when the wonderful Sommer Browning created a logo for us.

Our main goal with the podcast is to offer an audio archive, driven by our obsessions, that collects a wide range of voices. We love talking to folks, listening to their stories, and sharing with them.

The podcast has morphed over time. At first we wrote skits. Then, we interviewed Rob Lurie and it went so well that we got the interview bug. Since that time, we have interviewed folks from a broad range of mediums—writers, filmmakers, collectors, musicians—in addition to including original music and covers from Chris McSween (aka Pookahontas) and music writing from Marcus Villano ("The Aging Cheerleader"). We have also created two yearly features: 77 Santas in December, and The Poetry & Cruelty Hotline during April, the most national of poetry months. We are thinking of running a feature very soon that runs along with the rest of the episodes of HBO's True Detective.

What makes Talus, or Scree different from other places to encounter poetry (and literature) on the internet?

We take our work seriously, but not ourselves. At least not all the time. We feel it possible, perhaps even necessary, to offer a space where all types of artists can let their hair down and have a bit of fun, play a bit, while wrestling with the bigger ideas that accompany the many different kinds of work that we feature. We want to offer entertainment. As Dylan says, "who wants to get whipped?"

What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?

I just found out that a poem I wrote for Levon Helm will be published by Georgetown Review, which excites me a good deal.

Jay: I was asked recently to judge submissions for Essay, the on-campus nonfiction journal at my alma mater, Susquehanna University. They asked me to contribute a piece and I finally got around to finishing an essay I started about a dozen years ago. It's always a thrill to "return," so to speak, to a place that meant so much to me.

Jay & Patrick: We were pleased as punch to see 77 Santas included in this Financial Times feature.

What should someone submitting work to Talus, or Scree know about the site?

As evidenced by how long it took us to remember to log on to the Talus, Or Scree email account, find your email, and write back in hopes that we didn't miss the train, we are far from administrative wunderkinds. We have discussed open submissions for the podcast at times, but, given how busy we are doing the work that keeps the lights on in our respective homes, it just doesn't feel right for us at the moment. And, we like dreaming of guests and trying to hunt them down for the show. There's a thrill there. That isn't to say that we aren't open to ideas via our email account, so long as you know we often forget to check it, or our Facebook page. No guarantees. 

What other literary sites, journals, or broadcasts, online or print, are your go-to?

As our resident nonfiction expert, Jay loves Brevity and, since he's often too busy to obsessively check everything he loves, finds Longform a priceless way to find great nonfiction.

Patrick has long loved Conduit, jubilat, and Octopus, among many others he will feel bad about not including once he sends this off. He likes to go for very long walks while listening to Marc Maron's WTF.

However, just like our anxieties, we have many. Our best suggestion: head over to our site and wade through our links.




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