"Throw Out the Radio": Florence Dore, Luke Fischer + Making Sense of "Blurbs"

April 28th, 2019

Rock musician and professor Florence Dore attunes to static in her research on "resonant silences" surrounding censorship and race in modernist literature of the early 20th century and its recapitulation of institutional norms in her new book, Novel Sounds, Australian poet and philosopher Luke Fischer joins us just in time for Poetry Month to read and discuss A Personal History of Vision, and Co-op staff Mark Loeffler and Alena Jones help us dig through the maze of jacket copy, also known as "blurbs." 

Professor of English and rock musician, Florence Dore joined Peter Coviello to discuss her new title, Novel Sounds: Southern Fiction in the Age of Rock and Roll, on January 4, 2019 at 57th Street Books. In this episode, she scratches the surface of how rock and Southern fiction came about in the golden age of radio at the expense of black musicians. Peter Coviello made for us his own literary playlist previously on Open Stacks, during which he talks more about Southern American writer, Carson McCullers.

Along with classic works of Southern fiction pictured here, Dore drew inspiration from contemporary rock novels such as Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude, Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia, Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue, and Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs.


Are you judging books by the back of their covers? You're not alone. We chat with Mark and Alena about “blurbs”, or (typically) professional accolades found on books. To blurb or not to blurb, and why? That is the question.



Hear ye! Check out what is probably the first ever blurb by the great American bard, Walt Whitman, who included a quote from a letter addressed to him by Ralph Waldo Emerson after receiving a copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, prior to publication. And no, Whitman didn't ask persmission. Learn more here.



On September 12, 2018, Luke Fischer read and discussed select poems from his newest work, A Personal History of Vision with Colin. We've provided an extended cut of Fischer's poetry reading here. Poems include: "Head of Zeus" (0:10), "Turtles" (1:40), "Floating Seeds" (5:00), "Why I Write" (7:50), "Metamorphosis" (11:45), and "Stones" (13:45).


Whether you're near or far, we’d love to hear from you, in ballad form or otherwise, at podcast@semcoop.com. You can even explore our gitial Front Table at semcoop.com/blog or by subscribing to our weekly email newsletter. No radio required.