377: The Art of the American Essay Anthology – Interview with Phillip Lopate

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Philip Lopate.

Phillip is the author of over a dozen books: 

  • 4 personal essay collections (Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body, and Portrait Inside my Head), as well as Being with Children, Waterfront, and Notes on Sontag
  • 3 works of fiction (Confessions of Summer, The Rug Merchant, and Two Marriages)
  • 3 poetry collections (The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open, The Daily Round, and At the End of the Day).  

He has also edited several anthologies, including one of my personal favorites—Art of the Personal Essay—and he’s the author of To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction

He is a professor in Columbia University’s MFA Writing Program, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


In this episode Phillip and I discuss:

  • Why you need to have some things you haven’t worked out when you begin to write an essay.
  • The ground rules, selection process, and organizational structure for his three volume anthology.
  • What qualities make for a great essay, what can kill a piece, and the role the past plays.


Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/377

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