Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about ‘Train Dreams’ by Denis Johnson

Dan Kois (Image by Alia Smith)

In this episode I talk to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois

Dan’s latest book is How to be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together

We talk about Denis Johnson’s 2011 novella, Train Dreams

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith

In this episode I talk to singer, teacher and poet Caitlin Smith

We talk about two works:

‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop which you can listen to here

And ‘Another Goodbye’ which is the last track on the new album, You Have Reached Your Destination by Brave Caitlin Smith’s Imaginary Band

You can hear a live version of this song here

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson Better off Read

Pip Adam talks to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois about Denis Johnson's 2011 novella Train Dreams   Find out more on our website: https://better-read.com/  
  1. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  2. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  3. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  4. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington

This episode is a recording of a lunchtime event held at Unity Books in Wellington on 14 October 2020.

I’m really grateful to Eamonn Marra who made this recording and let me publish it here.

Eamonn and Murdoch both published books recently. Eamonn’s book is 2000ft Above Worry Level and Murdoch’s book is Rat King Landlord

Dr Elinor Chisolm is a qualitative and historical researcher with a particular interest in housing, urban form, power and the social determinants of health. Her current research projects focus on mixed-tenure redevelopment, experiences of eviction and forced moves, and the impact of Healthy Housing Initiatives.

Thank you so much Unity Books and everyone who came along.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson Better off Read

Pip Adam talks to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois about Denis Johnson's 2011 novella Train Dreams   Find out more on our website: https://better-read.com/  
  1. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  2. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  3. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  4. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

This episode is a recording of a lunchtime event held at Unity Books in Wellington on 23 September 2020.

Brannavan and I both published books recently. We talked about Brannavan’s book Sprigs and my book Nothing to See

We talked to the amazing Kirsten McDougall

Thank you so much Unity Books and everyone who came along.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson Better off Read

Pip Adam talks to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois about Denis Johnson's 2011 novella Train Dreams   Find out more on our website: https://better-read.com/  
  1. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  2. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  3. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  4. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

This is the final of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode we get to hear responses from Sudha Rao to some of the exercises. I also talk to Sudha Rao about sound and her writing. I’m very grateful to Sudha for letting us play some of her work.

Sudha is appearing with some other amazing writers in Show Ponies: The Return at this year’s Verb Festival in Whānganui a Tara.

Sudha Rao

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Ep 81: Sound Series 9 – Cassandra Barnett and Luke Buda

This is the ninth of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to Cassandra Barnett and Luke Buda.

Cassandra chose this late-night, early-morning recording:

Luke chose the noise of a lawnmower:

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

Maybe you’d like to record yourself from another room. Speaking or calling a poem you love.

Set up your recorder in one room and then move yourself to another room and call out your work.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

The deadline for submitting audio is Thursday 24 September.

There is a list of all the previous exercises here

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson Better off Read

Pip Adam talks to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois about Denis Johnson's 2011 novella Train Dreams   Find out more on our website: https://better-read.com/  
  1. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  2. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  3. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  4. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Ep 80: Sound Series 8 – Anna Smaill and David Long

This is the eighth of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to David Long and Anna Smaill.

David chose a piece of music he wrote ‘Gasmasks’. This piece was written for a Douglas Wright show ‘Rapt’. You can see video here:

Anna chose the Second Movement of Brahms – Violin sonata N°1. You can listen here:

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

Maybe you’d like to compose while you watch something.

Choose a 1 minute section of a film, TV show or Tik Tok. And compose as you watch it into your recorder.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

The deadline for submitting audio is Thursday 24 September.

There is a list of all the previous exercises here

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Sound Series – The Exercises

For the final episode of the Sound Series I’m hoping to put together a showcase of work created in response to the exercises I’ve been offering throughout the series.

I’d love to receive your work by Thursday 24 September

You can send your responses to me at:

betterreadnz@gmail.com

Or if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me here.

If none of the exercises appeal, you could also send a recording of you reading a piece of your own work that you think is interesting in relation to sound.

Please see all the exercises below:

Sound Series 1 – James Woods and Nick Ascroft Exercise:

We talk quite a lot about rhyme in this discussion.

So, the exercise is simply this – turn on your recorder, say the line:

‘I listened to a band called Flipper’

And see how long you can go rhyming words with ‘Flipper’. Don’t forget about half-rhymes and don’t be afraid to change the end sound completely if it feels right. The idea is to try and keep composing for 2 minutes.

Sound Series 2 – Ruby Solly and Chris Tse Exercise:

This is an exercise where you compose in situ.

Take your recorder – it can be your phone – to a noisy place.

Turn your recorder on and respond to the sounds around you in spoken words.

It might take the form of a conversation with the noises in the environment you are in. Or the noises may form a backing track to your words.

Sound Series 3 – Cooki Aimee M and Eamonn Marra Exercise:

We talked a bit in this episode about sound that are ‘difficult’ or ‘uncomfortable’.

So, this exercise is about discomforting sounds and is pretty straight forward.

Find a sound that is hard to listen to.

Play it over headphones while you speak for 45 seconds into a recorder. It might work quite well if you have it loud enough so you can’t hear your voice.

The title of this work is the sound you listened to.

Sound Series 4 – Sinead Overbye and Charlotte Forrester Exercise:

What’s the most beautiful word in the world?

Maybe you’d like to take a minute or two to write down words, word combinations or sentences that you think are beautiful.

Then you might like to record these.

You may like to miss out the step of writing down and try composing beautiful sounds out loud and on the fly.

Sound Series 5 – Brannavan Gnanalingam and Tokerau Wilson Exercise:

This is a free styling exercise.

Play either Tokerau or Brannavan’s sound in headphones and record yourself composing along to it.

That simple. What happens when you have rain or ripping paper as a back beat?

Sound Series 6 – Carl Shuker and Simon Sweetman Exercise:

We talk a bit about writing about music in this episode.

So, take a song you like.

Now writer or speak for 3 minutes without using any words from the song – so, no lyrics and not the title.

Sound Series 7 – Kerry Ann Lee and Jackson Nieuwland Exercise:

I love the idea of using something wrong.

How about trying to make a poem out of noises that are not words.

Maybe you could get together several objects that make noise – placing a cup, tapping something, unscrewing a lid.

Write your poem in sound.

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson Better off Read

Pip Adam talks to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois about Denis Johnson's 2011 novella Train Dreams   Find out more on our website: https://better-read.com/  
  1. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  2. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  3. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  4. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

Ep 79: Sound Series 7 – Kerry Ann Lee and Jackson Nieuwland

This is the seventh of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to Kerry Ann Lee and Jackson Nieuwland.

Kerry Ann chose a recording she made in Mexico.

Jackson provided this mystery sound.

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

I love the idea of using something wrong.

How about trying to make a poem out of noises that are not words.

Maybe you could get together several objects that make noise – placing a cup, tapping something, unscrewing a lid.

Write your poem in sound.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Ep 78: Sound Series 6 – Carl Shuker and Simon Sweetman

This is the sixth of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to Carl Shuker and Simon Sweetman.

Carl chose this particular version of the song ‘Work’ by Lou Reed and John Cale.

Simon chose the song ‘Whisper’ by Schnell Fenster.

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

We talk a bit about writing about music in this episode.

So, take a song you like.

Now writer or speak for 3 minutes without using any words from the song – so, no lyrics and not the title.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson Better off Read

Pip Adam talks to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois about Denis Johnson's 2011 novella Train Dreams   Find out more on our website: https://better-read.com/  
  1. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  2. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  3. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  4. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa