Episode 39: Joshua Whitehead interviews John Elizabeth Stintzi
Oct 3, 2022
In this interview of John Elizabeth Stintzi by Joshua Whitehead, the two authors reminisce about their time together in Winnipeg and how the experiences with and in the city have informed their practices. John speaks about their draw to the prairies, the tension between urban and rural Queerness, and the importance of writing the rural. As well, John discusses the complexities facing the Queer, or marginalized writer, in writing characters that represent them but are not them in the context of their books Vanishing Monuments and Junebat. As well, John and Joshua talk about the book as a body and biotext, and the fraught nature of trying to categorize either. In terms of the body, they discuss how categorizations can simultaneously be affirming, but also limiting. For the book, they speak to the failings of the publishing industry in implicitly dictating who should reach which books.
3:47 – Joshua and John discuss meeting during grad school, Joshua seeing both prairie and queer poetics in Johns’s work, and John’s accomplishments in writing Junebat and Vanishing Monuments in 2020
3:56 – John discusses his last visits to Canada before COVID-19
7:54 – Joshua and John discuss their roots in Manitoba and where they posit Queerness and whether John identifies with prairie poetics
8:08 – Joshua references Quill and Quire interview with John
11:41 – Joshua references John’s short story “Moving Parts” published in Plenitude
11:59 – John discusses the tension between urban and rural in terms of Queerness and the importance of representing Queerness in rural settings
14:01 – John references Seamus Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist
14:39 – John references Robert Kroetsch’s Seed Catalogue
15:30 – Joshua references K.B. Thor’s Vulgar Mechanics and Randy Lundy’s Field Notes for the Self
15:59 – Joshua and John discuss Winnipeg as the setting of Jonny Appleseed and Vanishing Monuments
16:18 – Joshua references Casey Plett’s Little Fish and John references Miriam Toews
16:36 – Winnipeg as a character in Vanishing Monuments
20:56 – John discusses Winnipeg’s importance in shaping their practice
21:59 – John references Jennifer Still
23:05 – Joshua references Catherine Hunter
23:15 – John discusses the use of memory and photography in Vanishing Monuments, as well as the potential harm of unearthing painful memories in the
30:58 – Joshua and John talk about the written novel as biotext and the potential for characters’ instabilities to help their authors find stability
34:22 – How Queer writers endure the assumptions that the protagonist is the writer
37:36 – Joshua refers to Billy-Ray Belcourt blurb for Junebat
38:29 – Junebat as a neologism and the openness of the text and the insufficiency of language in the terminology of Queer identity
45:23 – Writing about the body in Junebat as a rhetorical question and the poetics of the body
52:05 – Animating the body through reflection in literary representation
52:25 – John references Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
54:05 – John references forthcoming at the time of the interview My Volcano
54:56 – Writing for the self is inherently writing universally
58:47 – The failing of the publishing industry to mandate who should read which literature
59:53 – John references Torrey Peters’ Detransition, Baby
1:00:59 – Joshua references Trish Salah
1:02:05 – John and Joshua discuss the books they would give to their younger selves
1:02:31 – John references T. Fleischmann’s Time is the Thing a Body Moves Through
1:03:37 – Joshua references Jaye Simpson’s it was never going to be okay and Sheung-King’s You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked..
TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.
TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.