Playing with Narration in Memoir, with Maggie Smith

Oct 23, 2023

Maggie Smith

With her new memoir, You Could Make This Place Beautiful, guest Maggie Smith provides an example of how to break conventional form to gorgeous results. This interview covers narration, structure, and Maggie’s process of constructing this memoir, as well as how her background as a poet informed her approach to the writing. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation mostly about narration, but we also touch upon writing about others and Maggie confesses she’s surprised by the gigantic success of this book. You’ll want to tune in to hear why.


Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Best American Poetry, and more. Follow her on social media @MaggieSmithPoet.

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