VPR Interviews Jensen Beach
September 3, 2015
Vermont Public Radio’s Mitch Wertlieb recently interviewed Johnson State Writing & Literature Assistant Professor Jensen Beach, whose short story “The Apartment” was published in The New Yorker on Aug. 31. The story is from Beach’s forthcoming novel, Swallowed by the Cold.
Getting published in the famous literary and cultural magazine was “just a dream come true,” he told Wertlieb in an Aug. 31 VPR profile, “Johnson State College Professor Published in ‘The New Yorker.'” “My agent has been sending stories to The New Yorker for, I think, a couple years and we’ve never gotten a yes before.”
Beach’s novel is set in Sweden, where he lived for six years. His wife is Swedish, and their two children were born there. The family speaks Swedish at home. The novel allowed him “to kind of explore that Swedish identity a little bit more,” he said.
“But for me as an American moving to Sweden when I did, in my early 20s, you know the immigrant experience is always one of otherness or outsider-ness, but I had the kind of the strange experience of looking Swedish and being able to speak Swedish, but not being Swedish.”
Wertlieb also talked to Beach about teaching students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at JSC.
“We talk a lot about this notion of surprise or about inevitability in a story, and kind of finding that perfect balance between the two of not really knowing where a story is going to go but uncovering its own potential and the potential that the characters and the setting and the situation offer,” Beach said.