A series of intimate and captivating interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and artists about quotidian objects, experiences or obsessions, Commonplace conversations explore the recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work. One feels, when listening to Commonplace, the pleasure of eavesdropping on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.

Episode 37: Sheila Heti and Sarah Manguso

Episode 37: Sheila Heti and Sarah Manguso

Rachel Zucker talks with Sheila Heti and Sarah Manguso about literary friendship, Sarah’s two recent books, Sheila’s manuscript in progress, maternal ambivalence, uncertainty, sacrifice of self, envy, curiosity, being a daughter, attachment and unattachment, shame, the sickening state of wondering whether or not to have children, abandonment, money, the things we cannot choose, choosing intolerable feelings, whiteness, class, the poetics of motherhood, purity, polluted writing, and motherhood as a sexuality category.



Books by Sheila Heti

Motherhood (Henry Holt & Co., 2018)

All Our Happy Days Are Stupid (McSweeney’s Publishing, 2015)

Women in Clothes (Blue Rider Press, 2014), edited with Heidi Julavits and Leanna Shapton

The Middle Stories (McSweeney’s Publishing, 2012)

How Should a Person Be? (Henry Holt & Co., 2012)

We Need A Horse (Mcsweeney’s McMullens, 2011)

The Chairs Are Where the People Go (FSG, 2011)

Ticknor (FSG, 2006)

Books by Sarah Manguso


300 Arguments (Graywolf, 2017)

Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Graywolf, 2015)

The Guardians: An Elegy (FSG, 2012)

The Two Kinds of Decay (FSG, 2008)

Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape (McSweeney's Books, 2007)


Siste Viator (Four Way Books, 2006)

The Captain Lands in Paradise (Alice James Books, 2002)


Other Books, Writers & Artists Mentioned in the Episode

Molly Peacock

Amanda Stern


David Lehman

Cynthia Ozick

Carmen Giménez Smith

Eula Biss

Annie Dillard

Maggie Nelson

Heidi Julavits

Carrot Top by Jules Renard (FSG, 1975)

Paradise, Piece by Piece by Molly Peacock (Riverhead, 1998)

100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write by Sarah Ruhl (FSG, 2015)

Museum of Accidents by Rachel Zucker (Wave Books, 2009)


Other Relevant Links

Sheila Heti interviews Wayne Koestenbaum, Matthew Rohrer & Rachel Zucker for The Believer

Conversation between Rachel and Sarah about motherhood in Candor Magazine

Video of Rachel giving birth to her son Judah

Sarah Manguso’s essay, The Great Shattering, in Harper’s Magazine

from A Kentucky of Mothers by Dana Ward

Episode 38: Sharon Olds

Episode 38: Sharon Olds

Episode 36: Dialogue Arts Project

Episode 36: Dialogue Arts Project