The great essayist Sallie Tisdale has been unjustifiably flying under the radar for years. Fortunately the The New Yorker recently did a profile on Tisdale, a reassessment of her importance, calling her work an antecedent to Eula Biss’ On Immunity, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, and Sarah Manguso’s Two Kinds of Decay. In all of her professions, past and present, as an abortion clinic nurse, a nurse in a cancer ward, as a writing teacher, or as a senior lay teacher of Buddhism at Dharma Rain Zen Center, Tisdale is drawn to ambiguity and complexity, to attentive listening and seeing, to looking at what is usually looked away from, and these qualities shine through in her collected essays Violation from Hawthorne Books. Hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. -David Naimon
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