The Metaworker Podcast

Welcome to The Metaworker Podcast! We’ve published so much great stuff over the years but, as often happens with online magazines, the good stuff can get lost in the shuffle. So we created this podcast to discuss some of our favorite pieces and to delve deeper into the reasons we decided to publish them. (Though who are we kidding? Everything we publish is our favorite.) Our goal is to make the publishing world a little less murky, and to get you inspired to keep writing. We hope you enjoy these episodes as much as we enjoyed creating them!

All episodes are NOW LIVE on this page, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and anywhere else you get your podcasts.

The text of each poem/prose piece read in individual episodes is copyright by the respective author(s). The Metaworker Podcast © 2022 by Matthew Maichen; Elena Lucia Perez; Marina Shugrue; Darin Milanesio; Melissa Reynolds; Cerid Jones is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. This means you may not sell, alter, or transcribe any part of the podcast, but you are free to share or copy the file as long as you retain attribution to The Metaworker and the author(s).

Episode Description:

Matthew, Elena, and Mel talk with Oisín Breen about his poem “The Borderland Furies” and about his new book of poetry, Lillies on the Deathbed of Étaín, published by Beir Bua Press. We discuss how to approach reading poems that we don’t understand on a first read, a reader’s interpretation of a poem vs. the author’s intention, and looking at the world from different angles to find writing inspiration. We ask Oisín how he finds time to write and what his process of writing a book of poetry entails, then the discussion turns philosophical as we discuss the concept of one’s self changing over time, and Plato’s concept of the idealized form of objects.

Author Bio:

Irish poet, doctoral candidate, and journalist, Oisín Breen, a Best of the Net Nominee, is published in 105 journals in 20 countries, including in Agenda, North Dakota Quarterly, Books Ireland, About Place, Door is a Jar, Northern Gravy, Decomp, and The Tahoma Literary Review. Breen’s second collection, Lilies on the Deathbed of Étaín has just been released to growing acclaim through Beir Bua Press (2023). It follows his critically well received debut, ‘Flowers, All Sorts, in Blossom…’ (Dreich, 2020).

Referenced in this episode: 

The Borderland Furies by Oisín Breen on The Metaworker website

Mourning by Oisín Breen on The Metaworker website

Lillies on the Deathbed of Étaín, Oisín’s newest book of poetry

Beir Bua Press – Oisín’s publisher, and publisher of post-avant, visual poetry collections

Flowers, all sorts in blossom, figs, berries, and fruits, forgotten – Oisín’s first book of poetry

Dublin & the Loose Footwork of Deity – a poem from Flowers, all sorts in blossom, figs, berries, and fruits, forgotten

Plato and the theory of forms

Book & Author Recommendations:

The Employees by Olga Ravn

Róisín Ní Neachtain, Irish writer and artist (Twitter @orphicreview)

W. Scott Howard, poet (Twitter @wscotth)

Episode Description:

Matthew, Elena, Mel, and Cerid talk with Isabel O’Hara Walsh about her short fiction piece “In the Willow Garden”. Content Warning: We discuss victims of trauma and abuse reclaiming their narratives, the process of writing dark and difficult stories, and the need to take care of one’s mental health while doing so. We also discuss different perspectives on the need for dark fiction vs. light fiction as well as Appalachian culture, language, and dialects. 

Author Bio:

Isabel O’Hara Walsh (she/they) is a graduate from the MFA program in fiction at North Carolina State University and is working on her second novel. She teaches fiction at the Redbud Writing Project, and also works as a Tarot reader and witch. Walsh writes literary fiction with touches of horror that bring buried stories to light. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her partner and many pets.

Referenced in this episode: 

In the Willow Garden by Isabel O’Hara Walsh on The Metaworker website

The Stray Birds band

Kirk Hazen, director of the West Virginia Dialect Project

Jane Austen novels

Promising Young Woman movie

Book Recommendations:

There There by Tommy Origin

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Antiracist Writer’s Workshop by Felicia Rose Chavez

Episode Description:

In this final episode of the editors chat, Matthew, Elena, Mel and Cerid get personal. They talk about their own writing projects and how they approach their craft, they share what they get up to outside of their fiction lives and finally wrap things up by providing a list of great books from the recent reads they loved.

Referenced in this episode: 

Mermaids Monthly
NPR Top 100 SFF book list and other NPR book lists
Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5
Dark Tower: Stephen King

Book Recommendations:

The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini

A Dead Djinn in Cairo and Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

Stariel series by AJ Lancaster

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers

Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Beckoning of the Gate by Benjamin J. Ryan

Court of the Grandchildren by Michael Muntisov and Greg Finlayson

Borderlanders by Gillian Pollock

The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee

Dark Star trilogy by Marlon James

Episode Description:

Matthew, Elena, Mel, and Cerid talk about how they got into writing and why they are involved in the publishing world, even as unpaid editors of an indie literary magazine. They also delve into the type of submissions they’d like to see in their inbox.

Referenced in this episode: 

The Metaworker submission wish list

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Jane The Virgin – TV series

Brian Froud – Artist/concept creator

Kelly Link – Author

Neil Gaiman – Author

Long Ridge Writers Group

Topics of interest in this episode:

Magic realism and Cultural Traditions in Storytelling

Dungeons and Dragons

Genre Fiction/Lit Fic/Fantasy/Historical Fiction


Writing Affirmations/Craft Commentary

Episode Description:

Matthew, Elena, Mel, and new intern Cerid talk about how they fell in love with reading, then move into a history lesson about how The Metaworker got started, and how Mel and Cerid joined the team.

Referenced in this episode: 

Treesong by Melissa Reynolds on The Metaworker website

Cerid’s photo featured in A Fair Deal by Jon Kemsley on The Metaworker website

A translated poem, A Passage by Irsa Ruçi, on The Metaworker website

Episode Description:

Matthew, Elena, Marina, and Mel talk with Sam Asher about his beautifully strange story Boy, Deer, Chair. We discuss symbolism, inherited trauma, pantsers vs. plotters, and imposter syndrome. 

Referenced in this episode: 

Boy, Deer, Chair by Sam Asher on The Metaworker website

Chelsea Sutton – author recommended by Sam

Karen Joy Fowler – author recommended by Sam

Blackfish City by Sam Miller

Clarion Writers Workshop


Trans authors

Literary Magazines:


Fiyah LitMag


Apex Magazine

Strange Horizons

Uncanny Magazine

Mid-American Review

Author Bio:

Sam Asher is an alcoholic born and partly raised in the Middle-East, now living in New York. He loves translating English -language fiction into Arabic, and being terrible at social media. Find his work in Amazing Stories, Daily SF, and the Gateway Review.

Episode Description:

In this episode, Matthew, Marina, and Elena talk with Mary Paulson about her poem, Ruins. We talk about writing poetry to express deep emotions, writing and rewriting with help from community, and Mary’s own personal journey toward writing this version of this poem.

Referenced in this Episode: 

Ruins by Mary Paulson on The Metaworker website

Tenderness by Mary Paulson on The Metaworker website

Paint the Window Open by Mary Paulson, a new collection of poems

Donkey Gospel by Tony Hoagland, collection of poems recommended by Mary

What Do Women Want by Kim Addonizio, poet recommended by Mary

Author Bio:

Mary Paulson currently lives and works in Naples, FL. Her poems have appeared in Slow Trains, Mainstreet Rag, Painted Bride Quarterly, Nerve Cowboy, Arkana, Thimble Lit Magazine, and Tipton Poetry Journal. Her chapbook, Paint the Window Open, has recently been accepted for publication by Kelsay Publishing.

Episode Description:

Matthew, Marina, Melissa, and Elena talk about Mina Rozario’s flash fiction fantasy story, Rangoli Man. We gush about saying a lot in very few words, the utopian fairy-tale tone, and the story’s fascinating dive into Indian culture.

Referenced in this Episode:

Rangoli Man Mina Rozario on The Metaworker website

A Future Leviathan’s Prodigious Sister by Mina Rozario on The Metaworker website

Division of the Marked by March McCarron, book recommended by Mina

A Deadly Education (book 1 of the Scholomance Trilogy) by Naomi Novik, book recommended by Mina

Author Bio:

Mina Rozario is an Indian-American writer and technical product manager. Her non-work hours consist of dreaming up storylines, learning new dance styles, and trying not to kill her plants.

Episode Description:

Matthew, Marina, and Melissa gush about Lane Talbot’s Minotaurs before asking him about how he approaches his craft, the art of writing the thriller, and how his personal experiences have informed his storytelling. We manage to throw out nods to writers who take a long time on their work, and the hidden advantages of doing so.

Referenced in this Episode:

Minotaurs by Lane Talbot on The Metaworker website

House in the Cerulean Sea by Tj Klune, book mentioned in episode

Sunk-Cost Fallacy

Mythbusters polishing a turd

David Mamet, memo to writers of The Unit (distinguishing drama from information)

Why you might want to rethink using the word ‘tribe’

Lane’s blog

Author Bio:

Lane Talbot’s work has been listed as notable fiction in Best American Mystery Stories and published in Berkeley Fiction Review, ThugLit, Able Muse and elsewhere. His MFA is from Southern Illinois University.

Episode Description:

Editors Matthew, Elena, and Melissa talk to Stella Meadows about her brilliant nonfiction (as well as what makes brilliant nonfiction in general), identity, introspection, LGBT+ representation in art, and specifically LGBT+ representation in the science fiction and fantasy genres. 

Referenced in this Episode:

Meditations on Water by Stella Meadows on The Metaworker website; 

Paradise is a Feeling by Stella Meadows on The Metaworker website; 

House in the Cerulean Sea by Tj Klune, book recommended by Stella; 

The Pervert by Remy Boydell & Michelle Perez, comic book recommended by Stella; 

Drop-Out, web comic recommended by Stella; 

Grease Bats by  Archie Bongiovanni, comic recommended by Stella

Author Bio:

Stella Meadows is a writer to know. Born in 1996, she’s been active since the age of eight, ever in search of the perfect sentence. Her first story was published in Quirk Literary Magazine in May, 2020. Her other work is forthcoming. Meadows takes a personal approach to story-telling, focusing primarily on issues of identity and self-expression. When not reading or writing, she can be found drinking espresso and chasing down scared raccoons (they need affection too!). A student of Humanities and Communications at California State University, Monterey Bay, she will graduate in early 2021. 

Episode Description:

Editors Matthew, Elena, and Melissa talk to Veronica Lupinacci about her wonderful poem, Kurt. We talk about nonfiction, how we remember people, and the general topic of learning to write well.

Referenced in this Episode:

Kurt by Veronica Lupinacci on The Metaworker website; 

Beating a Dead Horse or Good Prose Writing by Matthew Maichen on The Metaworker website; 

Neighbor by Darrell Pateska on The Metaworker website; 

Daniele Pantano, poet recommended by Veronica; 

Billy Collins, poet recommended by Veronica

Author Bio:

Veronica Lupinacci is poet, an adjunct writing professor at State College of Florida, and a Grant Officer for Mote Marine Laboratory is Sarasota, Florida, U.S. where she crafts foundation proposals and reports to grow philanthropic support for marine conservation research and education. Her poetry has been published in journals including BOAAT, Gravel, McNeese Review, Haiku Journal, and The Pinch, and she is the author of a children’s book used for ESL education in Beijing, China.

Episode Description:

Editors Matthew, Elena, Marina, and Darin talk to Kate Shannon about her wonderful poetry! We touch on the history of the form, some of the brutal inspirations that Kate uses for her work, and what we love about beautiful poetry of all kinds.

Referenced in this Episode:

thick crusts of midnight in the late Ordovician, a wilderness of morning elsewhere by Kate Shannon on The Metaworker website; 

ghazal for aguas del sur by Kate Shannon on The Metaworker website;

a quote by Richard Siken, from his poetry collection Crush

Hip-Hop Ghazal by Patricia Smith

The American Cavewall Sonnets  by C.T. Salazar

Author Bio:

Kate Shannon is a farmer, editor, and poet from Upstate NY where she lives with her partner and too many dark secrets. She writes speculative poetry and fiction and hopes to not be eaten by one of her hideous creations. Her publication history includes The Mithila Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and High Shelf Press.

Episode Description:

Editors Matthew, Elena, Darin, and Melissa talk to Paul Rabinowitz about his piece Little Gem Magnolia and its surreal mix of genres. We touch on New Orleans, art, making time for art, and so much more.

Referenced in this Episode:

Little Gem Magnolia by Paul Rabinowitz on The Metaworker website;

I’ve Loved You So Long, film recommended by Paul;

The Selfish Giant,  film recommended by Paul;

Paul Rabinowitz’s Website

Author Bio:

Paul Rabinowitz is an author, photographer and founder of ARTS By The People. Paul’s photography, short fiction and poetry have appeared in many magazines and journals. Paul was a featured artist in Nailed Magazine, Mud Season Review and nominated for Best of the Net in 2021 for his Limited Light photo series. Paul is the author of Limited Light and The Clay Urn and working on a multimedia novel called Confluence. His poems and fiction have been the inspiration for numerous short films.

Episode Description: 

The Metaworker Editors (Matthew Maichen, Elena L. Perez, Marina Shugrue, Darin Milanesio, and Melissa Reynolds) talk to Omar Hussain about his wonderful piece “The Dog in You.” We introduce the larger idea of the podcast, Omar reads an excerpt, and then we talk about the piece, morality, and interpreting stories in different ways than the author intends.

Referenced in this episode:

The Dog in You by Omar Hussain on The Metaworker website

Lobster by Rachel Reeher in SmokeLong Quarterly

Author Bio: 

Omar Hussain is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, transplanted to Ann Arbor, Michigan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y Magazine, The Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, Spelk, Dream Noir, Fleas On the Dog and (mac)ro(mic), among others. Omar’s beta-test novel, The Outlandish and the Ego, debuted in late 2017. It received some praise, remarkably.

Episode Description: 

In this pilot episode, Editor-in-Chief Matthew Maichen and then-intern (now editor) Melissa Reynolds have a conversation about The Dinner Party by Alexa Hailey, in which they touch on comedy, magical realism, originality in writing, and the wonderfully bizarre suburban parody that is this story.

Referenced in this episode:

The Dinner Party on The Metaworker website

And Then He Died writing tips by Matthew Maichen

Author Bio: 

Alexa Hailey is a freelance and fiction writer living in Massachusetts. Her fiction work has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Vamp Cat Mag, and Detritus. You can follow her on Twitter at @lexabobexa.