Dead Parents Society



Dead Parents Society Podcast


  • Episode 24: Stephen Fried on "Dead Fathers Society"

    11/03/2021 Duración: 01h14min

    Stephen Fried (@stephen_fried), a journalist, author of many books, and adjunct faculty member at Columbia and Penn joins Jamie-Lee to read and discuss his essay, "Dead Fathers Society," from his 2007 collection Husbandry. Stephen and Jamie-Lee discuss the nature of these respective societies and how not everyone who has lost a parent wants to tell the story of it. They also discuss teaching writing, Stephen's course Writing About Mental Health and Addiction, and how they approach student writers who are facing difficult material.

  • Episode 23: Michelle Chikaonda on "Song for my Father"

    19/02/2021 Duración: 01h26min

    Michelle Chikaonda (@machikaonda), a nonfiction writer from Malawi currently living and working in Philadelphia, joins Jamie-Lee and brilliant pal Izzy Lopez to read and discuss her essay, "Song for My Father" from The Pennsylvania Gazette. Michelle elaborates on the role that faith and music played in her life with her father and following his death from cancer. Michelle also reflects on the essay and grief generally amidst Covid-19. You can read more of Michelle's writing at

  • Episode 22: Hope Edelman on The AfterGrief

    24/12/2020 Duración: 01h11min

    This episode is the audio recording from a virtual event held at the Kelly Writers House on November 18, 2020, featuring Hope Edelman, author of the new book The AfterGrief, as well as the widely successful and impactful book Motherless Daughters, and seven other nonfiction books. Hope and Jamie-Lee discuss Hope's process in writing and structuring The AfterGrief, how the book encourages those who've experienced loss to think critically about their own stories over time, and the way the Covid-19 pandemic impacted Hope and the book as she completed it. This event was sponsored by Penn's Creative Writing Program.

  • Episode 21: Taylor Hosking on Covid loss and support from women of color

    03/12/2020 Duración: 49min

    Taylor Hosking (@Taylor__Hosking), a culture journalist and podcast producer, joins Jamie-Lee to discuss her recent piece from The Guardian about how she turned to fellow women of color after her mother's death from Covid-19. They discuss the recent, ongoing nature of this loss in combination with the collective grief that so many are feeling in the wake of the pandemic and how this affected Taylor's approach to writing her piece. Additionally, they discuss the approaches Taylor has adopted from the women she interviewed, and more. You can find more from Taylor at

  • Episode 20: Isabella Simonetti's reflection on writing about loss during a pandemic

    29/05/2020 Duración: 47min

    Isabella Simonetti, a current student at the University of Pennsylvania and the President of The Daily Pennsylvanian, joins Jamie-Lee for DPS's first Zoom episode. They discuss the writing Isabella has produced in an independent study at Penn about her mother's death from breast cancer, and how the scope of this work changed when the semester suddenly went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Episode 19: Gianna DeMedio on "Sixty-Three" and So Sorry For Your Loss

    09/03/2020 Duración: 01h03min

    Gianna DeMedio, host of the podcast and blog So Sorry for Your Loss, joins Jamie-Lee to read and discuss her essay "Sixty-Three," about her discovery that several members of her family died at the same age, as well as the ordinary rituals of grief like a visit to the cemetery. She and Jamie-Lee discuss the notion of legacy, the community that comes through writing and podcasting about grief, and more, including how both Gianna and Jamie-Lee reacted to the recent deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter.

  • Episode 18: DPS featured on "Live at the Writers House" on WXPN

    10/12/2019 Duración: 56min

    This special episode of Dead Parents Society was recorded before a live audience at the Kelly Writers House and aired on WXPN, the public radio station at the University of Pennsylvania, in November 2019. Hosted as always by Jamie-Lee Josselyn, this episode features work by Emily Harnett, Zoe Osbourne, Gianna DeMedio, and Rachel Levy Lesser. Special thanks to WXPN for this opportunity and for letting us share this recording as a podcast.

  • Episode 17: Rachel Levy Lesser on "Hair Pulled Back in a Twilly"

    05/11/2019 Duración: 56min

    Rachel Levy Lesser, author of Life's Accessories: A Memoir and Fashion Guide, joins Jamie-Lee and Darcy Walker Krause, Executive Director of the Uplift Center for Grieving Children. The three of them discuss an essay from Rachel's new collection called "Hair Pulled Back in a Twilly," which is about not just Rachel's loss of her mother and the immediate aftermath, but about how and what we remember, how we can give and get support in grief, and what purpose a simple object can serve as me move forward.

  • Episode 16: Molly O'Neill on "Parts of a Life""

    13/09/2019 Duración: 41min

    Molly O'Neill, a Los Angeles-based yoga instructor, writer, and longtime friend of the Kelly Writers House community reads from her essay "Parts of a Life" from and discusses the piece with Jamie-Lee and DPS brilliant pal Anna Strong Safford. In their conversation, they discuss how teaching and practicing yoga integrated into Molly's grief of her father's death from Parkinson's Disease, and how writing factors in as well.

  • Episode 15: Solomon Mussing on "Letter to My Father"

    08/08/2019 Duración: 01h01min

    Solomon Mussing, who also goes by the name L'Hussen Toure, an alum of the Summer Workshop for Young Writers at the Kelly Writers House, talks with Jamie-Lee about his piece "Letter to My Father," a memoir in the style of direct-address that he wrote to his father, who died by suicide. They discuss the obvious, unflinching directness of the mode, the way a writer considers his reader in this style, the risks involved in such a piece, and more.

  • Episode 14: Anna Strong Safford on "because my memories"

    02/07/2019 Duración: 44min

    In our Season 2 premiere, Anna Strong Safford, instructor and curriculum specialist at Penn, joins Jamie-Lee and DPS brilliant pal Molly O'Neill to read and discuss her poem “because my memories” from her manuscript bled. Anna's poem inspires a conversation about the use of earthly (and, indeed, worldly) imagery in writing about one's memories of grief, the way parental grief can transfer and shift from one parent to the other, and how found language can inspire our work as writers.

  • Episode 13: Rebecca Soffer of Modern Loss

    20/12/2018 Duración: 01h02min

    Rebecca Soffer, co-author of the book Modern Loss and co-founder of, joins Jamie-Lee and others in the Kelly Writers House garden for a live reading and conversation about writing about grief, the community that comes from it, and the various emotions and moods that this writing can evoke (spoiler alert: it doesn't always have to be sad!).

  • Episode 12: John Culhane on "Little Mirrors of Mortality"

    15/10/2018 Duración: 01h04min contributor and Widener Law professor John Culhane joins Jamie-Lee and Maya to read and discuss his piece "Little Mirrors of Mortality," which is from the perspective of a parent realizing his mortality in his children's eyes. Our usual perspective is flipped, in a sense, to great effect thanks to John's piece. We also discuss John's perspective as a gay dad who came out later in life, and relate the idea of "coming out" to how those who've lost parents young choose to identify themselves.

  • Episode 11: Arielle Brousse on "Grief Beach"

    24/09/2018 Duración: 01h01min

    Arielle Brousse, author of the TinyLetter "Grief Beach" joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss how she came to write a weekly letter to friends and others about her difficult year of loss and how the form of a TinyLetter has impacted her writing, her grieving, and her relationships. They also discuss writing about not just grieving the death of two of her grandparents, but the end of a long-term relationship as well.

  • Episode 10: Jamie-Lee Josselyn on "When News of a Suicide Comes During Memoir Class"

    04/09/2018 Duración: 52min

    Bassini Apprentices Maya Arthur and Sabrina Qiao interview Jamie-Lee Josselyn on her essay, "When News of a Suicide Comes During Memoir Class" from LitHub in September 2016. They discuss how personal history and the writing that comes from it converges with and remains separate from the work of a creative writing teacher.

  • Episode 9: Jess Bergman on "The Difficult Business of Dying"

    15/08/2018 Duración: 01h10min

    Jess Bergman (@jesslbergman), Features Editor at Literary Hub, joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss her essay "The Difficult Business of Dying" from The New Republic in December 2017. In the essay, Jess weaves together her own experience of mourning her father with Caitlin Doughty's book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, which examines the funeral industry in the United States as well as mourning rituals across cultures.

  • Episode 8: Catherine Ricketts on "Eloquent Limbs" and "Books to be Buried In"

    26/07/2018 Duración: 01h01min

    Essayist and songwriter Catherine Ricketts ( joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss her essay "Eloquent Limbs" and her song "Books to be Buried In," which she also performs. Cat, who joined us for our live event in April, discusses how she decides to approach particular experiences through songwriting versus through essay writing, her direct and vivid approach to writing about her father's illness and death, and how her conversations with him informed this.

  • Episode 7: Victoria Ford on "Elegy for Clitoris"

    10/07/2018 Duración: 01h21min

    The poet and essayist Victoria Newton Ford joins Jamie-Lee, Maya, and Sabrina to discuss her poem "Elegy for Clitoris" from Connotation Press. Victoria has said that she writes "to tell the truth, and the truth is often hideous. And though it feels good to write, I don't write to make the reader feel good, particularly. I write to make you feel. To honor my own feeling, which is another way to honor the fact that I exist. And so, it is my duty to witness and speak while I'm here."

  • Episode 6: Scott Gould and Jamie-Lee Josselyn on the pedagogy of writing about difficult experience

    25/06/2018 Duración: 01h10min

    Jamie-Lee talks with the writer Scott Gould, who is the director of creative writing at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, about how he approaches working with high school students who are facing difficult personal material, including, but not limited to loss and grief. They discuss general classroom pedagogy, specific essays to use in discussions, and more.

  • Episode 5: Jamie-Lee Josselyn and Kristen Martin on Hope Edelman's "Motherless Daughters"

    18/06/2018 Duración: 49min

    Jamie-Lee Josselyn (@jljosselyn) and Kristen Martin (@kwistent) discuss Hope Edelman's 1994 book Motherless Daughters, which has remained successful in the more than 2 decades since its release. Jamie-Lee and Kristen, whose mothers died from suicide and cancer respectively, discuss the book's form, its longevity, how it enables readers to both connect through their own experience and learn about losses much different from their own, and other topics. For more on Hope Edelman, visit: or follow her on Twitter: @hope_edelman.

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