From Our Soundbooth | January 19, 2022

Hello and welcome to Miller Aud-cast, the Missouri Review podcast where we listen to and discuss the finalists for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize. I’m Marc McKee, TMR’s managing editor. It’s good to have you back, or here for the first time, with episode 45 of the Miller Aud-cast, featuring the latest finalist for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize in Humor, Julia Tagliere’s “Ithaca Kitty’s Got Beef.”

Julia Tagliere’s work has appeared in The Writer, Potomac Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Washington Independent Review of Books, and numerous anthologies. Winner of the 2015 William Faulkner Literary Competition for Best Short Story, the 2017 Writers Center Undiscovered Voices Fellowship, and the 2021 Nancy Zafris Short Story Fellowship, Julia completed her M.A. in Writing at Johns Hopkins University and serves as an editor with The Baltimore Review. She is currently working on her first story collection, Reliance. and hosts live, bimonthly literary readings through the MoCo Underground Reading Series. Follow her at justscribbling.com.

Here’s what Tagliere has to say in her Artist Note:

When I was a very little girl, our dear, old family friend had an ancient calico cat named Eco, who was the meanest, most wretched creature that ever coughed up a hairball. He liked to hide under the couch and hiss at people all day long, and for some reason, I always thought of him whenever I read Eugene Field’s poem, “The Duel,” which I did a lot back then, because it was in my favorite book of children’s stories. Many, many years later, in 2020, I was researching something completely unrelated for my current collection, Reliance, and stumbled upon the alleged inspiration behind Field’s poem: The Ithaca Kitty, an 1892 plush toy designed by two women, Celia Mattison Smith and Charity Smith, and modeled after Celia’s pet cat: Caesar Grimalkin. It didn’t take long for Eco, Caesar Grimalkin, and Field’s calico cat to join forces and take up an uncomfortable amount of space in my mind–as cats do–and this silly little piece is the result. I had a lot of fun writing it. 

Learn more about Tagliere and her work on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaTagliere.JustScribbling

Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliascribbling

https://www.instagram.com/julia_justscribbling/?hl=en

Keep listening after the piece to hear managing editor Bailey Boyd and I talk about low level mobsters, the voices people imagine for their cats, and how impossible physics plays into the comedic strategies of the piece.

Aud-cast 46 is sneaking up on you, so BE ALERT. As the road warning sign I passed a thousand times in my youth said, “The world needs more lerts.” Thanks as always to the Missouri Review contest editor, Bailey Boyd, and to Patricia Miller, for her generous support for the Miller Audio Prize.

A quick reminder: TMR is open for submissions year-round, and we remain dedicated to discovering and publishing the best contemporary writing in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Be heard. Give us the opportunity to discover you: subscribe or submit your work today! In addition, we have tons of marvelous (and free!) creative content to read, listen to, and even watch on our website. Learn more at missourireview.com.

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