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Ghost-sick: Danielle Geller resurrects her fractured past in ‘Dog Flowers’

Danielle Geller
Danielle Geller

This week, Lauren speaks with memoirist Danielle Geller, whose memoir, Dog Flowers (One World), is a book not only about her relationship to her late mother, absent for so much of her childhood, but about the strength and complexity of familial ties. Dog Flowers recounts, with stark detail and emotional depth, Geller’s return home to the Navajo reservation to confront her family’s history and to retrace her mother’s life—using both personal narrative and an archive of photographs and diary entries.

About Danielle:

Danielle Geller is a writer of personal essays and memoir. Her first book, Dog Flowers, was published by One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in 2021. She received her MFA in creative writing for nonfiction at the University of Arizona, and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award in 2016. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Brevity, and Arizona Highways, and has been anthologized in This Is the Place. She lives with her husband and two cats in British Columbia, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Victoria. She is also a faculty mentor for the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a member of the Navajo Nation: born to the Tsi’naajinii, born for the white man.

Danielle Geller recommends:

Nox by Anne Carson (New Directions Publishing)

Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf Press)

Whereas by Layla Long Soldier (Graywolf Press)

The Book of John by Eleni Sikelianos (City Lights Books)

The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation's Neglect of a Deadly Disease by Daisy Hernandez (Tin House Books)

Beach Read by Emily Henry (Berkley Books)

Exhalation by Ted Chiang (Vintage Books)

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Tor Books)

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radke (Pantheon Books)

Lauren Korn recommends:

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott (Melville House Publishing)

Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption by Susan Devan Harness (University of Nebraska Press)

Black Indian by Shonda Buchanan (Wayne State University Press)

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Maillot (Counterpoint Press)

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq (Penguin Random House Canada)

The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling (forthcoming from Milkweed Editions); read an excerpt here, and watch Debra give a lecture here.

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radke (Pantheon Books)

The Write Question team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Peter Hoag, co-producer and editor; and Tom Berich, sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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