Storytelling Podcasts

Bestiary tells stories about humans and other animals, about the wildness of humanity and the domestication of nature. Support this podcast:


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Bestiary tells stories about humans and other animals, about the wildness of humanity and the domestication of nature. Support this podcast:






(814) 323-6307


Dear Fox, Dear Barn

Two beings shared a fleeting but intimate bond. Now, they exchange letters that trace the evolution and eventual ebbing of their relationship over time and distance. A familiar story told through strange voices: Lovers, once close, watch the inevitable rift that grows in their relationship as one leaves for adventure and the other remains in the place they call home. That the lovers in this story are an old barn in rural Nebraska and a fox roving the countryside doesn't make the story any...


Interfector's Folly

Worn down by life in the city, Scott and his wife Steph move out to the country to raise a family and a small flock of chickens, but when a family of raccoons threatens his flock, Scott is forced to reevaluate his views of life and death. --- Bestiary is produced by Meg Sipos Eric Botts. Thanks to Scott Larson for letting us reproduce that essay for the show. It originally appeared printed in the literary journal Phoebe, based out of George Mason University, in issue 44.1. You can find...


After the Harvest

In 1845, Edgar Allen Poe coined the term "The Imp of the Perverse" to describe our drive toward destruction, especially of ourselves. In his short story of the same name, the narrator recalls a murder he'd committed simply because he could get away with it. Later, though, he's driven to confess, not because of guilt but for the same reason he'd killed in the first place: The Imp had driven him to do it. In this episode, Eric tells a story about resisting the Imp. He first published this...



As we move out of rural areas and into cities, as we fill ourselves with Animal Planet and PBS nature documentaries, a funny thing begins to happen: We forget that some of those majestic creatures we've been encountering through screens all our lives can kill us. Rilla Askew is here to offer a simple reminder: Watch where you step. Rilla was born in the Sans Bois mountains of Oklahoma. A writer of fiction and nonfiction, whose stories are often set in the harsh landscape of that state, she...


Sphecius Speciosus

Few insect sounds have inspired as much writing as that of the cicada. Our first act comes from Christa Spillson: Amid a 13-year cicada brood cycle, an ice cream shop introduces a new flavor. And in act two, Robbie Maakestad, as part of a trio of young warriors, defends the chattering insect from a small colony of parasitic wasps. Robbie is a Senior Features Editor for The Rumpus and an Assistant Professor of Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He is writing a biography...


The Girl Who Turns to Rabbits

A nervous schoolgirl transforms into multitudes of white rabbits. Despite her constant anxiety, she's okay with ending up bones. This episode is based on a story of the same title by Melissa Goodrich, a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Artful Dodge, The Kenyon Review Online, Passages North, PANK, Word Riot, Gigantic Sequins, and others. She is a co-author of the collaborative collection The Classroom, from which “The Girl Who Turns to...


Fleas in Utopia

A couple of punks fight fleas in a run-down apartment. One of them creates a utopian squat house while her mother watches Kenneth Copeland every morning at dawn. And: What if Iggy Pop and Frodo Baggins were brothers, and what if they were cats, and what if Uma Thurman was their mom? These questions and more... --- Support this podcast:


The Island Wolves

Writer and environmentalist Kim Todd joins us to talk about her essay, published in July of 2017 by Orion Magazine, "The Island Wolves." In the mid-twentieth century, scientists began a study on Lake Michigan's Isle Royale, believing it to be a perfectly isolated, natural laboratory, in which they could study predator-prey relationships between wolves and moose, untainted by outside human influence. What they found would throw decades of scientific assumptions into disarray. --- Support this...


Simple Coyote Math, Part 3

In the final installment of Simple Coyote Math, we take you into rural Idaho, where a coyote trap poisons a fourteen-year-old boy and his dog. And we round out the miniseries with two stories from Native American folklore. --- Support this podcast:


Simple Coyote Math, Part 2

Part 2 of our series on the North American coyote comes in three act, based on the rules that cartoonist Chuck Jones laid out for himself in his writing of the Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Act 1 tells the story of a girl's death in 1970s Los Angeles and the madness that followed. In act 2, we revisit Mark Twain's coyote, that "living, breathing allegory of want." And act 3 takes us back to Eric's hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania, for a story about a coyote living among the city's dead. ---...


Simple Coyote Math, Part 1

In 1999, Chuck Jones, creator of the Coyote and Road Runner, published his autobiography Chuck Amuck, in which he details, at one point, the nine rules that governed his writing of the cartoons. This miniseries on our relationship with the coyote takes its structure from those rules. Part 1 begins with Jones' first 3 rules. Rule #1: "The Coyote cannot harm the Road Runner except by going, 'Beep beep!'" Our greatest effects on coyotes come from the ways in which we alternately demonize and...


All - American Avians

During World War II, famed psychologist BF Skinner started working on a project in which he would train ordinary street pigeons to guide pelican missiles (the irony of which was not lost on him) into German warships. In this fictional episode, Eric imagines a piece of radio propaganda in which the US government asks its citizens to send their own pets to war--which, it turns out was not totally unheard of at the time. --- Support this podcast: