Wordstock, Portland’s book festival, is that most wonderful of days, when Oregonians’ book lust reaches a fever pitch, culminating in increased secret police presence at book signings, reader mobs storming the gates of Powell’s, and trashed author rooms at the Heathman. 

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But this week we listen back to one of our favorite shows recorded live last November at Wordstock at the Whitsell Auditorium. We’ll hear from the creators of the runaway podcast empire “Welcome to Night Vale” and two rockstar poets who rage against the establishment, Morgan Parker and Tommy Pico. 

Joseph Fink (left) and Jeffrey Cranor (right), the creators of the podcast, "Welcome to Nightvale", and authors of the novel "It Devours!", onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Joseph Fink (left) and Jeffrey Cranor (right), the creators of the podcast, “Welcome to Nightvale”, and authors of the novel “It Devours!”, onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Nick Hennessy/OPB

‘Welcome to Night Vale’ Creators Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink on the Growth from Podcast to Media Empire

Since 2012, the creators of the hit podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” have spun tales of a fictional Southwestern desert town, where people live side by side with the supernatural. Hooded figures, shadowy government agencies, and ravenous ghosts abound — but also girl scouts, coffeehouses and a community radio station. “Night Vale” is about finding humanity seated next to unspeakable horror at the local diner, enjoying pie and coffee. We talked to Fink and Cranor about their second “Night Vale” novel, “It Devours;” the podcast series; and the “Night Vale” live shows.

Since we first produced this show in November, word came out that the “Night Vale” empire is getting even bigger. FX and Sony Pictures Television have struck a deal for a TV show. 

Tommy Pico (left) and Morgan Parker (right) onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Tommy Pico (left) and Morgan Parker (right) onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Nick Hennessy/OPB

Poets With Attitude: Tommy Pico and Morgan Parker - 26:52

The authors of two of the most anticipated poetry books of 2017 just so happen to be dear friends. Morgan Parker’s poems have appeared in the Paris Review, The New York Times and “Best American Poetry,” and have won her Pushcart and Gatewood prizes. Her new book is “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce.” Tommy Pico is the author of “IRL” and the zine series “Hey, Teebs,” a Lambda Literary Fellow, and co-host of the podcast “Food 4 Thot.” His new book is “Nature Poem” (his next book, “Junk,” is due out in May 2018). Together, they curate the reading series Poets with Attitude in New York City.

If you want more “State of Wonder” episodes taped live at Wordstock 2017, check out: