Yearly Archives: 2017

Web Extras

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Why We May Not Be Able To Trust Alabama’s Vote Count

The Alabama special election for the US Senate is today. Whatever the final vote — can it be trusted? For our What You Need To Know series on Writers Voice, Francesca spoke with John Brakey of Election Defense Alliance and attorney Chris Sautter, two long-term election integrity activists. They sued the state of Alabama to improve the integrity of the election. They won in court — but then lost in a last-minute backroom deal between the state GOP and the Alabama Supreme Court.

Podcast

Sy Montgomery, TAMED AND UNTAMED & Elizabeth Tova Bailey

Celebrated author Sy Montgomery talks with us about the essays she and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas have written and collected in a wonderful new book, Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind. Then we hear part of our 2011 interview with Elizabeth Tova Bailey about her book The Sound of A Wild Snail Eating. Continue reading

Podcast

Why Drug Costs Are So High – But Single Payer? Not So Much.

Why are drug prices going through the roof? We talk with Wendell Potter about Big Pharma and what his new investigative journalism site, Tarbell, is finding out about it.

Then, critics say single payer health insurance would be too expensive. We talk with economist Gerald Friedman, who developed Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan.  He answers his critics point by point. Continue reading

Podcast

Rita Dove, COLLECTED POEMS & Thanksgiving on WV

Poet Rita Dove talks about her Collected Poems 1974-2004, published by W.W. Norton. Then, we honor our Thanksgiving tradition of airing Marge Bruchac’s true story of Thanksgiving and a reading of Francesca’s story, The Food Philosophe. Continue reading

Podcast

Katherine Nouri Hughes, THE MAPMAKER’S DAUGHTER & Claire McKinney, DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BOOK PUBLICIST DOES?

Katherine Nouri Hughes talks about her novel The Mapmaker’s Daughter. It tells the story of a remarkable historical figure of the 16th century, Queen Mother Nurbanu.

We also get advice from book publicist Claire McKinney on how to promote your book. She’s the author of Do You Know What a Book Publicist Does?: A Guide for Creating Your Own Campaigns. Continue reading

Podcast

Damion Searls Translates Hans Keilson: 1944 DIARY & COMEDY IN A MINOR KEY

Damion Searls talks about his translation of 1944 Diary by the late German/Dutch writer Hans Keilson. It’s the first nonfiction work of Keilson’s that Searls has translated. We also air most of our 2010 interview with Damion Searls about his translation of Keilson’s acclaimed novel, Comedy in a Minor Key. Continue reading

Podcast

John Nichols, HORSEMEN OF THE TRUMPOCALPYSE & Valerie Brown on the EPA and Monsanto

We talk with John Nichols about his book HORSEMEN OF THE TRUMPOCALYPSE: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America. We also talk with Valerie Brown, co-author of a just released report for the magazine In These Times on how Monsanto kept the EPA from regulating the toxic weedkiller glyphosate for over 40 years.  Continue reading

Podcast

Carol Anderson, WHITE RAGE

Carol Anderson talks about her bestselling book White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. Anderson says every time African Americans make gains — from ending slavery to voting rights to the election of a Black POTUS — white Americans mobilize relentlessly to roll back those gains. She says the correct question is not why Black people are angry; it’s why whites are so angry when Black people get rights? Continue reading

Podcast

Remembering Poet Richard Wilbur

One of our favorite poets passed away on October 14, 2017. The great American poet Richard Wilbur was 96 years old. We remember him with a re-broadcast of our 2009 conversation with him at his home in Cummington, Massachusetts.

Author Christian McEwen and I spoke with Wilbur about his life, poetry and translations. He also read some of his poems to us in his beautifully resonant voice.

But first, we hear a clip from our 2007 interview with Jeanne Braham, author of The Light Within the Light: Portraits of Donald Hall, Richard Wilbur, Maxine Kumin, and Stanley Kunitz. Braham gives us her thoughts about the poet. Continue reading

Podcast

John Duberstein, THE BRIGHT HOUR by Nina Riggs & Joseph Luzzi, IN A DARK WOOD

We talk with John Duberstein about his late wife’s powerful and lyrical memoir, The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying. Nina Riggs died just shortly before the book was published from metastatic breast cancer, leaving her husband and two young children behind.

Then we play a clip from our interview in 2015 with Joseph Luzzi about his memoir, In A Dark Wood. After he lost his wife to a car accident, he was helped to heal from his grief by his study of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Continue reading

Book Excerpt

THE BRIGHT HOUR by Nina Riggs

Dispatch from the Dark

Speaking of the dark: It’s past midnight, and we’re lying in bed. “I just can’t wait for things to get back to normal,” says John from his side of the moon.

I’m not sure how to respond. I hadn’t realized how attached I have become to the idea that, even in all of this, we are moving ahead somehow, and that dealing with all this is something to value. I feel a sharpness in my throat, the slip of the sureness beneath me.

“I can’t handle you saying that,” I say after a silence, even though I know he isn’t trying to fight. “Thinking that way kind of invalidates my whole life right now. I have to love these days in the same way I love any other. There might not be a ‘normal’ from here on out.” Continue reading

Podcast

Jean & David Stiles, BUILDING SMALL and Karen Flett, LIVING THE AIRSTREAM LIFE

We talk with the mavens of backyard building Jean and David Stiles about their new book, Building Small.

Then, the Airstream is the icon of travel trailers with a passionately devoted following. We talk all things Airstream with Karen Flett. Her book is Living the Airstream Life. Continue reading

Podcast

Leslie Sharpe, THE QUARRY FOX and David Gessner, SOARING WITH FIDEL

Writer and naturalist Leslie Sharpe talks about her new book, The Quarry Fox and Other Tales of the Wild Catskills. Then we air part of my 2007 interview with David Gessner about his book, Soaring with Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond. Continue reading

Podcast

Deborah Campbell, A DISAPPEARANCE IN DAMASCUS & Melissa Fleming, A HOPE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE SEA

As this show was being produced, the news came that the Supreme Court has upheld part of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban — the part blocking new refugees coming from six majority-Muslim nations. The justices reversed rulings by a federal judge in Hawaii and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The ban will affect some 24,000 refugees seeking asylum, among them those fleeing war-torn Syria.

We focus today on the human cost of war. Journalist Deborah Campbell tells us about her book, A Disappearance in Damascus: Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War. Then, we re-air our interview earlier this year with Melissa Fleming about her book, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival.

The books tell the stories of two refugees, one who fled Iraq into Syria and then had to flee Syria to the United States — long before Trump’s Muslim ban. The other story is about a Syrian refugee who barely survived the treacherous crossing from Turkey to Europe to resettled in the far more welcoming country of Sweden. Both stories are about the real cost of war — a cost few Americans ever get to see. Continue reading

Podcast

Marc Fasanella: RALPH FASANELLA, IMAGES OF OPTIMISM

We talk with Marc Fasanella about his father, painter and labor organizer Ralph Fasanella and the new book he wrote about him, Ralph Fasanella: Images of Optimism (with an introduction by Leslie Umberger). Then, we turn to Marc Fasanella’s own project, the Ecological Culture Initiative. Continue reading