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
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
Writers all around the nation gathered on January 15 to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday in a spirit of resistance to the incoming administration of Donald J. Trump.
The national event was called Writers Resist. In New York, Francesca traveled to the New York Public Library at 42nd Street to mingle with a crowd of more than 2,000 gathered to hear writers read from works of resistance by themselves and others at a podium set up between the iconic library lions. Continue reading
Lesléa Newman talks about her latest book of poetry, I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, 2015). The elegiac volume is composed of poems chronicling her mother’s last illness and dying, as well as her own grief.
Then, poet Martine Bellen reads from and discusses her new collection, This Amazing Cage of Light: New And Selected Poems (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2015). Inspired by myth, history and everyday life, her evocative poems explore identity and connection. Continue reading
David Laskin talks about his family memoir of Jewish life in the twentieth century, The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century. Then, a poet’s dialog with the 1886 diary of an ordinary woman: Sarah Sousa talks about her books, Diary of Esther Small, 1886 and Church of Needles.
Nell Bernstein talks about her book, Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison (New Press.) And we hear from poet Kathy Engel about using poetry to promote peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Poet and farmer Scott Chaskey talks about his new book, Seedtime: The History, Husbandry, Politics and Promise of Seeds.
In the book, Chaskey considers “the web of biodiversity and resilience at the heart of our cultural inheritance” by weaving history, politics, botany, literature, mythology, and memoir into his profoundly moving book.
Journalist Jim Sterba talks about the growing battles over wildlife in America’s cities and suburbs — about deer, beavers, geese, bears, feral cats and more. His book is NATURE WARS: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds. It’s about the resurgence of wildlife into areas of human habitation and the resulting struggles to balance human and wildlife needs.
John Rennie Short talks about dealing with disasters; his book is Stress Testing The USA: Public Policy and Reaction to Disaster Events. And could simple, affordable, appropriate technology be the solution to surviving the post industrial future? John Michael Greer says yes! His book is Green Wizardry: Conservation, Solar Power, Organic Gardening, and Other Hands-On Skills From the Appropriate Tech Toolkit.
Rob Okun talks about the collection of essays he edited, VOICE MALE: The Untold Story of the Pro-feminist Men’s Movement. Then we re-air our 2009 interview with feminist poet Honor Moore about the anthology she edited, Poems From The Women’s Movement. Continue reading
Rebecca Solnit talks about her latest book, THE FARAWAY NEARBY (Viking, 2013.) It weaves memoir, history and natural science into a contemplation of the stories that define, comfort, and entrap and free us. And Martine Bellen reads from and tells us about her new poetry collection, THE WABAC MACHINE (Furniture Press Books, 2013.)
Reading the poetry of Martine Bellen is an excursion into a fascinating labyrinth of language that evokes multiple meanings. Her work is more to be experienced with the heart than dissected with the mind.
Her latest poetry collection is The Wabac Machine — with reference both to the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, as well as to the past iterations of the internet. Fellow poet Charles North wrote:
Martine Bellen’s psychological and linguistic adventures in poetry are unlike anyone else’s. Celebrating the instabilities of our experience, her poems maneuver kaleidoscopically between ordinary life and myth or fairy tale, vital human concerns such as identity and dreamlike atmospheres where nothing stays as it appears for long. Her “host of unlikely divinities” display a reality that is never ordinary, always evocative.
Bellen is the author of eight collections of poetry including Tales of Murasaki and Other Poems, which won the National Poetry Series Award; as well as the novella 2X(Squared) and several librettos for opera. Bellen is a contributing editor of the literary journal Conjunctions.
A Zen practitioner, Bellen says there is an intimate connection between Zen Buddhism and poetry — a connection that informs her work. She explores that connection more deeply in the unabridged version of our conversation.