April 19, 2019 W.S. Merwin: Past American Voice
We look back on the life of the prolific poet W.S. Merwin, who died in March 2019. In this 2000 interview with fellow poet H.L. Hix, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, who was often inspired by nature and concerned with ecology and preservation, reads from The Folding Cliffs, which refers to his long-time home in Hawaii. Programs with W.S. Merwin from 1979 and 1993 are also available in our audio archives.
April 12, 2019 Ekphrasis Poetry Reading
In this live reading at Commerce Bank's The Box Gallery, poets Wyatt Townley, H.C. Palmer, Brian Daldorph, Melinda Hemmelgarn, and Catherine Anderson read poems associated with the Ekphrasis exhibit and share stories with visual artists Peg Craig, Meghan Rowswell and Susan Glasgow. They talk about how they used each other's work to create something new, ultimately resulting in the book of 40 artists and poets called Ekphrasis.
April 5, 2019 Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch is a poet and "MacArthur genius" who heads up the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation and was the editor of The Best American Poetry 2016. In the first part of this interview, he talks about editing that anthology and his book for readers called A Poet's Glossary. He also reads from his book The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems. A 1991 interview with Edward Hirsch is also available in our Audio Archives. The second part of this conversation in available in our audio archives.
March 29, 2019 Kathryn Nuernberger
Poet and essayist Kathryn Nuernberger, the former editor of Pleiades Press at the University of Central Missouri, now lives and teaches in Minnesota. She discusses how she once shied away from being a "woman writer" and why she now embraces it, as she reads from her 2017 essay collection, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past, and shares poetry from her earlier book, Rag and Bone, as well as from her forthcoming collection, Rue.
March 22, 2019 Laura Kasischke
While at the Kansas City Public Library, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet Laura Kasischke reads from her 2017 Where Now: New and Selected Poems, including her tongue-in-cheek beauty queen poems. Also an author of novels and short stories, she talks about her writing process and how it varies for her fiction and poetry.
March 15, 2019 Feminist Poets: Past American Voices
This program pays tribute to the past American voices of feminist poets from the last century, who opened doors at publishing houses for the vast numbers of talented women writers today. Listen to excerpts from Pulitzer Prize winners Maxine Kumin (1925-2014) and Carolyn Kizer(1925-2014), as well as MacArthur "genius" fellow Adrienne Rich (1929-2012). We'll also listen to the late Audre Lorde (1934-1992), who was the State Poet Laureate of New York when she died in 1992. To find more programs with these poets, search our Audio Archives.
March 8, 2019 Rupert Thomson
Born in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in England, Rupert Thomson has written over a dozen books, including his 2010 memoir This Party's Got to Stop, which won the Writer's Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction. In this interview at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, he discusses his 2018 book, Never Anyone But You, a novel about two lesbians in early 20th century France, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. From mental illness to resisting fascism, the book also explores "loving someone impossible." Thomson also talks about how he grapples with the usefulness of genre and terms like literary fiction, the difficulties of being a detective, and the patience required of writers.
March 1, 2019 Ellen Bass
In part two of our conversation with poet Ellen Bass, she discusses how, after being married and having two children, she came to discover another part of her sexuality and committed to a more than three-decade relationship with her now wife. She also reminisces on the mentorship she received from the late poet Anne Sexton and the co-founder of The Feminist Press, Florence Howe, and talks about the premier anthology that she and Howe worked on called No More Masks! An Anthology of Twentieth Century American Women Poets. Bass reads more from her two most recent books, Like a Beggar and The Human Line, and reveals how literature changed her life. Part one of this conversation along with an anthology program featuring Ellen Bass are also available in our audio archives.
February 22, 2019 Marcus Jackson
Cave Canem Fellow Marcus Jackson reads from his debut poetry collection, Neighborhood Register and his 2018 book, Pardon My Heart. Jackson, an Ohio native who teaches in the MFA program at The Ohio State University, discusses his writing that touches on themes of love, racial identity, and family, particularly Pardon My Heart, which began after he was newly married. An earlier show featuring his work with The Symphony Poets is also available in our audio archives.
February 15, 2019 Glenn North
Glenn North, the inaugural Poet Laureate of the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District, shares passages from his 2015 book City of Song (due to be re-released in 2019 by Spartan Press). Excerpted from the Kansas City Public Library's 2017 program, To Make a Poet Black and Bid Him Sing, the Cave Canem fellow, community organizer, and winner of the Charlotte Street Foundation's Generative Performing Artist Award discusses his involvement in youth poetry workshops and shares his experience as a black poet. North also talks about his collaboration with jazz musician Bobby Watson to create the musical spoken word CD, Check Cashing Day.
February 8, 2019 Gwendolyn Brooks: Past American Voice
We turn to our extensive archive to present this look back at the legacy of the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks. The first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her 1949 poetry collection, Annie Allen, Brooks went on to influence generations of poets. In this compilation made from a 1984 program and parts 1 and 2 of a 1988 interview, Brooks reads from her works, including her famous "We Real Cool" poem, and talks about her childhood, her decision to leave Harper & Row for a black publishing company, and the recognition of her own mortality.
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