Current Event December 5, 2013
Phillis Wheatley lived an extraordinary life. Born in West Africa and sold into slavery in Boston, Massachusetts, Wheatley became the first published African-American woman and poet. In addition to being a poet, Wheatley exchanged letters with religious leaders and philanthropists. Some of her letters have survived, including one in which she reflects on the American Revolution. Listen to learn about this valuable letter, which was auctioned off in 2005.
Current Event December 2, 2013
American poet Emily Dickinson was known as an eccentric recluse throughout her life. Dickinson maintained friendships through letter writing. She wrote poetry privately. Her unusual poetry style wasn’t truly discovered until after her death in 1886 when her sister Lavinia found nearly 1,800 of her sister’s poems. Though Lavinia had promised to destroy her sister’s papers, she instead had the poems published, which led to Emily’s fame as a great American poet. Listen to learn how her poetry continues to be an inspiration today.
Current Event November 30, 2013
American poet Sylvia Plath is well known for her work, her life and her death. Plath’s suicide in February 1963 shocked a generation of readers and writers, shining a light on the plight of women and mental illness. These are the topics that Plath had written about in her semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar.” Fifty years after her dramatic death, Plath’s poetry lives on. Listen to learn more about the life of Sylvia Plath and the collection of poetry, “Ariel,” published after her death.
Current Event November 25, 2013
Minimalist author Raymond Carver is known for his simple but powerful short stories of ordinary people. This gritty minimalism both reflects and contradicts the tough and chaotic life of the man himself. Listen to learn more about the life and contradictions of this American author heavily influenced by the work of Anton Chekhov.
Current Event November 7, 2013
English Romantic poetry is often misunderstood and not considered in the context of the life of the poets or the era in which they lived. The movie “Bright Star” by director Jane Campion explores the life of poet John Keats and the romantic relationship that drove him to write his most famous works. Campion explores the short life and love of this well-known poet. From the difficulty people have understanding poetry to considering Keats, Byron and Shelley in their historical context, this interview with Campion will open your eyes to the world of 19th Century English Romantic poetry.
Current Event November 6, 2013
The Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Jane, were successful novelists and poets. Their childhood, relationships and imagination shaped their famous works. A tiny “magazine” created by 14-year-old Charlotte Brontë to go with their set of toy soldiers is a lens into their world of imagination and gothic extravagance. Listen to learn more about this work, just half the size of a credit card, and what it tells us about the life of these famous literary figures.
Current Event September 11, 2013
What is heroism? Explore this question through a discussion with author Conn Iggulden, who wrote a book about heroes throughout time. From Florence Nightingale to Harry Houdini to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, heroes of all different kinds have shown admirable bravery. This story discusses the courage and grace that makes heroes of ordinary people.
Current Event February 1, 2013
American poet Robert Frost wrote about rural life in New England. His colloquial language and focus on nature struck a chord with everyday people and critics. He won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry during his lifetime, and his legacy has lived on through his writing and his friends. Listen to learn more about Frost’s life, work and religion through his friend, Jonathan Reichert.