Arts and Culture

Ken Nordine is the epitome of jazz poetry, nicknamed "the Voice." Best known for his "Word Jazz" series, this poem is one he did for a paint company. The paint company is long forgotten, but the poem lives on.More

Heart graphic

Poems can hold grief and mark loss. But what about love? Romantic love. Poet Li-Young Lee understands this completely. Because he’s in love.More

Empty New York streets

In Lake Mills, Wisconsin, a retired school teacher named Kitty O'Meara wrote a short poem at lunch one day and posted it to friends on Facebook. A week later, it had been shared by Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and millions of other people.More

letters

Jimmy Santiago Baca was in a maximum security prison. He taught himself to read and fell in love with words. Today he’s a champion of the International Poetry Slam, and the author of multiple books of verse.More

Ghosts

Poet Edward Hirsch has written many collections of poetry and criticism. He wrote the long-running “Poet’s Choice” column in the Washington Post. He spoke with Steve Paulson about his elegy to his son, “Gabriel: A Poem.”More

Karl Ove Knausgaard

Given the hyper-realism of author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s "My Struggle," you might be surprised to hear that the formative books of his childhood were filled with magic and imaginary worlds. He says Ursula K. Le Guin’s "Earthsea" fantasy series shaped him as an early reader.More

muskrat

Here's an Anishinaabe poem and creation story by Kimberly Blaeser. It's the story of the lowly muskrat, and it reminds us that we are constantly building new worlds - since the beginning of time and even now.More

ROSS GAY

Because he’s fascinated by the process of collecting and by the impulse to document everyday life, poet Ross Gay recommends “Gene Smith’s Sink,” by Sam Stephenson. It’s a portrait of another collector — the legendary documentarian and photographer, W. Eugene Smith. More

Wendel Patrick/Kevin Gift (Via Artists' Websites)

Kevin Gift is an acclaimed classical pianist. Wendel Patrick is a rising hip hop artist. And many people have no idea as they’re the same man.More

Cheryl Strayed

Devastated at the unexpected death of her morther, Cheryl Strayed embarked on a three-month solo trip along the rugged Pacific Crest...More

Clarice Jensen

After 30 years of playing it, cellist Clarice Jensen decided she wanted to open up what she could do with her cello. So she started plugging it into guitar pedals.More

Susan Orlean

For as long as she can remember, Susan Orlean has had a favorite book, "The Sound and the Fury," by William Faulkner. A Southern gothic novel set over a period of three decades, the book explores the lives of the members of one family, the Compsons. Told from multiple perspectives and set in several time periods, it’s not a chronological or easy read.More

Phillip Pullman

Philip Pullman, the celebrated English writer has just written a 630-page sequel brimming with contentious ideas about religious tyranny, the loss of imagination and the nature of consciousness — all in a book that’s marketed to children.More

Ruth Ozeki pulling a book from the beach.

Books can take us anywhere, but they can also take us any time. Ruth Ozeki pulls us through time and across an ocean in her novel "A Tale For the Time Being."More

Henry Morton Stanley (center) meets David Livingstone (right)

Nineteenth century European explorer David Livingstone died of malaria nearly 150 years ago, but as author Petina Gappah explains, Africans are still debating his legacy today as they assess the impact of European colonialism.More

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman — author of the fantasy classic "His Dark Materials" — is clearly attuned to the imaginative world of children. So maybe it’s not surprising that the book that exerted such a pull on his own imagination was "The Pocket Atlas of the World," which he first encountered at the age of nine.More

Screengrab from "His Dark Materials" on HBO

Philip Pullman is once again having a moment, thanks to the new blockbuster adaptation of "His Dark Materials" by the BBC and HBO. Pullman has also returned to the fictional world of his heroine, Lyra Belacqua, with a new trilogy, "The Book of Dust," which probes more deeply into the central question of his earlier books: What is the nature of consciousness? More

'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 11

The streaming age means our shows are watched individually, on our own time. That makes it all the more remarkable that a television show about drag queens can bring people together in person.More

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