Interviews By Topic

Petina Gappah on "Persuasion"

Author Petina Gappah recommends a book she explains is “The most African of Jane Austen’s novels.” Her reason why is a look at women in African today told through the eyes of two novelists: a Zimbabwean in 2020 and English woman in 1818.More

Alice Walker

Hope is a complicated, even slippery, word. One that demands a poet’s voice. Here’s Alice Walker, reading her poem “Hope is a Woman Who Has Lost Her Fear.”More

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

"The Tradition" book cover design by Phil Kovacevich and art by Ralphi Burgess. (Copper Canyon Press)

Jericho Brown is an award-winning poet who has been working with religious language for a long time. His poems have titles like "1 Corinthians 13:11" and "Hebrews 13." His book "The Tradition" continues to mine Brown's childhood in the church.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

TTBOOK

TTBOOK technical director Caryl Owen explains why she’s always been fascinated by rocks and the language of geology.More

TTBOOK

In 2014, Dan and Judy Pierotti invited us to be part of the end of Dan's life. From early conversations with Dan - a retired Lutheran...More

Galactic kidneys

Missy Makinia donated her kidney to whoever might need it. Her transplant surgeon — Josh Mezrich — invited Shannon into his operating room to see firsthand what it takes to remove and transport a human kidney.More

Larry Brilliant

Larry Brilliant is best known as part of the United Nations team of doctors responsible for curing smallpox. But back in the 1960s, he was a hippie whose guru told him his destiny was to help cure smallpox.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

folding microscope

Manu Prakash invented a paper microscope that’s now being used in research labs and classrooms around the world.More

Missy's surgery, as the team work and producer Shannon Henry Kleiber listens in.

Missy Makinia donated her kidney to whoever might need it. Her transplant surgeon — Josh Mezrich — invited Shannon into his operating room to see firsthand what it takes to remove and transport a human kidney.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

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