Art

Image by Katherine H via flickr, http://bit.ly/1eRt01k

Well, Christmas day has finally arrived, a day for gifts and giving. We're hoping you can finally put the busy-ness and commercial hubbub of the season aside and settle in to enjoy our gift to you. Thursday on RadioWest, we've got two great holiday stories for your enjoyment: Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" and Ron Carlson's "H Street Sledding Record." (Rebroadcast)

The writer Anthony Doerr’s new novel All the Light We Cannot See tells the tale of a blind French girl in possession of a possibly cursed jewel, a German boy fascinated by radios, and their intersecting fates during World War II. For Doerr, it was a chance to explore the effects of war on children and his research for the book at times haunted him. Tuesday we're rebroadcasting a conversation with Doerr about his latest novel, his approach to writing, and about the profusion of miracles we encounter every day. [Rebroadcast]

After nine years of fighting to keep his prostate cancer at bay, numerous treatments weren’t working for writer Jeff Metcalf. Doctors told him his days were numbered and with that scary forecast ringing in his ears, Metcalf started “cleaning the garage.” He sifted through old handwritten journals, collected his thoughts, and resolved to write one essay every week for a year. Metcalf joins us Wednesday to talk about those essays, his battle with cancer, and how writing has helped him “pay the piper.”

Poet Mark Strand

Dec 5, 2014
Casa de América via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1A1r81A

Mark Strand has been described as a poet of simple words. But his body of acclaimed work is playful and mysterious - a voyage through the sound of language. Strand died last weekend. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winner, a former US Poet Laureate, and he was regarded as one of the greatest poets of his generation. Strand joined us on the show back in 2007, and Friday we're rebroadcasting that conversation with a remarkable man and a truly gifted poet. (Rebroadcast)

Photo by <a href="http://bit.ly/1FM6F4W">vintagedept</a>, CC via Flickr

Wednesday, we’re gathering local booksellers for our annual holiday book show. Betsy Burton of The King's English, Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books, and Catherine Weller of Weller Book Works will join us to suggest titles that would impress even the finickiest on your list. As usual, we’ve got fiction and nonfiction and books for kids. We’ll also remember a few of the great authors we lost during 2014.

Monday, Iranian-American author Azar Nafisi joins us to talk about the state of literature and the humanities in the US. Using the great American works Huck Finn, Babbitt, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, she argues the greatest danger to the literary arts is not a totalitarian regime, but the "intellectual indolence" of the public. Nafisi says it matters because literature is more than entertainment; it is a guide to a better society. Her new book is called The Republic of Imagination.

Wednesday, we’re talking about Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel “Dracula.” Historian Jim Steinmeyer says it wasn’t just folk legends that inspired Stoker’s creation. His book drew from popular theater of the day, from literary contemporaries like Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde, and even real-life headlines of Jack the Ripper. Steinmeyer joins Doug to talk about the monster Stoker made, and why Dracula remains an undead icon today.

Credit Holger Börnsen / Deutsche Bundespost

Few stories are tied so closely with childhood as the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. But as the scholar Maria Tatar notes, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm didn’t initially intend for children to read the more than 200 German folk tales they collected and rewrote. Two centuries later, they’re still being rewritten. Tatar says fairy tales are continually adapted to embody the cultural values of their time and place, and each retelling captures the values of the teller. We're partnering with Plan-B Theatre Company to present a live evening of Grimm tales adapted for radio, so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with Tatar. (Rebroadcast)

RadioWest and Plan-B Theatre return our radio drama series to the Halloween season with this year's Radio Hour Episode 9: Grimm. Playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett has adapted three beloved Grimm Brother stories to their original, dark tellings: Little Snow-White, Rapunzel, and The Juniper Tree. We'll broadcast the performance live at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and we'll air it again Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

Fictionist’s Stuart Maxfield says it’s strange that music isn’t actually about making music these days. In 2011, the Utah band was a semi-finalist in a Rolling Stone cover contest and was signed by Atlantic Records. But Maxfield says they were still outsiders, and their album languished as the label tried to homogenize their sound. Atlantic has dropped them, but it’s not slowing Fictionist down. They’ve just released a new album, and Thursday, they join us live to play the new music they’re making.

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