American Literature

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to speak once again with the author, critic, former librarian, and die-hard book-lover Nancy Pearl, who's well-known for her frequent appearances on NPR's Morning Edition, her tireless championing of old or out-of-print titles, and her "Book Lust" series of books about books. Nancy used to live in Tulsa, and she's been the book reviewer for this program for 20+ years --- indeed, while she usually joins us by phone from her home in Seattle, this time around, Nancy is with us in the studio.

The "Collected Poems" of Ron Padgett

Apr 1, 2014

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to welcome Ron Padgett back to our show. This Tulsa-born, New York-based poet, translator, and editor published his "Collected Poems" last fall, and he'll be reading from that book at 7pm tonight (Tuesday the 1st) at the AHHA / Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa; this event is co-presented by Book Smart Tulsa, Louder Than A Bomb: Tulsa, and This Land Press, and it's free to the public.

We speak by phone today with Blake Bailey, who grew up in Oklahoma City, now teaches creative writing in Virginia, and is the author of three highly regarded literary biographies (of Richard Yates, John Cheever, and Charles Jackson).

Theatre Tulsa's New Stage initiative will soon offer its first-ever production with a widely hailed play from 2010 that has never before graced an Oklahoma stage: "Clybourne Park," by Bruce Norris, is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning comedy/drama that was written in response to Lorraine Hansberry's landmark play, "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959). "Clybourne Park" will be staged in the Liddy Doenges Theatre at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center from tomorrow night (Friday the 21st) through March 2nd.

"A Streetcar Named Desire" --- which earned playwright Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948, was the basis for the classic 1951 film with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and remains one of the fundamental if not defining works of the American stage --- is opening at 7:30pm tonight (Friday the 14th) here in Tulsa, in a new production at the Tulsa PAC's John H. Williams Theatre. This version of "Streetcar" is being produced by The Playhouse Tulsa; it's running through February 22nd.

(Please note: This interview first aired about a year ago.) We are happy to welcome the acclaimed author (and fifth-generation Oklahoman) Rilla Askew back to our show. Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and she is a three-time recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award. Her latest novel, "Kind of Kin," is now being published in paperback; it first appeared in hardback in early 2013. Askew joins us to chat about this work.

(Note: This program first aired last year.) On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Susan Nussbaum, an accomplished playwright, first-time novelist, and longtime disabilities-rights advocate. Nussbaum tells us about her widely acclaimed and award-winning debut novel, "Good Kings Bad Kings," which is just out in paperback, and which a critic for The Los Angeles Review of Books has called "a knockout.... Nussbaum possesses an astonishing ear for idiosyncratic voices, and a talent for creating characters who appear in full bloom within a few sentences.

On today's show, we speak with John Wooley, host of the popular "Swing on This" program here on Public Radio 89.5, which airs every Saturday night at 7pm. Wooley is also a prolific and longtime writer/critic/advocate/fanboy concerning many various facets of American pop culture: horror movies, Western Swing music, comic books, pulp fiction, Oklahoma music and filmmaking, etc.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the writer Kate Christensen, whose six novels include "The Great Man," which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Elle, and elsewhere --- and her popular blog can be accessed here. Her latest book is "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites," an acclaimed memoir, which she discusses with us on today's ST.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who's well-known and widely celebrated for his drama, "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," which first appeared in the early 1990s, and which was thereafter converted into an HBO-TV miniseries  that was directed by Mike Nichols.

Today on StudioTulsa, we're joined by our friend and colleague Richard Higgs, a local writer who's well-known as one of the co-hosts of Folk Salad, the long-running folk & blues & Red Dirt (& alt-country & Americana & singer-songwriter & what-not) radio show heard Sunday evenings at 7pm here on Public Radio 89.5. Higgs has a new book out, "Then There Is No Mountain: An American Memoir," which he discusses with us today.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the celebrated American author, Philip Caputo, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Chicago before going on to write several notable works of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including 1977's "A Rumor of War," one of the most highly praised and widely read volumes ever published on the Vietnam War.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 19th, the annual Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers will happen here on the TU campus; it's a day-long writing-and-editing symposium presented by Nimrod International Journal, running from 9:30am to 4:30pm and offering workshops in fiction, poetry, memoir, YA fantasy, writing queries and synopses for literary agents, and more.

Today we speak with Mary Kay Zuravleff, an acclaimed author with Oklahoma roots who's now based in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She'll be in Tulsa tonight (Tuesday the 1st) to participate in a "Book Smart Tulsa BBQ" at Harwelden Mansion, which begins at 6pm.

On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications. He's also the editor of Humanities magazine, which is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he joins us to discuss his book, "The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published," which is just now out in paperback.

(Note: This show originally aired earlier this year.) On this edition of ST, we speak with the celebrated young writer Nathaniel Rich (born 1980), whose essays and short stories have appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and elsewhere, and whose latest novel is called "Odds Against Tomorrow." Set in a New York City of the very near future, this novel tells the story of one Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician who works for a financial consulting firm called FutureWorld.

We speak today by phone with author Sara Farizan, who is the daughter of Iranian immigrants, lives near Boston, and has just published her first novel. It's a YA novel that's been getting great reviews, and it's called "If You Could Be Mine." This book tells the story of two girls, Sahar and Nasrin, lifelong friends who live in the great Iranian city known as Tehran, and who also happen to be in love with one another. It is, as a critic for School Library Journal has written, a "terrific debut novel....

On this edition of ST, we speak with Susan Kates, an associate professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who tells us about her new book, an autobiographical collection of essays called "Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains." Born and raised in Ohio, Kates now considers herself an Oklahoman --- she's been teaching at OU for the past two decades or so --- and this book quite deliberately traces her development from immigrant to native.

(Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) Food, glorious food --- it's more, of course, than what we eat. Food is memory, family, love, culture, and community.

On this edition of our show, we're pleased to welcome back Prof. Robert Spoo, the Chapman Distinguished Chair at The University of Tulsa College of Law. Prof.

The brilliant Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), the great American critic, fiction writer, poet, and satirist --- that famously witty (and frequently scathing) author whose many memorable assertions include "I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true" and "if all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised" --- is now back in business. That is, she's cracking wise all over again, in a manner of speaking, in a new book.

Our guest is the celebrated American author, Philip Caputo, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Chicago before going on to write several notable works of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including 1977's "A Rumor of War," one of the most highly praised and widely read volumes ever published on the Vietnam War.

Our guest is the writer Kate Christensen, whose six novels include "The Great Man," which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Elle, and elsewhere --- and her popular blog can be accessed here. Her latest book is "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites," an acclaimed memoir, which she discusses with us on today's ST.

On this installment of ST, we welcome back Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. Well-known for her work as a librarian, bestselling author, and literary critic, Nancy began her career as a bookseller and librarian here in T-Town; she can still be heard recommending books every now and again on NPR's Morning Edition. She was, until August 2004, the Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library --- and was also the founder of the pioneering and widely imitated "If All Seattle Read The Same Book" program.

"Watergate: A Novel" (Encore presentation.)

Jul 8, 2013

(Please note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) On this installment of our show, we speak by phone with the writer, critic, and journalist Thomas Mallon, whose critically acclaimed novels include "Henry and Clara" and "Dewey Defeats Truman." Mallon frequently writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and The Atlantic, and his newest novel, now out in paperback, is "Watergate." Hailed as "wildly entertaining from beginning to end" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and "a brilliant presentation, subtle and sympathetic but spiked with satire" (The Washington Post), th

Nimrod International Journal, founded in 1956 here at TU, is a well-respected, twice-a-year literary publication that's been dedicated to printing work by writers both emerging and established for more than half a century. Our guest is Francine Ringold, editor-in-chief of Nimrod, who describes the latest issue, which is just out now. This issue's theme is "Lasting Matters: Writers 57 and Over" --- and as Fran adds, there will be a special, free-to-the-public reading from this issue tonight (Thursday the 27th) at 7:30pm in the Meinig Recital Hall at TU's Lorton Performing Arts Center.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the widely celebrated young writer Nathaniel Rich (born 1980), whose essays and short stories have appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and elsewhere, and whose latest novel is called "Odds Against Tomorrow." Late last week, Rich did a Book Smart Tulsa reading and signing in connection with this book; while he was here in town, we spoke with him. Set in a New York City of the very near future, the novel tells the story of one Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician who works for a financial consulting firm called FutureWorld.

On this installment of ST, a discussion of both the art and craft of making books. Our guest is Jody Williams, a Minneapolis-based book artist, printmaker, teacher, and writer. The (mostly miniature-sized) books that she creates as individual works of art appear under the name Flying Paper Press; books created by Williams have appeared in exhibits all over the country, and some are included in a group show currently on view at the Philbrook Museum of Art (through July 21st) called About Bookworks III.

Sure, you loved "The Catcher in the Rye" at the age of 16...but would you still love it? You appreciated "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Cannery Row" way back when, but would that still be the case today? And on the other hand, if the plays of Ibsen or Shakespeare didn't exactly knock you out during that long-ago sophomore year of college, do you think they'd still miss the mark? Or might they be worth another shot?

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