American Literature

Today on ST we speak by phone with Benjamin Lytal, who grew up in Tulsa and now resides in Chicago, and who has written for The Wall Street Journal, The London Review of Books, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Sun, The Believer, McSweeney's, and other publications. Lytal's first novel, "A Map of Tulsa," has just been published, and he'll be doing a free reading/signing in connection with this book tonight (Tuesday the 26th) at the Harwelden Mansion here in Tulsa at 7pm.

"Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch" (Encore presentation.)

Mar 25, 2013

(Please note: This program originally aired last year.) On this installment of our show, better living through savvy verb deployment. Our guest is Constance Hale, the bestselling author of "Sin and Syntax" and other books on language, writing, and word choice. A veteran journalist and teacher, Hale has a new book out called "Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing." It's a work in four chapters, each as informative as it is entertaining, and it's that rare example of a "how to" book on English usage that's genuinely accessible from start to finish.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), the great American critic, fiction writer, poet, and satirist --- that famously witty (and frequently scathing) scribe whose many brilliant 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 two guests on this edition of ST are Michael Wright and Steven Marzolf. Both are directing plays currently being presented in repertory by the TU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre; Wright is directing Neil Simon's classic comedy/drama, "Biloxi Blues," which opens tonight, and Marzolf is directing John Murrell's "Waiting for the Parade," which opened last night. Both plays concern the Second World War, yet they differ in some interesting ways --- for example, Simon's play is essentially an all-male saga about coming of age amid the struggles of basic training in the U.S.

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 just now being published, and she joins us on ST to chat about this work.

"Running the Rift: A Novel"

Jan 4, 2013

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Naomi Benaron about her debut novel, "Running the Rift," which appeared in soft-cover back in October, and which was awarded the Bellwether Prize in 2010 (which is given biennially to an unpublished novel that confronts social issues). "Running the Rift" is set in Rwanda; it begins in 1994 and runs, as a narrative, through 1998. Thus it takes place in a country that knew horrific genocide in a devastatingly hellish conflict that pitted neighbor against neighbor.

The Best of ST in 2012: Joy Harjo

Jan 2, 2013

Happy New Year, folks. On this "best of" edition of our show, we're listening back to an engaging chat from October, when we spoke with the noted poet, musician, and storyteller Joy Harjo.

Nancy Pearl's Gift-Giving Book Suggestions

Dec 18, 2012

On this installment of ST, we are discussing great reads for the gift-givng season --- for yourself and/or the avid reader(s) on your holiday shopping list. We check in with Nancy Pearl, a former librarian and bookseller here in Tulsa who's now based in Seattle, and who's well-known for her book-promoting appearances on NPR's Morning Edition as well as her popular series of "Book Lust" volumes (which recommend all sorts of books for a range of different readers).

On this edition of our program, we speak with Wendell Berry, who's worked as a prolific and highly principled writer of fiction, essays, and poetry for the past 50 years. Mr. Berry has been named the Tulsa Library Trust's 2012 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author, and he'll be in town to accept this honor later this week. Indeed, he'll give a free-to-the-public presentation at 10:30am on Saturday the 8th at the TCCL's Central Library, at Fourth Street and Denver Avenue in Downtown Tulsa.

"Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"

Nov 28, 2012

On this edition of our show, we speak with the Bay Area-based writer Robin Sloan, whose smart, tech-savvy, entertaining, and decidedly adventure-driven debut novel, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore," has been drawing some rave reviews. As critic Janet Maslin has noted in The New York Times, this book is a "slyly arch novel about technology and its discontents.... The culture clash at work here --- Google aces wielding the full, computer-assisted strength of their collective brainpower, one scholar fiddling with a quaint astrolabe --- has a topicality that works to this novel's advantage.

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