March 22, 2019 Laura Kasischke
While at the Kansas City Public Library, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet Laura Kasischke reads from her 2017 Where Now: New and Selected Poems, including her tongue-in-cheek beauty queen poems. Also an author of novels and short stories, she talks about her writing process and how it varies for her fiction and poetry.
March 15, 2019 Feminist Poets: Past American Voices
This program pays tribute to the past American voices of feminist poets from the last century, who opened doors at publishing houses for the vast numbers of talented women writers today. Listen to excerpts from Pulitzer Prize winners Maxine Kumin (1925-2014) and Carolyn Kizer(1925-2014), as well as MacArthur "genius" fellow Adrienne Rich (1929-2012). We'll also listen to the late Audre Lorde (1934-1992), who was the State Poet Laureate of New York when she died in 1992. To find more programs with these poets, search our Audio Archives.
March 8, 2019 Rupert Thomson
Born in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in England, Rupert Thomson has written over a dozen books, including his 2010 memoir This Party's Got to Stop, which won the Writer's Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction. In this interview at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, he discusses his 2018 book, Never Anyone But You, a novel about two lesbians in early 20th century France, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. From mental illness to resisting fascism, the book also explores "loving someone impossible." Thomson also talks about how he grapples with the usefulness of genre and terms like literary fiction, the difficulties of being a detective, and the patience required of writers.
March 1, 2019 Ellen Bass
In part two of our conversation with poet Ellen Bass, she discusses how, after being married and having two children, she came to discover another part of her sexuality and committed to a more than three-decade relationship with her now wife. She also reminisces on the mentorship she received from the late poet Anne Sexton and the co-founder of The Feminist Press, Florence Howe, and talks about the premier anthology that she and Howe worked on called No More Masks! An Anthology of Twentieth Century American Women Poets. Bass reads more from her two most recent books, Like a Beggar and The Human Line, and reveals how literature changed her life. Part one of this conversation along with an anthology program featuring Ellen Bass are also available in our audio archives.
February 22, 2019 Marcus Jackson
Cave Canem Fellow Marcus Jackson reads from his debut poetry collection, Neighborhood Register and his 2018 book, Pardon My Heart. Jackson, an Ohio native who teaches in the MFA program at The Ohio State University, discusses his writing that touches on themes of love, racial identity, and family, particularly Pardon My Heart, which began after he was newly married. An earlier show featuring his work with The Symphony Poets is also available in our audio archives.
February 15, 2019 Glenn North
Glenn North, the inaugural Poet Laureate of the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District, shares passages from his 2015 book City of Song (due to be re-released in 2019 by Spartan Press). Excerpted from the Kansas City Public Library's 2017 program, To Make a Poet Black and Bid Him Sing, the Cave Canem fellow, community organizer, and winner of the Charlotte Street Foundation's Generative Performing Artist Award discusses his involvement in youth poetry workshops and shares his experience as a black poet. North also talks about his collaboration with jazz musician Bobby Watson to create the musical spoken word CD, Check Cashing Day.
February 8, 2019 Gwendolyn Brooks: Past American Voice
We turn to our extensive archive to present this look back at the legacy of the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks. The first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her 1949 poetry collection, Annie Allen, Brooks went on to influence generations of poets. In this compilation made from a 1984 program and parts 1 and 2 of a 1988 interview, Brooks reads from her works, including her famous "We Real Cool" poem, and talks about her childhood, her decision to leave Harper & Row for a black publishing company, and the recognition of her own mortality.
February 1, 2019 Patricia Smith
In the second half of this interview, Patricia Smith, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellow and the 2018 winner of the coveted Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, reads from her book Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, the 2014 winner of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt Award. Smith also shares a poem from her earlier National Poetry Series Award-winning collection, Teahouse of the Almighty. She discusses the relationship she had with her parents before and after her father’s murder and reveals how that has impacted her life and writing.
January 25, 2019 Marcus Wicker
Michigan native Marcus Wicker talks about how his poetry has progressed since his early days with poetry slams and reads from the 2011 National Poetry Series winning collection, Maybe the Saddest Thing, a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Poetry. He reveals why music and pop culture subject matter, ranging from Flavor Flav to Bruce Lee, appear so much in this first book. He also shares the genesis for his second book, Silencer--another NAACP poetry finalist and winner of the 2018 Arnold Adoff Poetry Award-- which mixes his love of music with stories of racism and violence. A two-time Cave Canem fellow, the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review now teaches at the University of Memphis, and talks about what he learns from reading other poets. This program also contains musical segments by his brother, the hip hop producer, Flaw da God.
January 18, 2019 Patricia Smith
Patricia Smith is the author of seven poetry books and a four-time National Poetry Slam Champion, the most successful poet in the competition's history. In part one of this conversation, she reads from her recent book, Incendiary Art, 2018 winner of an NAACP Image Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and discusses the why she chose to write so much about the late Emmett Till, who was killed the year of her birth.
January 11, 2019 Hadara Bar-Nadav & Kathryn Nuernberger
In this interview at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Public Library, poets Hadara Bar-Nadav and Kathryn Nuernberger, who were both chosen as 2017 NEA Literary Fellows, discuss their recent collections along with their origins and influences, and talk about how dreaming affects their poetry. Bar-Nadav, the co-editor of the textbook, Writing Poems, who teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, reads poems from Fountain and Furnace and The New Nudity, while Nuernberger, former editor of Pleiades Press at the University of Central Missouri, reads from her James Laughlin Award-winning poetry collection, The End of Pink. Now at the University of Minnesota, Nuernberger will return to Kansas City for a 2019 Midwest Poets Series reading and will talk with us about her recent essay collection, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past. An earlier 2013 interview with Hadara Bar-Nadav is also available in our Audio Archives.
Kansas City Literary Events