May 25, 2018 Matt Gallagher
Former U.S. Army Captain Matt Gallagher discusses his novel, Youngblood, which draws from his military service during the Iraq War. Also the author of the memoir, Kaboom, and co-editor and contributor to the collection, Fire & Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, Gallagher discusses how he crafted his book of fiction with fellow novelist Whitney Terrell, in this 2017 interview at the Kansas City Public Library. He talks about his desire to create fully dimensional and complex Iraqi characters, while capturing some of the moral ambiguity that exits on all sides during military conflict. The veteran is currently an instructor for Words After War, a weekly writing workshop that brings veterans and civilians together to examine war through literature.
May 18, 2018 Ellen Bass
Growing up in a Philadelphia apartment above a liquor store, poet Ellen Bass thought her childhood was "the most mundane, pedestrian, unpoetic world you could possibly live in," but after many years and the death of her parents, she finds herself poetically inspired by that time, especially in her two recent books, Like a Beggar and The Human Line. In part one of this conversation, she also talks about being honored by the late U.S. Poet Laureate, Philip Levine in The New Yorker's debut podcast, and gives advice through poetry for when bad things happen.
May 11, 2018 Bonnie Bolling
Bonnie Bolling's award winning poetry collections often tackle tough subject matter, blending tragedy with beauty. The editor-in-chief of Verdad magazine since 2006, she now divides her time between Southern California and The Persian Gulf. Bolling discusses her 2016 John Ciardi Poetry Prize winning collection, The Red Hijab, which reflects on her life in Bahrain during the 2011 uprising, and reads from her earlier book, In the Kingdom of the Sons, which won the Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry.
May 4, 2018 Monica Youn
The second half of this conversation with lawyer-turned-poet Monica Youn focuses more on her background. Both her parents were born in Korea and met in the U.S., where she was raised in Houston and rarely heard about family history. Youn, a member of the Asian-American Writers Workshop in New York, talks about her struggles with stereotyping and her uneasy relationship with Korean culture, as she reads from her three award-winning books, Barter, Ignatz, and Blackacre. She also reveals how world stories, such as Greek and Nordic myths and medieval French and English literature figure into her poetry about the present. Part one of this program with Monica Youn is also available in our audio archives.
April 27, 2018 Stephen Corey
A three-time Georgia Author of the Year for poetry, Stephen Corey is the editor of the National Magazine Award-winning, The Georgia Review. He talks about his literary life and reads from his 2017 book, Startled at the Big Sound: Essays Personal, Literary, and Cultural. The husband of a hospice nurse and the father of four girls, he reveals how the title was inspired by one of his two adopted daughters. Corey also discusses his approach to editing and the writing life as he reads poetry from his earlier book, There is No Finished World.
April 20, 2018 Kansas Poets Laureate
The second half of this reading by Kansas Poets Laureate, Past & Present, recorded at the University of Kansas Center for Design Research begins with Wyatt Townley (2013-15), who introduces the Kansas Poet Laureate she followed, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (2009-13). She reads from her newest collection about yoga, as well as her prize-winning book, Chasing Weather. Denise Low (2007-09) reveals some poetic inspirations for her new books, from turtles to her Native American ancestry, then circles back around to the current Kansas Poet Laureate, Kevin Rabas (2017-19).
April 13, 2018 Kansas Poets Laureate
In part one Kansas Poets Laureate, Past & Present, the current holder of the post, Kevin Rabas, reads along with former laureates Eric McHenry and Wyatt Townley. They share their works, new and old, in a presentation sponsored by the Kansas Area Watershed Council at the University of Kansas Center for Design Research. The poets reveal how they infuse avocations and personal experience into their books, including Kevin's jazz, Eric's humor and history, and Wyatt's practice of dance and yoga.
April 6, 2018 Robert Stewart
Robert Stewart, the St. Louis born writer and editor of New Letters magazine, has written several books of poetry and essays. Winner of the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence and a National Magazine Award for Editorial Excellence, Stewart talks about his creative process and discusses how his blue collar past has inspired his writing, from his 1988 book Plumbers (reissued in 2017) to his 2018 collection of poetry, Working Class. He also reads from his 2014 essay book, The Narrow Gate: Writing, Art & Values. Earlier interviews with Robert Stewart from 1983 and 2005 are also available in our Audio Archives.
March 30, 2018 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 latest 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, editor of Pleiades Press at the University of Central Missouri and author of essay collection, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past, reads from her James Laughlin Award-winning poetry collection, The End of Pink.
March 23, 2018 Rachel Hall
Published in various anthologies and literary magazines, including New Letters as the Fiction Prize winner of 2004, Rachel Hall discusses her first book, a collection of interconnected short stories called Heirlooms. Chosen by Marge Piercy as the 2015 winner of the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction from BkMk Press and winner of the 2018 Philip McMath Post-publication Book Award, it is based on her own family's history and wartime papers and photos. The book follows a Jewish family through the French Resistance and the Holocaust, tracing their lives from Palestine, to France, and eventually to Missouri in the United States. While at the National Archives at Kansas City, Hall reads from this collection and reveals why she chose to write this as fiction rather than memoir. Click here to view the photos Rachel Hall discussed during this interview.
March 16, 2018 Monica Youn
A lawyer-turned-poet, Monica Youn has written three books of poetry, and now teaches creative writing in New York. Twice a finalist for the National Book Award, she reveals why she felt the need to leave the legal field for creative writing after her second poetry book. She also discusses how historical views on a woman's place in society and her own struggles with infertility helped shape her third book, Blackacre, winner of the 2017 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.
Kansas City Literary Events