Thu, 15 October 2009
Galway Kinnell was born February 1, 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. He has been hailed as one of the most influential American poets of the latter half of the 20th century. Educated at Princeton and Rochester Universities, he served in the United States Navy, after which he spent several years traveling, in Europe and the Middle East. His first book of poems, What a Kingdom It Was, was published in 1960, followed by Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock (1964).
Upon his return to the United States, Kinnell joined CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) as a field worker and spent much of the 1960s involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Social activism during this time found its way into his work – Body Rags (1968), and especially The Book of Nightmares (1971), a book-length poem concerned with the Vietnam War. Other books of poetry include Selected Poems (1980), for which he received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Imperfect Thirst (1996); When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone (1990) and A New Selected Poems (2000), a finalist for the National Book Award; He has also published translations of works by Yves Bonnefroy, Yvanne Goll, François Villon, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Rockefeller Grant, the 1974 Shelley Prize of the Poetry Society of America, and the 1975 Medal of Merit from National Institute of Arts and Letters. He has served as poet-in-residence at numerous colleges and universities, and as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007.
We met recently at his home in Vermont to talk about his work. Please listen here:
Wed, 7 October 2009
Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) was born in Armenia in 1908. His photographer uncle, George Nakash, brought him to Canada in 1924. After apprenticing in Boston with John H. Garo, Karsh settled in Ottawa in 1932, where he began his professional career. By 1936 he was photographing visiting statesmen and dignitaries, among them President Franklin Roosevelt.
His December, 1941 portrait of a bulldoggish Winston Churchill, symbolizing Britain’s wartime resolve, brought Karsh international attention. Among the most widely reproduced portraits in the history of photography, ‘Churchill’ was also one of the first to carry the famous "Karsh of Ottawa" copyright.
I met recently with Jerry Fielder, Curator and Director of the Estate of Yousuf Karsh to talk about Karsh and the books that contain his works.
Please listen here:
Mon, 5 October 2009
Writer, journalist, comic reader, intermittent blogger, and over-tired family man Brad Mackay is the author most recently of a biographical essay which appears in The Collected Doug Wright Volume One (Drawn and Quarterly, 2009).
First of a two-volume set, the book – designed by well known Canadian cartoonist Seth - presents a comprehensive look at the life and career of one of the most-read, best-loved cartoonists of the 1960s. The work draws from thousands of pieces of art, pictures, and letters, plus the artist’s own journals, and provides a picture of the British-born Wright as both cartoonist and human being. It follows his artistic development from earliest unpublished works through to the introduction of his most enduring comic strip, Nipper. First published in 1949, a full year before the debut of Peanuts, it memorably captured both the humorous and frustrating side of parenting.
I spoke with Brad recently in Ottawa. We use Wright as a wedge to drill into the history of illustration, comics and graphic novels. Toward the end of our discussion Brad provides some tips for those interested in collecting comics and graphic novels.
Please listen here
Sat, 3 October 2009
This from the incomparable British Council’s contemporary writers website:
Born in Southport in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire, studying for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an MAin Comparative Literature, at the University of Kent. He lived for a year in Sicily before moving to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England.
In his first novel, Ghostwritten (1999), nine narrators in nine locations across the globe tell interlocking stories. This novel won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.
His second novel, number9dream (2001), was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for fiction. It is set in modern day Tokyo and tells the story of Eiji Miyake’s search for his father.
In 2003 David Mitchell was named by Granta magazine as one of twenty ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. In his third novel, Cloud Atlas (2004), a young Pacific islander witnesses the nightfall of science and civilisation, while questions of history are explored in a series of seemingly disconnected narratives. Cloud Atlas was shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
David Mitchell lives in Ireland. His latest novel is Black Swan Green (2006)
We met recently in Toronto to talk about experimentation and realism, plot, character and all that good stuff, but also about the greatness of John Cheever, high brow and pulp fiction, good pot boilers, the cosmos, cosmi, connections, melding verbs, platitudinous profundities, critics as platypus taxidermists, poetry in prose, the originalities of happy blunders and cultural juxtapositions, Perec’s W, monkeying with structure, planning your funeral, evaluative criticism and the delightful experience of reading Chekhov’s short stories.
Please listen here: