Arts and Culture

Ken Nordine is the epitome of jazz poetry, nicknamed "the Voice." Best known for his "Word Jazz" series, this poem is one he did for a paint company. The paint company is long forgotten, but the poem lives on.More

Heart graphic

Poems can hold grief and mark loss. But what about love? Romantic love. Poet Li-Young Lee understands this completely. Because he’s in love.More

Site of Thoreau's Hut, Concord, Mass.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life." Those famous lines from Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" have inspired generations of people — including his biographer, Laura Dassow Walls.More

Andreas Weber in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany.

Andreas Weber is a German biologist and philosopher with a highly unconventional way of describing the natural world, one in which "love" is a foundational principle of biology.More

haunted grocery store

Dan Chaon’s collection of short stories, "Stay Awake," is horror. But horror in a way that many of us can relate to. It’s stories of people who are alive but feel like ghosts.More

demon lake

Listener Sophia Derbes sent us this ghost story about a boy, a girl and the divide between them.More

texting people in the dark

Could being digitized be a way for all of us to become immortal? Maybe, but not in a way we would particularly enjoy, as this story from listener Mark Pantoja illustrates.More

president ghost

A ghost story for the election season from listener Eric Van Vleet.More

neon brain

Writers are used to working in isolation. So how are they responding to the COVID-19 lockdown? Ilan Stavans has edited an anthology of international writing to consider the question. Stavans himself says the pandemic has liberated him as a writer.More

Teju Cole

Teju Cole grew up in Nigeria and then moved to U.S., joining millions of others in the African diaspora. He became an acclaimed novelist and photographer, and now celebrates the cosmopolitan culture of global cities, including Lagos and New York.More

A building at the Zoma Museum

In Addis Ababa, curator Meskerem Assegued and artist Elias Sime have created Zoma Museum as a visionary model of an urban future, using ancient Ethiopian building techniques. They say modern development can be much more than concrete high-rises.More

A moment on the street in Addis Ababa.

Ghanaian post-colonial theorist Ato Quayson thinks a lot about globalization, diaspora and transnationalism. Because he’s a literary scholar, he decided to "read" a single street — Oxford Street in Accra — as a study of contemporary urban Africa.More

"The most important colour in alchemy was red. It was a symbol of life, blood and the Sun."

Alchemy left its mark on Prague — and on our producer, Charles Monroe-Kane, who lived there as a young man. He says the Czechs are still uncovering alchemical secrets.More

Jericho Brown

As a black, gay poet, Jericho Brown considers it “hilarious” that he discovered sex through one of the whitest writers in American history — John Updike. More

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange says he wasn't much of a reader in his early years. But a chance encounter with an absurd, experimental novel by John Kennedy Toole showed him a path to writing a novel that was truly his own.More

Author Susan Orlean on how the worst library fire in American history brought an entire city together to save 700,000 books.More

girl reading

New York Times Book Review Editor Pamela Paul on why reading — and more importantly, a deep connection to when, why, where and how of what we read — is so important at every age. More

Piles of books

Who says reading has to be a solitary experience? Producer Shannon Henry Kleiber brings us along to her yearly reading ritual: a gathering of super smart, funny women who make an entire reading plan for the next 12 months — together.More

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