American Literature

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Prof. Sean Latham, the Pauline McFarlin Walter Endowed Chair of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Tulsa, where he also serves as editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, founding director of the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, and director of the TU Institute for Bob Dylan Studies. In this last-named capacity, Prof.

Our guest is Kevin Brockmeier, an imaginative and acclaimed writer based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

(Note: This interview first aired back in December.) Our guest is the writer Simon Han, who was born in China, grew up in Texas, and was formerly a Tulsa Artist Fellow. He joins us to discuss his novel, "Nights When Nothing Happened." As was noted of this tender, perceptive coming-of-age saga in a starred review in Kirkus: "Han expertly shifts the ground under the narrative, constantly shaking the snow globe to nudge the reader's perspective away from the familiar.... [The book's] characters are authentic, vulnerable, and utterly convincing, delivering one dynamite novel.

We are pleased to welcome Joy Harjo back to StudioTulsa. The poet, writer, performer, and musician is the current United State Poet Laureate. She's also a Tulsa resident, and a Tulsa Artist Fellow. A member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, she started writing as a young woman and started playing saxophone in her forties -- by now, she's well-regarded and widely celebrated in both capacities. Harjo joins us to discuss her new album, "I Pray for My Enemies," which is the first new recording of her music to appear in a decade.

The poet Dick Gallup, who grew up in Tulsa and came to prominence in the New York City literary scene of the 1960s and '70s alongside his friends and fellow Tulsans Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, and Ted Berrigan, died last month at his home in San Francisco. He was 79. Gallup was a part of the so-called "New York School" of poets, publishing books of poetry and a play. He taught writing workshops, gave numerous readings, and taught poetry writing to schoolchildren in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Our guest is the Tulsa-based writer, creative writing teacher, playwright, and performer, Michael Wright. He's had an active, far-flung career in the dual worlds of literature and theatre. The author of novels, plays, poems, and varous performance-art and spoken-word experiments, Wright was also the 2010 Playwriting Teacher of the Year for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the winner of the Kennedy Center 2011 Milan Stitt Award for outstanding teaching and professional work in playwriting.

Our guest is the writer Simon Han, who was born in China, grew up in Texas, and was formerly a Tulsa Artist Fellow. He joins us to discuss his new novel, "Nights When Nothing Happened." As was noted of this tender and perceptive coming-of-age saga in a starred review in Kirkus: "Han expertly shifts the ground under the narrative, constantly shaking the snow globe to nudge the reader's perspective away from the familiar.... [The book's] characters are authentic, vulnerable, and utterly convincing, delivering one dynamite novel.

(Note: This show originally aired last year.) Our guest is Julie Berry, the bestselling young-adult novelist. She joins us to discuss her latest book, "Lovely War: A Novel." As was noted of this work by School Library Journal: "The Greek gods relate the tale of how four young people's fates collide in a love story for the ages. Caught by Hephaestus in an compromising position with Ares, the god of War, Aphrodite is put on trial by her husband in a Manhattan hotel.

(Note: This interview first aired back in December.) Our guest is Phil Keith, the co-author of a remarkable biography titled "All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard -- Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy." As was noted of this compelling work in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "This dazzling biography, drawing on the subject's unpublished memoir, explores the incredible life and times of the first African-American fighter pilot: Eugene 'Gene' Bullard.

Our guest is Dr. Grant Jenkins, Associate Professor of English here at the University of Tulsa. He teaches creative writing as well as modern and contemporary U.S. literature, with a specialty in experimental poetry and poetics. Dr. Jenkins has just published his first novel, which he tells us about. "Ivory Tower" is an engrossing, genre-hopping crime thriller, set mainly on an American university campus. It's about a film professor who sets out to uncover sexual corruption within her school's football program. Please note that Dr.

Our guest is Terence Hawkins, whose second novel, "American Neolithic," was named a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2014. In a starred review, some five years ago, Kirkus called it "a towering work of speculative fiction." This book is now appearing in a revised, newly re-published edition, and Hawkins tells us about it on ST today. As the bestselling novelist Tom Perrotta has noted of this work: "A one-of-a-kind novel, a bizarre but gripping amalgam of anthropology, political diatribe, and speculative science fiction....

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome John Wooley back to our show. He's well-known for hosting the popular Swing on This western-swing program, which is heard Saturday nights at 7pm here on Public Radio 89.5 FM. He's also a prolific author -- of both faction and nonfiction -- with an array of interests and passions. Wooley joins us to discuss his newest book, just out, which he co-wrote.

Our guest is the Colorado-based writer and writing instructor, Joanna Howard. She grew up in the Sooner State, and her newly published memoir, "Rerun Era," looks back on her childhood amid the environmentally and economically damaged rural flatlands of Northeastern Oklahoma. The book interweaves her personal memories, her family's larger story and dynamics, and the various TV shows that they all came together to watch (and bond over) in the late 1970s and early '80s.

(Note: This show first aired back in March.) Our guest is the Colorado-based writer Peter Heller, who tells us about his new novel, "The River." Per The Denver Post: "A fiery tour de force [of] poetic, staccato sentences and masterfully crafted prose.... The story itself resembles a trip down a river -- some parts are peaceful and allow for quiet introspection and big, deep breaths. But then you hit the rapids and the danger and risk jump off the page, forcing a sense of urgency. In those thrilling parts, reading required self-discipline.

"Lovely War: A Novel"

Aug 20, 2019

Our guest is Julie Berry, the bestselling young-adult novelist. Her writing has earned starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, the Horn Book, and elsewhere. She joins us to discuss her new book, "Lovely War: A Novel." As was noted of this work by School Library Journal: "The Greek gods relate the tale of how four young people's fates collide in a love story for the ages. Caught by Hephaestus in an compromising position with Ares, the god of War, Aphrodite is put on trial by her husband in a Manhattan hotel.

(Note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Nathan Englander is our guest; he's the bestselling author of "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," and other books. He joins us to discuss his new novel, "Kaddish.com." Per a critic writing for The New York Times, this book is "sublime.... [It] reads like a modern-day Hasidic tale in which religious characters are bedeviled by the challenges of upholding God's word in an all too human world.... Kafka and Roth's influences are felt in Englander's work....

Many of us living here in Oklahoma -- and indeed, living all over the nation -- are today both pleased and proud to affirm that Joy Harjo, the much-celebrated, 68-year-old writer and musician based in Tulsa, was recently named by the Library of Congress as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Harjo is the first Native person to be selected for this honorable role. On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back to a conversation that we aired with Harjo in 2012, when her well-regarded memoir, "Crazy Brave," had just appeared.

Our guest is Elliot Ackerman, the author of several widely-acclaimed novels who's also a former Marine; he served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. Ackerman joins us to discuss his new book, a collection of autobiographical essays called "Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning." Per a starred review of this volume in Booklist: "[A] searing, contemplative, and unforgettable memoir-in-essays....

Nathan Englander is our guest; he's the bestselling author of "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, and "Dinner at the Center of the Earth," among other books. He joins us to discuss his new novel, "Kaddish.com." Per a critic writing for The New York Times, this book is "sublime.... [It] reads like a modern-day Hasidic tale in which religious characters are bedeviled by the challenges of upholding God's word in an all too human world.... Kafka and Roth's influences are felt in Englander's work....

The highly acclaimed novelist Rachel Kushner is our guest; she joins us to discuss her latest novel, "The Mars Room," which is now out in paperback. As was noted of this book (which was Time Magazine's #1 Fiction Title of the Year as well as a New York Times Notable Book of 2018) in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Two-time National Book Award finalist Kushner delivers a heartbreaking and unforgettable novel set in a California women's prison.

There are countless examples of writers using paintings or other visual art as inspiration to create entirely new work. Think "Girl with a Pearl Earring," "The Da Vinci Code," or even "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats. This is what the award-winning writer Donna Baier Stein did when she decided to write a new collection of short stories based on lithographs by iconic American artist Thomas Hart Benton. The issues that Benton dealt with and depicted throughout the Great Depression and afterward still resonate today.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the acclaimed poet and writing instructor Quraysh Ali Lansana (born 1964 in Enid, Oklahoma). Now based in Tulsa and recently named a Tulsa Artist Fellow, Lansana has published several books over the years: poetry collections, children's books, edited or co-edited anthologies, textbooks, etc. Long based in Chicago, and greatly influenced by the African-American cultural, social, and political life of that city -- and more generally, by the Black Arts Movement in American life and letters -- Lansana has a new book out.

Our guest is the well-regarded Pennsylvania-based poet, Ron Silliman, who has written and edited over 30 books, and who is seen as one of the founders of the so-called Language Poetry movement in American literature. A 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, Silliman also received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010 (among many other honors). He'll be reading from and talking about his work tonight (the 11th) as part of the 2nd Annual TulsaLitFest.

(Note: This interview first aired back in November.) Our guest is the noted playwright, Sarah Ruhl, a Tony Award nominee and the author of "100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write," which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She tells us about her newest book, a collection of moving and insightful letters between herself and Max Ritvo (1990-2016). Ruhl teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and Ritvo, a noted poet who died young of cancer, had been one of her favorite students.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to our June 2018 chat with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Lawrence Wright. At that time, his book "God Save Texas" had just appeared; it's a collection of stereotype-busting essays exploring the history, culture, and politics of Lone Star State. As was noted of this book by The New York Times: "Vivid.... Omnivorous.... Affectionate and genial.... [Wright] captures the full range of Texas in all its shame and glory....

"The River: A Novel"

Mar 11, 2019

Our guest is the writer Peter Heller, whose new novel, "The River," has been named an Amazon Best Book of March 2019. It's a fast-paced, thoughtful thriller about two friends on a river excursion in northern Canada. And per The Denver Post: "A fiery tour de force [of] poetic, staccato sentences and masterfully crafted prose.... The story itself resembles a trip down a river -- some parts are peaceful and allow for quiet introspection and big, deep breaths. But then you hit the rapids and the danger and risk jump off the page, forcing a sense of urgency.

Novelist Thomas Mallon is our guest. His latest historical yarn, which he tells us about, explores the George W. Bush White House. It's called "Landfall," and per The Wall Street Journal: "As in Mr. Mallon's many other novels, the writing is crisp and witty, the central characters complex and sympathetic in surprising ways, the narrative structure tight." And further, from The New York Times Book Review: "Entertainingly bitchy.... Smart and knowing and absorbing.... Extremely well-made.... The prose is a pleasure.... 'Landfall' is fascinating." Please note that Mr.

Our guest is the novelist Margaret Verble. Her new book, which she tells us about, is "Cherokee America." Set on the American frontier in the spring of 1875, and specifically in the Cherokee Nation -- which would later be part of Oklahoma -- this novel follows a series of complex family alliances and cultural and racial clashes in the aftermath of the Civil War. It's a vivid (and often funny) novel of blood relations and home lands, of buried histories and half-told truths, and of past grief and present-day harm.

Nancy Pearl is our guest on ST. An editor, novelist, literary critic, retired librarian, and internationally acclaimed reading and literacy advocate, Pearl used to live and work in Tulsa -- way back in the day -- and that's when she started appearing occasionally on our radio show. Pearl returns today (by phone) to share several bookish gift-giving ideas.

Our guest is the noted playwright, Sarah Ruhl, a Tony Award nominee and the author of "100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write," which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She tells us about her newest book, a collection of moving and insightful letters between herself and Max Ritvo (1990-2016). Ruhl teaches at the Yale School of drama, and Ritvo -- a noted poet who died young of cancer -- had been one of her favorite students.

Pages