Essays

(Note: This interview first aired back in February.) Our guest is Michelle Commander, an Associate Director and Curator at The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is a branch of the New York Public Library located in Harlem. The Schomberg Center has put out a pathbreaking new anthology, which she tells us about. The book is "Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery and Abolition." It's a well-edited volume that gathers various writings and texts in order to convey the full historical arc of transatlantic slavery in the US.

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 Vaclav Smil, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. Smil is the author of 40+ books on topics like energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk asssessment, and public policy. He joins us to discuss his accessible and compelling new book of short essays, "Numbers Don't Lie." It's an eclectic, statistics-driven volume that effectively shows how numbers reveal the true state of our world today -- and how such numbers, much like unalterable facts, are what matter most.

(Note: This interview first aired back in October.) We welcome Sarah Smarsh back to StudioTulsa for a discussion of her latest book. It's a collection of essays that all focus on a certain country-music icon who also happens to be one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Smarsh talks with us about how Parton has, for decades now, both embodied and emboldened American women who live and work in poverty.

Our guest is Michelle Commander, an Associate Director and Curator at The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is a branch of the New York Public Library located in Harlem. The Schomberg Center has recently put out a pathbreaking new anthology, which she tells us about. The book is "Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery and Abolition." It's a thorough and well-edited volume that gathers various writings and texts in order to convey the full historical arc of transatlantic slavery in the US. Per a starred review in Library Journal: "[A] remarkable anthology....

Our guest is Katherine May, a writer of fiction as well as nonfiction based in the seaside community of Whitstable, England. She joins us to discuss her enjoyable new book, "Wintering," which draws many engaging and far-flung lessons from literature, history, nature, and mythology about the transformative -- and even inspiring -- power of rest, retreat, and recuperation. As was noted of this book by a critic writing for BookPage: "Beautiful.... [May] is a poetic observer of the natural world, and quotable lines abound....

We welcome Sarah Smarsh back to StudioTulsa for a discussion of her new book. It's a collection of essays that all focus on a certain country-music icon who also happens to be one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Smarsh talks with us about how Parton has, for decades now, both embodied and emboldened American women who live and work in poverty. Few other musical artists, the author argues, seem as truly **genuine** as Parton, and few can match her gift for telling powerful stories about life, love, men, family, hard times, and surviving.

(Note: This show first aired back in July.) Our guest is Carla Rachel Sameth, a writer who teaches at the LA Writing Project (at California State University Los Angeles) and at Southern New Hampshire University. She joins us to discuss her new book, "One Day on the Gold Line: A Memoir in Essays." As Sue William Silverman, author of "The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew," has noted of Sameth's book: "Race, class, drugs, sexuality, otherness.... Twenty-first century American hot-button issues are on full display in this brave, gritty, unflinching memoir.

Our guest on ST is Margot Livesey, the Scottish-born, Boston-based writer whose work has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the PEN New England Award, and the Massachusetts Book Award. She tells us about two of her books, "The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing" and "Mercury: A Novel." Of the latter, the New York Times noted: "Livesey knows her way around human desire and disappointment. Like the recent blockbusters 'Gone Girl' and 'Fates and Furies,' 'Mercury' gives us a marriage from alternating perspectives.

Our guest is Carla Rachel Sameth, a writer who teaches at the LA Writing Project (at California State University Los Angeles) and at Southern New Hampshire University. She joins us to discuss her new book, "One Day on the Gold Line: A Memoir in Essays." As Sue William Silverman, author of "The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew," has noted of Sameth's book: "Race, class, drugs, sexuality, otherness.... Twenty-first century American hot-button issues are on full display in this brave, gritty, unflinching memoir.

(Please note: This edition of ST originally aired back in March.) Our guest is Mitchell S. Jackson, whose new book is an autobiographical collection of essays called "Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family." As was noted by The Boston Globe, it's a "vibrant memoir of race, violence, family, and manhood.... Jackson recognizes there is too much for one conventional form, and his various storytelling methods imbue the book with an unpredictable dexterity.

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....

(Note: This interview first aired last October.) As a young black man, RJ Young grew up with a healthy distrust of guns, but when he married into a family deeply immersed in America's gun culture, he knew he would have to learn about them -- at least, to a certain degree. Today, the Tulsa-based Young (who works as a sports-radio host) is a certified NRA pistol instructor...yet he doesn't carry a gun.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Carol Haralson. A former citizen of Tulsa, she is an award-winning book designer now based in Arizona. She's designed several striking book jackets over the years, across a range of literary genres. And Haralson's now written a book of her own -- a blend of memoir, fiction, poetry, personal essay, and photography titled "At the Far End of O Street." She'll appear tomorrow night, Wednesday the 17th, at a free reading and signing at Magic City Books (beginning at 7pm).

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....

Our guest is Mitchell S. Jackson, whose new book is an autobiographical collection of essays called "Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family." As was noted by The Boston Globe, it's a "vibrant memoir of race, violence, family, and manhood.... Jackson recognizes there is too much for one conventional form, and his various storytelling methods imbue the book with an unpredictable dexterity. It is sharp and unshrinking in depictions of his life, his relatives (blood kin and otherwise), and his Pacific Northwest hometown, which serves as both inescapable character and villain....

(Note: This program originally aired in December.) Our guest is Anna Leahy, director of the Creative Writing Program at Chapman University. She joins us to discuss her book, "Tumor." A brief yet thoughtful volume that is part memoir, part study, and part history, the book was thus praised by Prof. Kristen Iversen at the University of Cincinnati: "In clear, compelling language, Leahy writes with insight and empathy about cancer and the social and cultural dimensions of one of our greatest fears.

Our guest is Anna Leahy, director of the Creative Writing Program at Chapman University. She joins us to discuss her new book, "Tumor." A brief yet thoughtful volume that is part memoir, part study, and part history, the book was thus praised by Prof. Kristen Iversen at the University of Cincinnati: "In clear, compelling language, Leahy writes with insight and empathy about cancer and the social and cultural dimensions of one of our greatest fears.

Our guest is Teresa Miller, the local author and Director Emerita of the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU. Miller is also the co-editor of a new anthology, which she tells us about: "Love Can Be: A Literary Collection about Our Animals." It's a gathering of about thirty acclaimed authors, all of them celebrating pets, animals, creatures, and other forms of life: cats, birds, frogs, butterflies, bears, dogs, raccoons, horses, etc.

Our guest is the award-winning British author and journalist William Atkins, whose new book -- a dense and engrossing blend of history, memoir, geography, and travel writing -- is called "The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places." It's a work that, per The Wall Street Journal, "courts comparisons with the capaciously learned nature writing of John McPhee. But there's also an open-ended spiritual quest to Mr.

Our guest is the the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Lawrence Wright, who joins us to discuss his new book. "God Save Texas" is a collection of stereotype-busting essays exploring the history, culture, and politics of Lone Star State. As was noted of this book by Jennifer Szalai of The New York Times: "Vivid.... Omnivorous.... Affectionate and genial.... [Wright] captures the full range of Texas in all its shame and glory.... An illuminating primer for outsiders who may not live there but have a surfeit of opinions about those who do....

On this edition of ST, we speak with Richard Russo, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such popular novels as Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool. Also known for his short stories and autobiographical writings, Mr. Russo has a new book out, his very first collection of personal essays, which he tells us about. It's called "The Destiny Thief." Note: Mr. Russo will soon do a free-to-the-public reading and signing here in Tulsa; on Thursday the 17th, beginning at 7pm, he'll be at the TCC Center for Creativity.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the first-ever Tulsa Lit.Fest, an impressive array of free-to-the-public events that will happen here in our community from tomorrow (the 19th) through Sunday (the 22nd).

Our guest is the accomplished nonfiction writer, journalist, and essayist, Anna Badkhen, who is currently a Tulsa Artist Fellow at work on her first novel. She joins us to discuss her book, "Fisherman's Blues: A West African Community at Sea," a detailed and engaging volume just recently published. Per the Dallas Morning News: "In elegiac vignettes, Badkhen portrays the trick and snare of a heroic and punishing profession....

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) On this installment of ST, the bestselling writer Jonathan Lethem is our guest. He's known for such celebrated novels as "Dissident Gardens," "The Fortress of Solitude," and "Motherless Brooklyn." He joins us to discuss his latest book, which is a gathering of nonfiction pieces. It's called "More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers," and it's an impressive collection of 50+ essays, some of them previously published and some newly written.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the award-winning Oklahoma writer Rilla Askew back to our show. Her new book, just out, is her first-ever nonfiction volume; it's a collection of nine linked essays entitled "Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place." In this timely and reflective work, she argues that the State of Oklahoma -- whether we are talking about police violence, gun culture, race relations, secret history, religious fervor, spellbinding landscapes, or brutal weather -- is actually a "microcosm" of the United States.

On this installment of ST, the bestselling writer Jonathan Lethem is our guest. He's well-known for such celebrated novels as "Dissident Gardens," "The Fortress of Solitude," and "Motherless Brooklyn." He joins us to discuss his latest book, just out now, which is a gathering of nonfiction pieces. It's called "More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers." It's an impressive collection of 50+ essays, some of them previously published and some newly written.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with the author, scholar, and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, who grew up in rural Oklahoma and is now based in San Francisco. She is the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother, and she's been active in the international Indigenous People's Movement for more than four decades.

(Note: This interview first aired in May.) Our guest on StudioTulsa is author Andrew Solomon, winner of the National Book Award and National Books Critics' Circle Award, whose past books include "Far From the Tree" and "The Noonday Demon." He speaks with us about latest volume, a collection of essays entitled "Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change, Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years." It's a book that chronicles Solomon's stint in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union; his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afgha

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Mark Darrah, a writer and attorney based here in T-Town who's also one of our program's longtime commentators. The son of a Methodist minister who grew up all over the Sooner State, Mark has a terrific new book out; it's a collection of personal essays called "A Catalogue of Common People," and many of the pieces in this volume were originally aired on ST. In the words of another Tulsa-based author, Michael Wallis: "Do not let the title fool you -- 'A Catalogue of Common People' is an uncommonly good book.

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