HoCoPoLitSo

Home » The Writing Life (TV Show)

Category Archives: The Writing Life (TV Show)

Wilde Readings Open Mic:

Read our Annual Report

Binge on literature with The Writing Life marathon

If we’re lucky, we’re stuck in our houses, fantasizing about walking unmasked down the aisles of the library, or walking up to an author and (gasp!) shaking their hand after a reading. But we’ll have to wait a while for those in-person literary dreams to come true. Instead, on these chilly spring days, take a walk over to YouTube, and check out a few The Writing Life episodes.

Or if you’re in for the long haul (and who among us isn’t binging television shows nowadays?), Howard Community College’s Dragon Digital Television will show a 24-hour marathon of HoCoPoLitSo’s writer-to-writer interview shows. The Writing Life will air from 6 a.m. May 3 to 6 a.m. May 4. http://carousel.howardcc.edu/cablecastapi/live?channel_id=1&use_cdn=true

Check the schedule below, which features a showing of our hour-long show with Seamus Heaney, for which HoCoPoLitSo recently acquired the rights. Heaney talks about the politics and poetics of Northern Ireland, laughs a lot, recites “Digging” when Ellen Kennedy requests it, and answers questions from a Smith Theatre audience. Truly something to lift your spirits.

May 3

6 a.m. Theo Dorgan and Paula Meehan. Meehan and Dorgan, a married couple of Irish poets, talk about Seamus Heaney, read their own works dedicated to Heaney, and talk about cultural exchange in poetry. “My own sense is that poets are made, not out of fluency, but out of the fractures in a culture,” Meehan says.

6:30 a.m. Taylor Branch hosted by Timothy Jenkins. In 2000, at the time of this show’s recording with host and historian Timothy Jenkins, Branch had written two of his trilogy of books, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Parting the Waters: American in the King Years 1954-1963, and the award-winning Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-1965. These stories, Branch said, are “quintessentially American.”

7 a.m. The Poetry of Sterling Brown. In this 1994 edition of The Writing Life, poet Roland Flint speaks with Michael S. Harper, a Brown University professor of English and the Rhode Island poet laureate. The two poets discuss the influential poet and Howard University professor Sterling Brown, considered the dean of African-American poetry. Harper reads many of Brown’s poems, including “After Winter.”

7:30 a.m. Poetry Quartet. Henry Taylor, E. Ethelbert Miller, Ann Darr, and Hilary Tham, four Washington, D.C., area poets who started with publishing their work in small presses, talk about the value of that enterprise to keep literature alive. They also discuss the value of poetry slams, divulge the inspirations for their work, and read many of their own poems.

8 a.m. Seamus Heaney hosted by George O’Brien. Recorded in 1988, this interview with Seamus Heaney touches on his childhood in rural Ireland, the politics of Northern Ireland, his poetic craft and the natural world’s influence on his work. With his arm slung over the back of the chair onstage, Heaney talks, reads, recites, and laughs.

9 a.m. Carolyn Forché hosted by Grace Cavalieri. In this 2016 edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poet Grace Cavalieri talks with Carolyn Forché, the writer and anthologist who coined the term “poetry of witness.” They speak about Forché’s Czechoslovakian grandmother, her beginnings in the world of human rights and poetry, and working to anthologize poetry of witness.

9:30 a.m. Edith Pearlman hosted by Carrie Brown. In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, novelist Carrie Brown talks with short story writer Edith Pearlman, who won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award for her collection Binocular Vision.

10 a.m. Emma Donoghue hosted by Mary Kay Zuravleff. Emma Donoghue talks with fellow novelist Mary Kay Zuravleff about the role of music and history in her work, as well as writing the screenplay of Room. She reads from both Room and Frog Music.

10:30 a.m. Four Poets Laureate. Roland Flint, then serving as the Maryland Poet Laureate, hosts past poets laureate Lucille Clifton, Linda Pastan, and Reed Whittemore. All friends, the poets discuss the role and possibilities of the poet laureate position, as well as the craft of writing poetry, in a half-hour of good conversation and great poetry.

11 a.m. Patricia Smith hosted by Joseph Ross. Poet Joseph Ross speaks with poet Patricia Smith, a spoken word poet who found success with her book Blood Dazzler, a collection of poems chronicling Hurricane Katrina. Smith reads “8 a.m., Sunday, August 28, 2005,” a poem in the hurricane’s voice.

11:30 a.m. Stanley Plumly interviews Rita Dove. Rita Dove, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and former National Poet Laureate, speaks with Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly about her latest book, Sonata Mulattico. The book tells the story, through multiple narrative poems in different voices, of George Bridgetower, an Afro-Polish child prodigy violinist who studied with Haydn.

12 p.m. Israeli Poems of War and Peace. Poet and professor Michael Collier talks with poets Moshe Dor and Barbara Goldberg about their 1997 book of Israeli poems and translations, After the First Rain: Israeli Poems on War and Peace.

12:30 p.m. Tribute to Josephine Jacobsen. In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poets Michael Collier, Lucille Clifton, and Elizabeth Spires talk about their friend and colleague, the late Josephine Jacobsen (1908 – 2003), a remarkable poet and short story writer from Baltimore.

1 p.m. Mark Doty hosted by Sue Ellen Thompson. Poet Sue Ellen Thompson speaks with poet and memoirist Mark Doty about memory, mackerel, AIDS, Labradors, and the challenge of writing about all of those topics. Doty, the author of nine books of poetry and three memoirs, is known for his descriptive power.

1:30 p.m. Taylor Mali hosted by Chris August. In this 2015 rapid-fire edition of The Writing Life, performance poet Chris August talks with slam poet champion and education activist Taylor Mali about his poetic beginnings, his father’s influence, the strategies of slams, and white male privilege.

2 p.m. Mary O’Malley hosted by Jean Nordhaus. Irish poet Mary O’Malley speaks with Jean Nordhaus, and opens with her mythological-based poem “The Boning Hall,” from her collection of the same name, which addresses Adrienne Rich’s classic poem “Diving into the Wreck.” The eldest daughter of a Connemara fisherman, with nine younger siblings, O’Malley is focused not only on “the mythos of the sea,” she says, but “the purity of the language.”

2:30 p.m. Lucille Clifton hosted by Roland Flint. Former Maryland poet laureate Roland Flint hosts Lucille Clifton, who won the National Book Award for her book Blessing the Boats. Clifton reads many of her iconic early poems, including “Good Times”, “The 1st”, “flowers”; “lucy one eye”, “forgiving my father”, and “carved on a gravestone in a southern baptist churchyard.”

3 p.m. “Sunset Baby”. Dramaturg Khalid Long and Rep Stage director Joseph Ritsch talk about playwright Dominique Morisseau. The two theater experts talk about how her play “Sunset Baby” addresses the generational divide in families in this play, the role of fathers and the centrality of forgiveness.

3:30 p.m. E. Ethelbert Miller hosts Joseph Ross. In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poet Joseph Ross speaks with host and fellow poet E. Ethelbert Miller about the role of writers as activists and memory keepers, the ideas of faith and storytelling through poetry, and the craft of putting together a manuscript.

4 p.m. Joseph Ross hosts E. Ethelbert Miller. Poet Joseph Ross talks to “the dean of D.C. poets,” E. Ethelbert Miller, author of several poetry collections, memoirs and anthologies, and co-editor of Poet Lore. Miller discusses the origin and span of his newest book of collected poems.

4:30 p.m. Marilyn Chin hosted by Joseph Ross. Marilyn Chin, a Chinese-American poet, speaks with poet and teacher Joseph Ross about her poems of the body, protest, and family. Chin begins by reading “Beijing Spring,” written to the young man who held up his hand to fend off the tanks on Tiananmen Square, as an invocation for all youth around the world to speak up.

5 p.m. Li-Young Lee hosted by Michael Collier. Poet Michael Collier speaks with Li-Young Lee in 1995 about poetry, prayerful attitudes, and unconscious states. Lee reads his poem “Epistle” to start off the show.

5:30 p.m. Mike McCormack hosted by Cóilín Parsons. Novelist Mike McCormack speaks with Georgetown University professor Cóilín Parsons about his craft, especially his novel in one breath, Solar Bones. A devoted experimentalist, McCormack resists the label of surrealist: “I’m holding this side of the surrealist’s line. I’m too structurally minded to give myself over to it, but I’ll bring it right up to the doorstep.”

Take it from the top again, band! Starting at 6 p.m., the whole line-up repeats.

Enjoy these talks, learn a bit about writing and reading, then you can go back to Tiger King.

Susan Thornton Hobby
The Writing Life Producer

Two TWL Episodes Now On YouTube: Rita Dove and Israeli Poems of War and Peace

Rita Dove discusses a musical life in verse

In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, Rita Dove, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and former National Poet Laureate, speaks with Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly about her latest book, Sonata Mulattico. The book tells the story, through multiple narrative poems in different voices, of George Bridgetower, an Afro-Polish child prodigy violinist who studied with Haydn. Beethoven dedicated a sonata to Bridgetower, “my crazy mulatto,” but later quarreled with him over a girl, and shunned him. Bridgetower fell into anonymity. The book is long and complex, Dove says, but “This is the only way to encompass this life and make it seem not a curiosity, but an essence of humanity.”

Israeli Poems of War and Peace

In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poet and professor Michael Collier talks with poets Moshe Dor and Barbara Goldberg about their 1997 book of Israeli poems and translations, After the First Rain: Israeli Poems on War and Peace. Goldberg reads her translation of Ariel Kaufman’s “How My Brother is Cain,” and Dor reads the Hebrew version. Goldberg reads six more poems from the collection, including Amir Gilboa’s “My Brother Was Silent,” with the final, haunting line, drawn from the book of Genesis, “His blood cried out from the ground.” Goldberg concludes with a poem that sums up the Israeli desire for a long-coveted peace, Yehuda Amichai’s “Wildpeace.” This program was recorded in 1999.

High School Student Tunes into Siobhan Fallon via HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life.

October 16th marked my first experience with HoCoPoLitSo’s “The Writing Life”.

I’m an aspiring writer and high school senior, and this year I’m developing my craft under the mentorship of Dr. Tara Hart, creative writing professor at Howard Community College and Co-Chair of HoCoPoLitSo. She’d invited me to HCC-TV’s taping of a Writing Life episode with writer Siobhan Fallon, hosted by journalist Kristin Henderson, and I was excited to accept—I’d never been in a T.V. studio before.

On the morning of the taping the campus was bustling, and I wondered if the featured Howard County Book Connection project author, Siobhan Fallon, had had any trouble finding a parking spot.

My first thought when I arrived at the HCC TV studio room was that I was overdressed,—but that was okay—it actually made me more comfortable; perhaps I was drawn to the down-to-earth yet relaxed nature of it all.

Mrs. Fallon was wonderful. I learned with surprise that she currently lives in Abu Dhabi, and I tried (unsuccessfully, I think) to fathom what kind of jet lag she must’ve been feeling. Nevertheless, she was amicable and eager for her interview.

FallonTheWritingLifeHCCTVI got a peek into the room where the interview would be conducted, and I later marveled at how seamlessly the green screen behind the two arm chairs was turned into a sophisticated yet comfy library background. Being someone with little to no experience in TV and film, I thought it was pretty cool.

I sat in the “control room” while the taping was taking place, and not only was I able to listen to the interview (and watch it from three different camera angles), but I was able to hear the correspondence among the director and crew as well. I’m thankful for that, because I think it gave me a more well-rounded view of the entire production. Being a writer myself, I naturally emphasized the content of the interview with Ms. Fallon as the most important part of the taping, but now having seen both sides of the production I firmly believe that the technical aspect of it all is just as necessary and important.

That being said, the interview was wonderful. Siobhan Fallon is the author of the award-winning short story collection You Know When the Men Are Gone, the content of which focuses on the emotional (and for most of us intangible) experience of military life. Ms. Fallon herself is a military wife, and I nearly choked up when she mentioned that soon her husband will be given leave for two years, and how wonderful it will be to have “such a long time to be together”.

But anyone writer could easily relate to her interview, as she gave wise and thought-provoking insight on the universal topics of fact versus truth, writing from different points of view, the short story versus the novel, and how personal experience ties into all writing, even fiction.

I almost got teary for a second time when she talked about care packages. Just a few days before I’d sent one to my nineteen-year-old cousin for his birthday; he’s serving in Afghanistan as an army medic. Hearing Mrs. Fallon speak so intimately about the military experience made me miss Jimmy more than ever, and I hope to share this post and the episode with him eventually.

All in all, my first experience with “The Writing Life” was personally and professionally gratifying in every way. I made some great new connections, with Ms. Fallon, with the TV crew, and with the other HoCoPoLitSo board members. They seemed so excited that I’d come, like it was their honor and not mine, and that just made me feel special.

I took a picture with Dr. Hart to commemorate the day, and left feeling satisfied and eager for the next episode. It was a lovely morning.

— Emily Bellor

Lucille Clifton & Carolyn Kizer Talk Writing

Now available for worldwide viewing on HoCoPoLitSo’s YouTube Channel, Lucille Clifton and Carolyn Kizer talking about writing.

Lucille Clifton and Carolyn Kizer:

In this first ever edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s “The Writing Life,” taped in 1985, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carolyn Kizer and National Book Award-winning poet Lucille Clifton interview each other and read their work. Clifton, who died in 2010, and Kizer speak about the way a place affects writing poetry, about the death of Clifton’s husband from cancer, about the restrictions on women and women poets. Clifton reads “Atlantic is a sea of bones,” a poem about the women of South Africa called “there,” and “sorrow song,” about violence and responsibility in the world. Clifton also reads “blooming,” “I’m going back to my true identity,” and “album.” Kizer reads “Bitch,” “To an Unknown Poet,” “Exodus” and talks about the structure and form of poetry, especially in her poem “Afternoon Happiness.”

“All of our writing is a trying to say,” Clifton says. “We make a mistake if we start saying that our writing is a saying, because it is at best a trying to say.”

HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life: A Number of Additional Episodes Now Online.

You’ll find a number of new episodes have recently been posted onto the HoCoPoLitSo YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/hocopolitso.

In part, you’ll find:

  • Novelist Carrie Brown speaks with short story writer Edith Pearlman. (2012)
  • Michael Dirda speaks with Marie Arana about her memoir Marie Arana speaks with writer and editor Michael Dirda about her memoir, “American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood,” and the ghost of culture. (2001)
  • Sue Ellen Thompson in conversation with Mark Doty about on memory, mackerel and verse. (2010)
  • Claire Keegan talks of the art of subtraction with Terence Winch. (2010)

Look also for episodes featuring Colm Tóibin, Manil Suri, Mary Gordan, Li-Young Lee, Alice McDermott and Joy Harjo. And here is Michael Harper talking about the poetry of Sterling Brown with Roland Flint:





If you are logged into YouTube through your own account, you can follow the HoCoPoLitSo channel and get updates every time there are new posts.

HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life archives, featuring contemporary writers in conversation with other writers, are being digitized and put online as a resource for the world over. As with any such project, this effort can use your support. If you are willing and able, please make a donation to HoCoPoLitSo to ensure the continued success of this project and its contribution to the world’s literary heritage. Thank you.

Gwendolyn Brooks — Watch a Treasure from HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life Archive Now Online

Gwendolyn_Brooks_croppedIn this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing life, revered American poet Gwendolyn Brooks sat down in 1986 to talk with Alan Jabbour, director of the Library of Congress’ American Folklore division, and E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University.

Brooks was the Library of Congress’ 29th consultant in poetry, and tells the story in this program of winning the Pulitzer at age 32, and getting the phone call in the dark because the electric company had cut off their power because they couldn’t afford to pay the bill. She recites “We Real Cool,” a poem she says has lasted because of its “insouciance and staccato effect.” She talks about her introduction to black nationalism, feminism and James Baldwin. Brooks says, “I like for blacks to be proud of what they have come from. They need to learn they have much to be proud of.”


HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life archives, featuring contemporary writers in conversation with other writers, are being digitized and put online as a resource for the world over. As with any such project, this effort can use your support. If you are willing and able, please make a donation to HoCoPoLitSo to ensure the continued success of this project and its contribution to the world’s literary heritage. Thank you.

Streaming This Month at HCC: E. E. Miller Hosts David Mura on HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life

Streaming this month on the Howard Community College’s website is an encore episode of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life where E. Ethelbert Miller hosts a conversation with David Mura.

In the edition from 2007, E. Ethelbert Miller engages award-winning performance poet and memoirist David Mura in a fascinating conversation about the stories, silences, research, and imaginative work that comprise his writing life. Mura reflects on the family legacies of Japanese internment, relocations, and assimilation that influence his double racial identity and consciousness, as well as the influences of photography, jazz, travel, and education on his writing and performance. He reads from and references his poetry, Relocations, The Colors of Desire and Minneapolis Public, and nonfiction, Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto and Mr. Moto, Where the Body Meets Memory, and Turning Japanese.

Click here to view the stream. This particular stream will available online through July (2012). To view more editions of  The Writing Life, visit the HoCoPoLitSo YouTube channel where you will find a growing selection of editions from the archives.

The Writing Life is made possible in part by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Howard County Arts Council.

A Few Edith Pearlman Resources Ahead of Her June 27th Reading in Columbia, Maryland

On June 27th, HoCoPoLitSo will host the renowned short story writer Edith Pearlman. The event, part of this year’s Columbia Festival of the Arts will be held at the lovely Oakland Manor. In preparation for Ms. Pearlman’s visit, we offer these resources.

(Note: Edith Pearlman’s books, available online through the normal outlets, will be for sale at the reading.  Edith Pearlman will be recording an episode of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life on her visit where she will be in conversation with author Carrie Brown. Look for information about airing dates on this website in the coming months.)

Interviews:

Articles:

Reading Guide:

YouTube:

And, of course, there is Pearlman’s own website: www.edithpearlman.com.

Sekou Sundiata and Ed Hirsch ‘The Writing Life’ Episodes Now Available On YouTube

We’ve recently added two episodes of The Writing Life, one featuring Sekou Sundiata and the other Edward Hirsch, to the growing HoCoPoLitSo YouTube channel.

Sekou Sundiata

In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s “The Writing Life”, poet and cultural historian E. Ethelbert Miller talks with poet and jazz musician Sekou Sundiata. Both men grew up in East Harlem housing projects, and Sundiata says the many cultures and voices of that neighborhood are heard in his poetry. The “citizen poet,” as Sundiata calls himself, arose in the 1960s and 1970s, when he started writing activist poetry, poetry that appeals democratically to many. Sundiata explains that he and his band arrange the music and the poetry he authors in a synergistic way. “Poetry is part of the music itself,” Sundiata says. The music and rhythms of the black church experience, as well as blues, affect his work, he says. “For me, the blues is a philosophical stance.” His poetic influences include Gil Scott Heron, Amiri Baraka and Linton Kwesi Johnson, whose “Naked History” album is poetry and music people can live with, a goal Sundiata looks to attain with his own work.

Ed Hirsch

On this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s “The Writing Life,” poet Michael Collier and mid-westerner Ed Hirsch huddle in shirt sleeves to talk poetry. Not only American, but international poets he read in translation, says Hirsch, enable him to discover his vocation. From his fifth book of poems On Love, they consider “The Poet at Seven,” “Colette,” and the moving “Ocean of Grass.” Recorded in 2000, the show features the pair discussing Hirsch’s seminal nonfiction book, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry.

Now Online: The Writing Life with Colum McCann on HoCoPoLitSo’s YouTube Channel.

In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s “The Writing Life,” poet and musician Terence Winch talks with Irish novelist Colum McCann (winner of the 2009 National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin) after his second novel debuted to great acclaim. McCann, who grew up middle class in Dublin, talks about his two-year bicycle trek around America, gathering stories as a journalist, that helped turn him into a novelist. And while he counts Irish writers as influences, he mostly read Kerouac and Burroughs as a teen.





McCann reads from his first novel, Songdogs, and from This Side of Brightness, about the New York subway tunnels and the homeless who make their homes there, as well as the sand hogs who built the tunnels. McCann spent a year in the tunnels, and counts listening as the best way to research. “I don’t want to write about my family, about me. I think it’s much more liberating to be in the imagination. People always tell to write what you know about, but I say no, write about what you don’t know about.”

Visit www.youtube.com/user/hocopolitso to view all the episodes currently available online. Enjoy and give us feedback, please, so we can improve this award-winning series.

%d bloggers like this: