Central Standard
2:25 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

How Zora Neale Hurston Documented Her Community And Inspired A Kansas City Woman

Zora Neale Hurston channeled black vernacular in her writing.
Credit Carl Van Vechten / Creative Commons, Wikimedia

The prolific author best known for Their Eyes Were Watching God got her start as an anthropologist, listening to the stories and songs of former slaves in Florida in the 1930s. About fifty years later, a Kansas City woman found a connection with her own history and community in the voices Hurston captured. Her one-woman play about Zora Neale Hurston now takes her all over the world.


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Central Standard
1:16 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Pioneering, Midwesternness And Literary Prowess

Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, is one of the many former dwellings of Laura Ingalls Wilder still standing today.
Credit Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Her children's books shaped ideas about the Midwestern experience for multiple generations worldwide. She's been gone more than sixty years, but her influence remains strong; even now, fans and scholars attend a yearly Laurapalooza festival in her honor. Her autobiography has just recently been published, but good luck finding a copy. The first print run has sold out and the second will not even fill existing orders.

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Central Standard
9:55 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Historians Recommend The Best 20 Books About Kansas City

The Missouri Valley Special Collections at the central branch of the Kansas City Public Library is a quiet haven for local history readers.
Credit Patrick Quick / KCUR

It’s cold outside, so now is the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

Central Standard took the opportunity to seek out some of the best books about Kansas City history. After all, even if you can't get outside to explore the city, you can still do it from the comfort of your home.

Local historian Monroe Dodd and Missouri Valley Special Collections manager Eli Paul gave us their recommendations of the best books for local history lovers, focusing on those that are a really good read.

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Up to Date
3:33 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Book Doctors: Favorite Books of 2014

National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jaqueline Woodson, is among the Book Doctors' picks of 2014.
Credit Penguin Group

As 2015 gets off to a chilly start, it's the perfect time to cozy up with some of 2014's hottest reads. Up to Date's Book Doctors share some of their favorite titles from last year. 

From Jeffrey Ann Goudie, freelance writer and book reviewer:

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Up To Date
2:49 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Best Books Of 2014 For Children And Teens

Books have the remarkable ability to enthrall, captivate and inspire. When kids are trapped indoors during the cold winter months books  can transport them into new and fascinating worlds.

On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske and three Johnson County librarians review their top picks in children's literature. 

The Best Children's Books of 2014:

From Kate McNair, young adult librarian at the Johnson County Library: 

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Arts & Culture
2:19 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Submit Your Story Or Poem To WORD

The KCUR Arts team asked for submissions on December 5, 2014. Since then we’ve received more than 200 poems, essays, and short stories to consider. From those, we’ve already selected the first few months of Word episodes.

But we still have a lot of submissions to read, and because we want to give all of them a thoughtful review, we’re hitting “Pause” and closing submissions for now. More information is here.

Thank you for your interest in WORD.

Central Standard
4:20 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

The Novel Inside: Kansas City Authors Share Novel-Writing Stories

Our city is teeming with people who dream of writing that novel... someday. If those aspiring writers decided to turn their literary dreams into reality, where would they begin? Our guests offer advice and personal stories in honor of National Novel Writing Month.


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Up To Date
1:24 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Anna Quindlen On Life's Second Acts

Credit Anna Quindlen


Anna Quindlen's most recent work, Still Life with Bread Crumbs, tells the story of a 60-year old New York photographer and feminist who moves upstate in an effort to remake her life. On this edition of Up to Date, Quindlen talks with Steve Kraske about her connections to the lead character, why she never wants to be 25 again, and the changing face of the news business. 


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Central Standard
2:33 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Halloween Edition: Ghost Story Time

Ghosts can turn up anywhere, even in the news media.
Credit Jon Feinstein / Flickr, Creative Commons

In late October, as the leaves begin to rustle and the winds begin to moan, our thoughts turn to night frights and all things ghoulish. In partnership with the ongoing 100 Ghost Stories project at Wonder Fair in Lawrence, Central Standard presents three ghost stories by writers with local ties.

In order of increasing scariness:

Ghost Feelings, by Mick Cottin

Caroline, by Megan Kaminski

Monitored, by BJ Hollars

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Up To Date
4:06 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

New Novel Set In Overland Park Looks At Online Video Gaming

An Overland Park teenager plans his life around his favorite online video game to the point where his divorced parents agree on this much: “Get off the damn computer!”

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Central Standard
4:14 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Lawrence's Rock Wizard: Paul DeGeorge Of Harry And The Potters

Paul DeGeorge wouldn't be Harry Potter without his accessories.
Credit Paul Andrews

Paul DeGeorge and his brother Joe have been writing and performing songs about the trials and triumphs of wizards-in-training since 2002. They look disorientingly similar, and both wear v-neck sweaters and neck ties. Their band, Harry and the Potters, has inspired its own genre: "wizard rock."

It was the younger brother, Joe, who first read the Harry Potter books. In his early 20s when the first books in the series came out, Paul, the older of the DeGeorge brothers, picked them up out of curiosity; he immediately related to the Harry Potter character as a punk.

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Arts & Culture
2:58 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Three ‘Gone Girl’ Places In Cape Girardeau, Missouri

This scene from 'Gone Girl' with (from left to right) Ben Affleck, Lisa Banes and David Clennon was filmed in the gazebo in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Credit 20th Century Fox

Gone Girl, a new film based on the best-selling thriller by Kansas City native Gillian Flynn, opens this Friday.

It's directed by David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club, Seven), and Flynn wrote the screenplay. Cape Girardeau, Mo., on the banks of the Mississippi River, was a stand-in for the fictional North Carthage, Mo. 

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Up to Date
1:22 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Book Doctors: Banned Books

'And Tango Makes Three,' 'Captain Underpants,' 'Annie On My Mind' and 'The Grapes of Wrath' are just a few of the banned or challenged books our Book Doctors like.

From their favorite recent reads to books they love on banned or challenged books lists, the Book Doctors are full of recommendations. They chatted with Steve Kraske on Friday's Up to Date. Here's a list of their picks:

Kaite Stover

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4:37 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Co-Founder Of The Writers Place In Kansas City Dies At 82

Gloria Vando and her husband, Bill Hickok, co-founders of The Writers Place in 2006.
Credit Dennis Lowden

William "Bill" Hickok died Monday at the age of 82 in Marina Del Rey, Ca. Two decades ago, Hickok and his wife, Gloria Vando, co-founded a literary community center in Kansas City, Mo. called The Writers Place.

Hickok, a first cousin several times removed of the gunslinger "Wild Bill" Hickok, was born in Kansas City; he graduated from Southwest High School and the University of Missouri.

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Central Standard
4:26 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Kansas City Writer's Reflection On His Youth Inspires New Ideas About Being 'Midwestern'

Woodstock, Ill. might have changed since Bill Tammeus lived there, but to the former newspaper columnist, it's still quintessentially Midwestern.
Credit Teemu008 / Creative Commons, Flickr

Former Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus, who still blogs for the paper, recently released a memoir titled Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans.

It's about his boyhood in the Illinois town of Woodstock, in the middle of the 20th century. Through critical reflection on his early experiences and observations, Tammeus arrives at a handful of truisms about life in the Midwest, offered without sentimentality or rose-colored glasses, but with measured fondness.

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Central Standard
11:27 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Kansas City Artists Reflect On The Legacy Of Maya Angelou

Poet and author Maya Angelou passed away last week, but her influence on artists and writers around the world remains.
Credit York College ISLGP / Wikimedia Commons

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." For Maya Angelou, these words were a way of life. Her poetry and prose, even her off-the-cuff remarks during interviews, made people feel things deeply.

On Tuesday's Central Standard, local artist Peregrine Honig and writer Natasha Ria El-Scari join host Gina Kaufmann to share how Maya Angelou impacted their lives.

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Central Standard
12:14 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Banned And Challenged Children's Books

Credit Creative Commons

Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series recently received the dubious distinction of topping the American Library Association's list of most-challenged books of 2013. With the author on his way to Kansas City, Central Standard took a look at what makes some of the most-challenged books so controversial.

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Central Standard
6:27 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

'Working Words' Literary Event Comes To First Friday

The worlds of creative writing and visual art are woven together for an upcoming First Friday event in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District.

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9:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Re-Imagining The University Of Missouri Press

The University of Missouri System announced in May it would eliminate the University of Missouri Press, and that process officially started July 1st.

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Central Standard
4:49 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Stories Of The Southern Working Class

Author Stephanie Powell Watts

On this Monday's Central Standard, author Stephanie Powell Watts shares a collection of short stories inspired by the uneducated and the the aspiring. Many of her characters are based on her own life or the lives of someone she's encountered.

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Up To Date
2:38 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

The Book Doctors: Spring Break Reads

With March creeping up on us,  it’s time to start stocking up on those spring break reads.  Should you go for a bestseller or a lesser-known work?  Fiction or non-?  Mystery or biography?

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Central Standard
12:00 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

The KC Renga: Ghost Over Water

The poems were on display at the Leedy-Voulkos gallery in the Crossroads throughout the month of May.

At the beginning of May, a national art project started here in Kansas City.  This was first stop on a national tour for a conversation in the form of America Now and Here.  Here’s how a Renga works — more than 30 Kansas City poets were challenged to write ten lines each….the subject that emerged is Kansas City, with references to cattlemen, ghosts, prairie grass, and Troost.

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Central Standard
12:00 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

The KC Renga: Ghost Over Water

The poems were on display at the Leedy-Voulkos gallery in the Crossroads throughout the month of May.

At the beginning of May, a national art project started here in Kansas City.  This was first stop on a national tour for a conversation in the form of America Now and Here.  Here’s how a Renga works — more than 30 Kansas City poets were challenged to write tens lines each….the subject that emerged is Kansas City, with references to cattlemen, ghosts, prairie grass, and Troost.

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Central Standard
12:00 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

The Troubadours Poetry Club

The Troubadours Poetry Club Year Book Photo. (2011)

Kansas City’s own Turner High School is carrying on the tradition of the Troubadours of old.  Teachers Marlee Stempleman and Jessica Kendall have fashioned a poetry project called the Troubadours Poetry Club where students express themselves by writing and reading their own works.  This morning on Central Standard, Marlee Stempleman and two club members stop in to share their craft.

Here are a few poems written by young Turner Troubadours:

I Remember
By Anna Stark

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