poetry

Courtesy Tom Stroik

"One thing that a poet needs more than anything else — well, you need a sense of language — but you need people who love you. And I have that," the poet Michelle Boisseau told New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam earlier this year. "I have incredible colleagues, and of course my husband Tom [Stroik], and people who believe in your work. Just keep doing it."

Bonnie Bolling remembers when she first stepped on Middle Eastern soil. A writer, Bolling was in an airport in Dubai and the call to prayer came over the loudspeakers.

She’d never heard the call, and while she definitely felt reverence, she also panicked because she didn’t know what to expect or what her own response should be. Her heart beat hard as she stopped and awaited the reactions of her fellow travelers.

“I realized I was going to experience it in a way I was going to need to write about,” Bolling says of the Middle East.

Hear the stories behind this year's Day of the Dead altars at the Mattie Rhodes Gallery, then meet a local spoken word poet/minister.

Guests:

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood . . . to find that it is actually racist? As our society's thoughts on race continue to evolve, we'll consult the author of the new book Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.

Jack Williams / NET News

In the middle of a cornfield in south-central Nebraska, an oasis of art is growing.

Art Farm, situated off a long dirt road outside the small town of Marquette, started back in 1993 as an artist residency program. Since then, it’s become a one-of-a-kind experience many artists can’t resist.

The similarities between Native American and Middle Eastern cultures, as told by poets in a new anthology that was published here. Then, two of the musicians from the local band Making Movies; their new album, I Am Another You, just made it onto the Billboard and Billboard Latin Charts.

Guests:

The poet Mbembe Milton Smith wrote some provocative words about a Kansas City suburb:

“There are uncharted places like Overland Park, Kansas or Greenwich Connecticut where they lock their back door if they heard black power was coming cause black folk wouldn’t dare come round the front.”

For a person of color, those words might articulate a vague feeling of uneasiness that accompanies a visit to Johnson County even today. But they come from the poem "Allegory of the Bebop Walk," written decades ago.

Jacob Yakob / Dogs of War LLC

If the father figure in your life has more than enough golf clubs, tools and those weird plaques adorned with plastic singing fish, why not consider giving him the gift of great cinema? Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics are here with a new batch of movie recommendations that any dad would enjoy.

Cynthia Haines

I, Daniel Blake, R

José Faus

Jun 16, 2017
Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

When he first immigrated to KC from Colombia at age 9, it was a shock. Since then, he's become a mainstay in Kansas City's art community as a poet, painter, playwright and mentor. On this show, we get to know José Faus.

Guest:

Joss Barratt / Entone Group

If you're tired of all the politics on television this week, you may want to try watching something on a different, slightly bigger screen. Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics are here with a new batch of weekend suggestions. They're sure to get you off that mind-suppressing couch and into an enthralling local independent theater. 

Steve Walker

I, Daniel Blake, R

Howard Simmons / Courtesy Washburn University

Gwendolyn Brooks lived in Topeka for just a few weeks after she was born. But the iconic poet – Brooks was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize — still has relatives in Kansas, and they’re ready to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday.

“I’m very happy and proud when I hear so many people here in Topeka that really had a lot of respect for her and the gift God had given her,” says Carolyn Wims Campbell, Brooks’ first cousin once removed (Brooks and Campbell’s father were cousins).

Norma Productions

June has arrived, liberating children from schools all over Kansas City and vexing adults with the impossible task of keeping them entertained. If you're looking for a mental escape from this annual phenomenon, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics suggest sheltering your mind in the safety of a good movie.

Steve Walker

The Wedding Plan, PG

New America / Flickr - CC

Today, Kansas's newest poet laureate discusses how to find extraordinary meaning in the seemingly ordinary events of our lives. Then, we speak with political journalist and long-time confidant to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, whose new writing delves into the complex life of one of America's great presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

Music Box Films

What do America's first celebrity chef, a poetry biopic and a heavyweight boxing drama have in common? Hint: They are your weekend plans, courtesy of Up To Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics. With an extra day off from work comes more time to lay low and take in a film — or four! It'll be well worth your while.

Steve Walker

A Quiet Passion, PG-13

IFC Films

City planning flare-ups, folk-rock, and a poetry biopic ... if these aren't movie topics appropriate for a public radio audience, nothing is. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics will give you the chance to revel in your nerdy-ness, and learn a little history in the process. We'd be lying if we claimed to be too cool for some popcorn and a well-crafted flick that features zero actual explosions.

Steve Walker

polarworld.co.uk

An explorer's sketchbook is more than a window into an unknown frontier — it's an intimate look into their everyday life. We visit with the author of a new book detailing the drawings, photos and scribblings of the various trailblazers who made them. Also, it's National Poetry Month and two poets tell how they and dozens of other participants will gather for this weekend's Kansas City Poetry Throwdown.

courtesy: Emporia State University

The Kansas Humanities Council on Thursday announced a new Kansas poet laureate: Kevin Rabas (pronounced as RAY-bus).

Rabas, an associate professor of poetry and playwriting at Emporia State University, grew up in Shawnee. He co-directs ESU's creative writing program and serves as co-editor of Flint Hills Review.

His latest collection of poetry, Songs for My Father: Poems & Stories, was published in 2016. 

Blake Stoppel

Kansas City’s BkMk Press has a new collection of poetry by Native American writers about the Middle East.

The book's title — The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East — was inspired by advice given to BkMk managing editor Ben Furnish by a teacher years ago.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Just before Thanksgiving last year, Monique Salazar came across a Facebook video from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The video depicted guard dogs attacking indigenous people standing in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The images struck her. Salazar had been scheduled to bartend for a Thanksgiving event, but she couldn't get the video out of her head. She called her boss to tell her she was sorry, but she had to go to North Dakota.

"She graciously told me to go home," Salazar says. "So go home I did."  

courtesy of the artists; photo of Daniel Coburn by Bruce Wagman

Applicants are warned, as Inside Philanthropy puts it: "Don't even think about attempting to apply for this fellowship unless you are at the absolute top of your game."

Amy Britain

Culture wars were raging. The National Endowment for the Arts was under threat. A conservative senator from a southern state was earning his reputation as a "prominent unabashed white racist." Protesters were hitting the streets.

"It was a really interesting time," Mark Manning says of the early 1990s. "Similar to now."

courtesy of the artist

Poet Nikki Giovanni's career spans five decades. A writer, activist and teacher, she's published more than 30 books of poetry and non-fiction as well as children's literature. 

"As a creative writer, I think, there are things you have to let go," Giovanni told New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam in a 2015 interview.

"I guess it's like anything else you do — you do it and you let it go. You do it and you let it go."

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

Ahead of the release of her new book of poetry, Striking the Black Snake​, local poet Monique Salazar joins us to share some of her personal journey, including her inspiring experience at Standing Rock, her heritage and memories of an abusive childhood.

Plus, Kansas City rap duo Ces Cru on their latest album "Catastrophic Event Specialists."

Guests:

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

At first glance, the painter Ada Koch and the poet Glenn North might seem an unlikely pair. But what has emerged from their collaboration — Love, Loss & Violence: A Visual Dialogue on War, an art exhibit opening this weekend at the Kansas City Artists Coalition and an accompanying book — illustrates with painful honesty that certain fears are universal.

Ken Doll / Kansas Center for Economic Growth

The Sunflower State's budget is a mess and lawmakers in Topeka are struggling to solve the state's fiscal woes. Today, a former budget director evaluates the precarious situation. Also, we speak with novelist Ellen Hopkins, who experienced the kidnapping of one daughter and the drug addiction of another.

Courtesy Through A Glass Productions

The Kansas City Symphony has released an album of music it commissioned from one of America's most promising composers. We learn about that collaboration, and about the composer's creative process. Then, Langston Hughes lived in Lawrence until just after high school, but still managed to leave a legacy of activism there.

Courtesy Through A Glass Productions

In 1949, Langston Hughes wrote,

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

Langston’s Lawrence, a new short documentary directed by University of Kansas Film and Media Studies Professor Madison Davis Lacy, explores how Hughes’ lifelong rejection of compromise and fear grew partly out of his experiences as a young boy in Kansas.

Born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902, Hughes lived in Lawrence until his mid-teens.

Edward C. Robinson III / ECR3.com

A filmmaker from Poland and a former journalist from Kansas hope a combination essay-contest-and-documentary-film-project will help bridge the state's (and the country's) well-documented divides.

That's what happened in Europe and New York state, says Ewa Zadrzynska, the filmmaker who started Poetry Unites in Poland in 2006. 

In the wake of President Donald Trump's inauguration, local artists weigh in on how they address politics with their work. In our latest Story of a Song, we hear how one Kansas City musician chose to address the current political climate with his song 'Revolution.'

Plus, how a special poetry contest came from Poland to Kansas. 

Guests:

Poetry smut queen Patricia Lockwood recently spent some time in her childhood home in Lawrence, Kansas. She joins us to talk about her recent New Yorker article about technology and notebooks, and her new memoir, Priestdaddy.

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