Writers & Writing

Author interviews, poetry and storytelling.

Donald Hall, a former poet laureate of the United States whose writing explored everything from nature to mortality to the toss of a baseball, has died at the age of 89.

Hall died on Saturday at his family farm, known as Eagle Pond, in the small town of Wilmot, N.H. His death was announced by his literary agent, Wendy Strothman.

Hall was a prolific author who began writing when he was just 12 years old. Over the course of a career that spanned more than seven decades, he wrote over 40 books, about half of which were works of poetry.

'What The Eyes Don't See' In Flint

20 hours ago

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SUSAN DAVIS, HOST:

It's got to be a bit daunting for a comics creator to contribute to an anthology revolving around Michael Chabon's Escapist. Chabon created the Escapist in his 2000 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won a Pulitzer Prize and set a new standard for highbrow treatment of comics. He's an author who's always expected great things from the form; in the keynote speech at the 2004 Eisner Awards (included in this volume), Chabon called for writers and artists "to ...

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The new novel Confessions of the Fox is a mystery enrobed in a mystery.

Early in his memoir Room to Dream, filmmaker and artist David Lynch seems to question the entire purpose of memoirs. Talking to Jack Nance, star of Lynch's deliriously baffling debut film Eraserhead, Lynch says there's no way to convey the essence of life moments. "You can tell all the stories you want," he says, "but you still haven't gotten what the experience was like across. It's like telling somebody a dream. It doesn't give them the dream."

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Much has been written about Donald Trump as a politician and as a businessman, but a new book by Vanity Fair journalist Emily Jane Fox looks at the president through a different lens: as the head of a family.

Fox's new book, Born Trump: Inside America's First Family, focuses on Trump's three marriages and five children — as well as on his relationship with son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

One summer's day a few years ago, my daughter and her friends piled into a car that one of them had recently gotten a license to drive. "Where are you going?" I asked with false calm. "We're driving up Wisconsin Avenue until it turns into Rockville Pike," my daughter said, naming some roads in and around Washington, D.C. "Then," she continued, "we're gonna keep on driving up Rockville Pike. We want to see what's at the end."

Essay: Bonnie's Cottage

Jun 21, 2018

Finally, Bonnie invites me to spend a week at her family cottage, the cottage she’s been telling me about all during eighth grade. Every day we will go swimming, she says, and sit on the dock and wait for boys to pick us up in their speedboats.

Now we’re here and Bonnie says the lake is too cold for swimming. And although we sit on the dock every day, no boys come by. As it turns out, the only invitation to ride in a speedboat comes from Bonnie’s dad on the last night of my visit.

Voting in this year's Summer Reader Poll is closed — and you've given us more than 6,000 of your favorite horror novels and stories to sort through. So while my shambling hordes of undead minions (OK, the interns) get to sorting and tabulating the results, let's meet the expert panelists who've agreed to help us build the final list. (Really, running the Summer Poll is just an excuse for me to hang around with authors I admire, but shhhh ... don't tell anyone.)

Look, I know how these things are supposed to work.

Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl shares her under-the-radar reading recommendations with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep. This year's picks include mysteries, nonfiction and a fantasy story for young readers.

(These recommendations have been edited for clarity and length.)

Danny Hajek and Shannon Rhoades produced and edited this segment for broadcast. Nicole Cohen adapted it for the Web.

After a month-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz has been cleared by MIT to continue teaching there next year.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The short version: I loved this book! I was also very confused by this book.

The longer version: I was intrigued by the title of Kate Evangelista's new book The Boyfriend Bracket. The tagline on the cover read like a movie poster, "8 Boys, 16 Dates, 1 Perfect Boyfriend."

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

On the morning I read Jim Crace's superb new novel The Melody, I was in our living room when I heard them: bells. Chiming over and over again, from I knew not where. It felt as if the book itself had created an atmosphere around me, as if I'd entered its world involuntarily — and I wasn't surprised.

Here's the thing about There There, the debut novel by Native American author Tommy Orange: Even if the rest of its story were just so-so — and it's much more than that — the novel's prologue would make this book worth reading.

In 1841, small-town parish clerk William Hinton got his first look at an English locomotive in action. Writer Julian Young recorded Hinton's breathless reaction: "Well Sir, that was a sight to have seen; but one I never care to see again! How awful! I tremble to think of it! I don't know what to compare it to, unless it be to a messenger ... with a commission to spread desolation and destruction over this fair land! How much longer shall knowledge be allowed to go on increasing?"

Ken Jennings — yep, you got it: affable Jeopardy! champ/trivia doyen/comedy-adjacent media personality, that Ken Jennings — is worried.

Worried, not panicked. Not even distressed, really. No, what his book Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over our Culture amounts to, really, is an extended, engaging, deeply knowledgeable, 275-page-long (312, if you count the endnotes) (come on, you knew there'd be endnotes) fret.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

David Lynch On 'Room To Dream'

Jun 17, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BLUE VELVET")

LAURA DERN: (As Sandy Williams) I don't know if you're a detective or a pervert.

KYLE MACLACHLAN: (As Jeffrey Beaumont) Well, that's for me to know and you to find out.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TWIN PEAKS")

'Where The Nightmares Go' Maps The Territory Of Fear

Jun 17, 2018

A radio spitting on an open channel. Phones that ring with no one on the other end. Doors that open onto plain white rooms and worlds made of nightmares. The chance meeting at the bar that's too good to be true — right up until it isn't.

Pages