Arts & Letters

Arts & Letters is a program celebrating contemporary arts, humanities, and social sciences, with an emphasis on authentic Southern voices. Hosted by J. Bradley Minnick of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the full episode archive is available at artsandlettersradio.org

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Preview award-winning author Kevin Brockmeier’s upcoming release, The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, Brockmeier shares three stories from his latest project, available in the spring of 2021 and published by Penguin Random House. 

This episode airs Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 pm and Sunday Oct. 25 at 9:00 pm. 

Imagine a noble cruise ship with a rogue charlatan as its new captain with followers "most fowl" and a conspiracy theorist speaking from the bowels of the ship...

Join us as we interview author and journalist Dave Eggers about his satirical allegory, The Captain and the Glory.

 

Discover American author John Edward Williams, who wrote Stoner, critically described as the "perfect novel."

Yet, both Williams and this book remain largely obscure to American readers. On this episode, we interview renowned literary biographer Charles J. Shields. 

    

Can a blind astronomer, who claims to use the longest telescope in the world, accurately predict an eclipse?  Does it take a madman to truly "see" reality? What is the nature of tasty dumplings?

On this episode, we speak with author Adam Ehrlich Sachs who explores these questions in his satiric novel The Organs of Sense

Map the territory of trauma and survival with poet H. K. Hummel.

On this episode, we speak with Hummel about her 2020 collection Lessons in Breathing Underwater, published by Sundress Publications. Faced with her own battle for survival after childbirth, these poems attempt to understand personal catastrophe by sharing memories of her own recovery in parallel with historical and mythological women who have faced insurmountable challenges.

"Everything Goes Deeper Than You Expect"

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we celebrate the music from Season Six.

Hosted by producer Mary Ellen Kubit, this episode shares favorite and memorable music from the various episodes this year. 

As many of you know, music is at the heart of much of our storytelling, and we typically feature singers, songwriters and musicians from Arkansas and across the Mid-South. 

This episode airs Friday, August 28 at 7:00pm cdt, and Sunday, August 30 at 9:00pm cdt.

 

C. Schutt

Does the garden die with the gardener?

Join us as J. Bradley Minnick and his guest, award-winning author Christine Schutt, explore the answer to this question through Schutt's short story, "The Duchess of Albany."

The story deals with loss, isolation, meddling adult children, issues of aging, and the desire to preserve what others have left behind.

Reflections on home, family, and the spiritual essence of place…

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we'll be talking with writer Jennifer Case about her memoir Sawbill: A Search for Place, published by University of New Mexico Press. 

Writing Geeks

Apr 20, 2020

Geek out with the A&L team as we interview Stephanie Vanderslice, self-proclaimed writing geek--blogger, scholar, teacher, and mom ...

Escape with us to the shopping mall, as Matthew Newton and the Arts & Letters team craft a nostalgic love letter to the malls of America, with special focus on the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we'll be talking with writer Matthew Newton about his Bloomsbury Object Lessons' book Shopping Mall, which chronicles its history, its relationship to us and our collective communities and our personal relationships to it.

A Brief Pause

Mar 23, 2020
Elixir Press

Meet American prize-winning short story author: Amina Gautier.

Today on Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with award-winning writer Amina Gautier.  Her third short story collection, The Loss of All Lost Things, published by Elixir Press is about reconstituting lives after imaginable and unimaginable losses. In this episode, we'll be examining her story "A Brief Pause." 

The Loss of All Lost Things won the Elixir Press Award in Fiction and the 2018 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. 

Life Was Golden

Mar 19, 2020
M. E. Kubit

A Guided Tour of the Historic Cane Hill Museum

Walk with us as we explore the Historic Cane Hill Museum.

This show is our second in a series of two episodes. The first episode, "Still On Cane Hill," explored the musical project "Cane Hill" written by folk duo Kelly and Donna Mulhullan of Still On The Hill.

Settle in on your front porch rocking chairs and listen to musical tales of Doc Bean, Cousin Annie's Apple Pie, the Trail of Tears, and JD Wilbur's Pottery—all from the historic Northwest Arkansas town, Cane Hill.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with musicians Kelly and Donna Mulhollan of the musical group Still On The Hill about their musical project Cane Hill -- a historical town with its Main Street, college, fountain on the square, and town doctor. 

The Life of Legendary Story Chaser, Tim Samaras.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with participant journalist Brantley Hargrove about his book The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras.

Tsutsui family photos

Unearth the reasons why so many of us love Godzilla, with Professor Tsutsui as our guide.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with William Tsutsui, former President of Hendrix College and a self-admitted aficionado of "all-things Godzilla." 

Tsutsui's book Godzilla On My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters. published by Saint Martin's Griffin, recovers Godzilla from b-movie status and celebrates the King of the Monsters.

Imagine what James Baldwin might say if he were alive today.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with writer Vincent Tolliver about his one-man play, James Baldwin: Striking a Match to America, An Address at Columbia University, which has been performed in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

The play imagines James Baldwin alive today talking to the American people about writing, race, and reparations. 

 

An excerpt from the play:

The Tradition

Dec 8, 2019
Copper Canyon Press

Explore American Poetry.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with poet Jericho Brown about his national book award finalist poetry collection The Tradition, published by Copper Canyon Press.

This collection focuses on multiple mythic traditions and confronts injury, loss, and love.

“Dark”

I am sick of your sadness,

Jericho Brown, your blackness,

Your books. Sick of you

Laying me down

... I’m sick

Michael Weintrob

On this fun-filled episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with musicians Rob Schwimmer and Mark Stewart of Polygraph Lounge about various ways of thinking about and rethinking conceptions of music. 

Based on two shows Schwimmer and Stewart created for Carnegie Hall Presents, we feature music and discussions about the exploration of sound. 

The Colony

Oct 19, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Immerse yourself in the haunting experiences of patients institutionalized in a Southern state-run facility that sterilized patients without their consent until the mid-twentieth century.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with poet Molly McCully Brown about her poetry collection The Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, published by Persea Books, which imagines the voices of patients and staff of the Colony.

Whatever it is--

home or hospital,

graveyard or asylum,

government facility or great

Image Courtesy of Tyson Foods

Explore the life and nonfiction of Donald Harington, known as "the Chaucer of the Ozarks" for his artistic and literary portrayal of the traditions and culture of the tri-state region of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with editor Brian Walter about the collected non-fiction of novelist Donald Harington.

Photo from cover of Thought We Were Writing the Blues: But They Called It Rock 'n' Roll

Explore the Music of This Rock & Roll Pioneer

In Part II, Arts & Letters continues speaking with biographer Arlene Corsano about the music and career of Arkansan songwriter and singer Rose Marie McCoy and Corsano's book Thought We Were Writing The Blues But They Called It Rock 'n' Roll.

Catch up and listen to Part I before this episode!

Discover one of America's most prolific songwriters.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we speak with biographer Arlene Corsano about the life and music of Arkansan songwriter and singer Rose Marie McCoy. 

Through personal stories and rare interview recordings with McCoy, Corsona tells the in-depth and behind-the-scenes story of a complicated singer and songwriter who broke barrier after barrier as a black woman in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s in the music business. 

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we celebrate the music from Season Five.

Hosted by producer Mary Ellen Kubit this episode shares favorite and memorable music from the various episodes this year. 

Our Executive Producer and Host J. Bradley Minnick is busy in the studio recording for Season Six, but he'll break away for a few minutes for a behind the scenes discussion about how music is selected and placed in various episodes.           

Photo courtesy of Eugene Lawson

The True Tale of "Arkansas Gun Girl," Helen Spence

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we continue our discussion with Denise Parkinson about the mysterious and infamous life of 1930s "outlaw" Helen Ruth Spence.

Parkinson's book, Daughter of the White River: Depression-Era Treachery & Vengeance in the Arkansas Delta is a true-life tale about a depression-era tragedy.

The True Tale of "Arkansas Gun Girl," Helen Spence

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with writer Denise White Parkinson. Her book is titled Daughter of the White River: Depression-Era Treachery & Vengeance in the Arkansas Delta and is published by The History Press.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with hospice educator and pastor Dr. Kathleen J. Rusnak about what the dying learn about living at the end of life and how this knowledge is their gift to us in the midst of life.

Her book Because You've Never Died Before, published by Brick Wall 2, offers a framework for giving meaning to the experiences of those who are dying as well as an opportunity to gain from the wisdom and insight of the dying for your own life now.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we speak with writer Joe Meno.  Published by Akashic Books, his novel,  Marvel and a Wonder, is set in the summer of 1995.

Jim Falls, a grandfather and Korean War veteran, sets out alone to raise his grandson Quentin. 

Marvel and a Wonder is firmly ensconced in place and reveals the wonderment of possibility, which is looming just beyond the next hill. And then the next. . . 

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler about his many books informed by theories on desire, life's chance meetings and conscious decisions that inform sometimes unconscious occurrences in the world.

A life in letters, the varied novels, the wildly inventive short stories, the radical pedagogy, please join us for a retrospective on his work thus far--Robert Olen Butler in his own words.

SAGE Publications

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be talking with Dr. Avinash Thombre, a communication professor in the Department of Applied Communication, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Ramesh N. Rao, professor of communications at Columbus State University in Georgia.

Their book Intercultural Communication The Indian Context, published by Sage Publications, introduces us to the challenges of, and opportunities for, communicating across a myriad verbal and non-verbal differences in India. 

On this special episode of Arts & Letters, we’ll be featuring a The River Whispers Her Name: A Christmas Tale, penned and performed by Jay Grelen, based on the book by the same name.

Four-year-old Rebekah Freeman wanders away from her house, her mother, father and brother, Four Door, in search of an elusive Christmas package.

The River Whispers Her Name chronicles Rebekah's misadventures beginning on the eve of Christmas Eve in the marshes of Alabama.  

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