William Brewer

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“I gave my body to the mountain whole. / For my body, the clinic gave out petals inked with curses. / Refill, refill, refill, until they stopped.” William Brewer reads poems from his debut poetry collection, I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017), and takes PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown on a tour of his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia to speak about the opioid crisis.

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Remembering John Ashbery

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“Poetry comes to me out of thin air or out of my unconscious mind. It’s sort of the way dreams come to us…” In this PBS NewsHour video, Jeffrey Brown revisits a conversation with John Ashbery from 2007 in which he speaks about his life as a poet and reads from his collection Notes From the Air: Selected Later Poems (Ecco, 2007). Ashbery died on September 3, 2017 at the age of ninety.

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Colum McCann on Writing Advice

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“There are no rules to writing...and if there are rules, really they’re there to be broken.” Colum McCann, author of Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice (Random House, 2017), speaks to Jeffrey Brown about the challenges and excitement of writing today at the 2017 AWP conference and book fair.

Books for Living

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“For me, books are the things that tell you what you need to do in life and they’re also the things that help you make sense of your life.” Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living (Knopf, 2016), speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about the importance of reading and the books that have taught him life lessons such as Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train (Riverhead Books, 2015), James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (Dial Press, 1956), and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (Knopf, 1977).

Jeff Shotts on Rejection

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“The vitality of poetry right now, I think, is at a high pitch.” Jeff Shotts, executive editor of Graywolf Press, speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffery Brown about the independent press’s success, poetry submissions and rejections, and why there’s never been a better time than now for poetry publishing. 

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Juan Gabriel Vásquez

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“It took me a very long time to learn how to write about Colombia.” At the 2015 National Book Festival, Juan Gabriel Vásquez speaks with PBS NewHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his literary influences and journey to write stories about Colombia, where he was born. Vásquez’s fourth novel, Reputations (Riverhead Books, 2016), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Shaka Senghor

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"Literature played a profound role in turning my life around, but it was also journaling as well, like being able to really write and ask myself those tough questions..." Shaka Senghor, author of the memoir, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2013), speaks with Jeffrey Brown about how reading and writing helped him to examine his life, and the need for American citizens to understand the prison system.

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