Louise Erdrich on The Sentence

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“A book is much more than a transactional object. The words are flooding in, and ideas are filling you in emotion. It’s haunting in a good way.” In this PBS NewsHour interview, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Louise Erdrich speaks from her bookstore Birchbark Books & Native Arts in Minneapolis about her love of books and her new novel, The Sentence (Harper, 2021), a ghost story which explores the racial divides of her hometown.

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Richard Ford on Memoir Writing

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“Here is another reason to write a memoir: to utter what must not be erased.” In this 2017 PBS NewsHour video, Richard Ford speaks about his reasons for writing, Between Them: Remembering My Parents (Ecco, 2017), a memoir about his parents. “I wrote about my parents because, decades after their deaths and when I was no longer young, I realized that I plainly missed them.”

Brief but Spectacular: Tongo Eisen-Martin

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“To walk down the streets in the Bay Area is really to walk through a dystopia,” says San Francisco poet laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin about the rapid gentrification of his native city as he discusses how poetry serves as a tool for revolution in this installment of PBS NewsHour’s “Brief but Spectacular” series.

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Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

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“I’m carrying this for America, but for Indigenous peoples in particular,” says Joy Harjo about what it means to be the first Native American to serve as the poet laureate of the United States in this 2019 PBS NewsHour interview with Jeffrey Brown. A Q&A with Harjo about her new memoir, Poet Warrior (Norton, 2021), appears in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Remembering Donald Hall

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“Great blue mountain! Ghost. / I look at you / from the porch of the farmhouse / where I watched you all summer / as a boy,” reads the late Donald Hall from his poem “Mount Kearsarge” in this 2018 PBS NewsHour video commemorating his death at the age of eighty-nine. For more Hall, read “Fleeting: In Memory of Donald Hall” by Christopher Locke.

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House of Mercury by Fady Joudah

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“The storm funneled through town with destructive intent. / Fractured tree limbs, toppled fences, rippled shingles / like tufts of hair.” In this PBS NewsHour video, Fady Joudah reads “House of Mercury” from his poetry collection Tethered to Stars (Milkweed Editions, 2021), which is featured in Page One in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman

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“Poetry is an art form, but, to me, it’s also a weapon, it’s also an instrument. It’s the ability to make ideas that have been known, felt and said.” In this PBS NewsHour interview, Amanda Gorman speaks with Jeffrey Brown about her love of poetry and the writing process for her poem for this year’s presidential inauguration. Gorman is the nation’s first youth poet laureate and won a Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers in 2020.

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Toni Morrison on Beloved

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“I am convinced that the more I am well-known, the better known I am, the easier it is for other writers to come along,” says Toni Morrison in this 1987 interview with PBS NewsHour’s Charlayne Hunter-Gault on her success as an author and what inspired her novel Beloved, which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

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W. S. Merwin on Writing Poems and Planting Trees

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“It would be silly to waste time daydreaming about, if only I were twenty years old again. It’s more interesting to figure out, how do I see the world now.” In this 2015 PBS NewsHour video, the late W. S. Merwin reflects on growing old and writing poems on the three acres of land he purchased in the late 1970s, now known as the Merwin Conservancy, an arts and ecology organization located on the island of Maui.

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