Kay Ryan, US Poet Laureate (2008-present)

Since October 2008, Kay Ryan has been serving as America’s 16th poet laureate, tapped by the librarian of Congress to be ambassador for American poetry. She has published more than half a dozen books of collected poems. and is cherished for her  compact, vivid and accessible verse.  This profile is based on my interview with her at the Academy of American Poetry in New York City.

Here is a link to the VOA story I did about her and includes audio links to an extended excerpt from our interview and sound files of Ryan reading several of her poems.

See also my profiles of US Poet Laureates Charles Simic and Donald Hall.


Posted in Americana, Books, Poetry, Profile, Women

Poet Robert Bly and the Wild Man (CBC 1990)

This is a look at the Iron John aka the Wild Man, an archetypal figure representing the deep masculine found in the Grimm Brothers tales, and other traditions. This was popularized by the poet Robert Bly as a story with much to tell modern Western man, who may have lost touch with their own wildness, and therefore their capacity to protect others, and to live fully.

See also my profiles of Robert Bly himself elsewhere in this blog.


Posted in Books, History, Poetry, Profile, Religion, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , ,

Profile: Art Spiegelman “Maus” Creator & Comics and Graphics Novel Artist

Art Spiegelman is most famous for his Pulitzer Prize winning work “Maus,” a graphic novel about the Holocaust in which Nazis are portrayed as cats, and Jews are depicted as mice.  In this profile, Spiegelman talks about his roots as a Mad Magazine afficionado, underground cartoonist, and his experience growing up in a Queens NY family overshadowed by the Shoah.


Posted in Americana, Arts, Books, History, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, New York, Profile Tags: , , , , , , ,

Profile: Barney Rosset, Publisher and First Amendment Activist-Hero (VOA 2009)

This is a profile of the entrepreneurial publisher and First Amendment activist Barney Rosset. During the mid 20th century Rosset tirelessly fought America’s anti-obscenity laws in order to publish now-classic works by D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs and scores of other non-Establishment writers, several of whom went on to win the Nobel Prize.  Barney talked with Adam in the labyrinthine Greenwich Village apartment he shares with his wife Astrid, and the Evergreen Review offices.


Posted in Americana, Books, History, New York, Profile Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Profile: Maxine Greene – Educator, Philosopher, Humanist (VOA 2009)

Professor Maxine Greene of Teachers College, Columbia University, 91, has spent her educating and inspiring educators, artists and children in humanistic “wide-awakedness” and the social imagination.  Now 91, Maxine  has also been Philosopher-in-Residence at the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education since 1975. She just received a Gold Medal from Barnarnd College.  Maxine grew up with my mother in Brooklyn, and was a frequent dinner guest at our home on East 70th Street.


Posted in Arts, Books, Profile, Science, Women Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Island at the Center of the World: Dutch New York

2009 marks the 400th anniversary of English sea captain Henry Hudson’s arrival in what’s now New York harbor.  British colonists would play a major role in the development of Manhattan Island.  But historian Russell Shorto says it was largely the 17th century Dutch and their pioneering settlement of New Amsterdam that influenced what Manhattan, New York City and to some extent, even America itself, would become.  Shorto explains how in his book, “The Island at the Center of the World — The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America.”


Posted in Americana, Books, History, New York Tags: , , , , , ,

The Sacred Heart: An Atlas of the Body Seen Through Invasive Surgery (Book)

This is a extended, edited excerpt from my intervierw with (now Dr.)  Max Aguilera-Hellweg, who saw and photographed the strange and difficult beauty of the body as it undergoes radical surgery.  While this is a long form audio story, I hoped to give a sense of the ways the spirit, the “hotness” of fleshy life and medical skill come together in the operating room, and which were compassionately exalted in his remarkable 1997 book.


Posted in Arts, Books, Health, Long form docs (15" and up), Science, Spirituality