Radio Open Source
Nick Flynn Reads “Embrace Noir”
Nick Flynn -- memoirist of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City -- gave us this reading of one of his own poems: "Embrace Noir." It's a bonus on his appearance on our show about Boston Noir last week. Kunal Jasty mixed his reading with the John...
We’re talking Boston noir — the seedy, gritty underside of gentrified Boston. It’s literary, and it’s the stuff of Hollywood now, but it’s real life here too. The dark corners behind the glitz; the townies, thugs, mobsters and bullies you never read...
From the Archives: John Lanchester on London in the Age of Inequality
Economic inequality is still on our minds after last week's show with MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Rolling Stone editor Matt Taibbi. Here's an interview we recorded with John Lanchester in 2012 after the publication of his novel Capital. He...
Reading Chekhov III: “Gusev”
Each one of Anton Chekhov’s short stories, like each of Beethoven’s string quartets, can feel like a fresh experiment. They all seem different in size, shape and feeling, each one a reinvention of the form. “Gusev,” the third in our reading-aloud...
Preview: D.T. Max on David Foster Wallace’s Boston
Listen: DFW's Infinite Boston, Thursday 9pm, WBUR Biographer D. T. Max on David Foster Wallace: "David is the author of his time who has the fairest chance to be read 50 years from now... the way David touched the themes of the 90's - themes of...
The rise of modern medicine
In the annals of Boston medicine two historic chapters in the last 50 years were the near conquest of sudden death by heart attack and (not unrelated) the rise of corporate, cathedral hospitals around the practice of heroic scientific medicine with a...
Eugene Braunwald: Heart to Heart
Eugene Braunwald, who gets credit for presiding over the modern science of cardiology, is reminding us how little, in fact, the best doctors and textbooks professed to know about heart attacks when he got to medical school around 1950. A heart attack...
Amiri Baraka: Ennobled by Coltrane
Amiri Baraka‘s death prompts me to repost a conversation we had about the music of John Coltrane, which inspired Baraka and ennobled the ambitions of his Black Arts movement. “Trane was our flag,” Baraka remembered back in 2007. “We could feel what he...
The Pope Francis Phenomenon
We’re searching the Pope Francis Phenomenon in this radio hour: the man from Argentina and his many messages from Rome, his body language, feet-washings, mob scenes in Vatican Square. He “even uses words” now and then, as the 13th Century Saint...
Peter Manseau on Growing Up Catholic in Boston as the Son of a Priest...
Peter Manseau wrote a brilliant op-ed in the Times a few months ago about married priests, a no-no in the Catholic Church, of course. But, nevertheless, his father was one, is one. He met Peter’s mother in Dorchester years ago, married her and had to...
Mary Gordon on Pope Francis: Hope for Grown-Ups
Mary Gordon – a steady light among American writers labeled ‘Catholic’ – has strong, mixed emotions about the Pope who loves the same steamy Anna Magnani movies that the Catholic church used to ban. She “burst into tears,” Gordon remembers, when she...
El Sistema: Music Lessons to Rebuild the World
We’re going back to 4th grade this hour to experience the El Sistema way of learning to make music – as I wish I had! While we’re at it, we’re getting a lesson in how to humanize a school and a community space. At the Conservatory Lab Charter School...
Reading Chekkov: Vanka
“Reading Chekhov” is the name of this game – a podcast experiment and safe indoor sport with, by all accounts, the greatest short-story writer of them all, the medical doctor who was also the “Cherry Orchard” playwright, Anton Chekhov. It began last...
Katherine Powers and the lost art of American Catholicism
Katherine Powers' gathering of J. F. Powers' letters reads and lingers like the novel her famous father meant to write and didn't. We’re talking about the rueful ironies, disappointments and human contradictions of a religious imagination in...
Where’s Boston? waiting a new mayor… a new radio show
Where’s Boston? We're piloting a new radio show here for WBUR in Boston and puzzling about the home town. What can you tell from the pick of the first new mayor in a century well underway? Where’s the emergent Boston -- in the old cradle of liberty...
Graham Robb: Rescuing those Celts!
Graham Robb is our historian on a bicycle -- clarifying our Celtic roots in the Middle Earth of Tolkein, King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin and Asterix, first by pedaling tirelessly through their landscape in the British Isles.
Robert Dallek on Three Last Questions about JFK
Robert Dallek is reminding us that JFK was a pillow-talk peacenik who told his mistress on the Missile Crisis weekend, "I'd rather my kids be Red than dead." His big achievement was breaking the spell of nuclear madness. I'm asking: isn't that the...
Nicholson Baker Writes a Protest Song
Nicholson Baker's hero in his new novel is a blocked poet Paul Chowder, offering a wry, wistful homage to the singer-songwriters he's practing to be. He's also (about time!) a fantasy radio guy and a genial podcaster...
James Douglass: JFK and the Unspeakable, Part Two
Author JamesDouglass, in JFK and the Unspeakable, is not casting John Kennedy for sainthood but he is telling the story as holy tragedy, in which JFK with enormous courage accepted a miracle knowing that the price might be his life.
James Douglass: JFK and the Unspeakable. Part One.
James Douglass is bracing us to reimagine John F. Kennedy around the 50th anniversary of his “rendezvous with death.” He’s encouraging us to face what has seemed to me a central question — not so much the “Who Killed JFK?” bumper-sticker, but more...
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