Photo by Julian Goldberger
Up and under Sun Kil Moon's "Gentle Moon"
It's set in the community of Maple Rock, Michigan, which is just outside of Detroit, and it's the story of the aftermath of an inexplicable event, and that event is in this tight-knit working class community a group of fathers disappears in- over the course of one summer without much of an explanation, only sort of vague references to the moon. They tell people they're leaving and they're going to the moon. Some of them slip out without telling anybody and some people sort of use that excuse on their way out of town and so it's the story of what happens to the town after this mass exodus of fathers.
That's writer and 2006 NEA literature fellow Dean Bakopoulos talking about the premise of his haunting first novel, Please Don't Come Back From The Moon.
Welcome to Arts Works, the program that goes behind the scenes with some of the nation's great artists to explore how art works. I'm your host Josephine Reed.
Born and raised in greater Detroit, Dean Bakopoulos easily navigates the worlds of fiction and journalism. Currently a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University, Dean has lectured at Michigan, Cornell, and other universities about the economic and environmental problems facing the post-industrial Rust Belt. He has published related essays and criticism in many publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and The Believer.
He is equally successful in translating these concerns into fiction. His first novel, Please Don't Come Back From The Moon received critical acclaim and was named a New York Times notable book. In Please Don't Come Back From The Moon, Dean Bakopoulos delivers a piece of fiction that looks at the day-to-day struggles of the working class with an eye that combines a grittily realism with moments of sheer magic. Dean paints a vivid picture of a working class Michigan neighborhood where one-by-one the men disappear. When sixteen-year-old Michael's father joins the exodus and Mike and his friends stumble through their adolescence and adulthood unable to leave the neighborhood their fathers long abandoned. I spoke with Dean Bakopoulos recently and about Please Don't Come Back From The Moon. I began our conversation by asking him to tell me about his protagonist Michael.
Bakopoulos:Â Michael is the narrator of the novel. He's 17 when the novel opens up. He turns 17 the summer that his father leaves and goes to this moon and he is a young kid who wants to get out of Maple Rock but once his father disappears he finds himself unable to know what the next move is. He finds himself sort of assuming some of the responsibilities of quote, unquote, the man of the house but he also is still pretty immature in the sense he's not sure what he wants to do in his life or how to go about doing it. And so in that sense I think Michael or Mikey, as his buddies call him, is someone that a lot of people can relate to, being at the age where you sort of know you want to do something different than your family has set up for you, something different your parents did, but you have no idea of how you're going to go about do that- in doing that.
Josephine Reed: One thing I loved about this book is that it actually looks at working class people and it's not crime fiction.
Bakopoulos:Â <laughs> That's true. I think there's so much soul in the communities across America where people are really living paycheck to paycheck. There's a lot of art there but they're busy and I think increasingly this is the story of not just isolated communities; this is the story of America. I am working on an essay right now called We Are All Working Class now, which looks at this issue that we've all become paycheck-to-paycheck people. We all are scrambling to keep ourselves afloat regardless of our education, where we grew up, what our parents did. A huge majority of Americans are now in the same sort of situation where if they lose their livelihood they have maybe a few weeks to get something else together, and so I do think working class is something we need to look at a little bit differently.
Reed:Â Let me ask you. I do want you to just theorize, you know, and muse for a second about why it is really only in crime fiction that people seem to have jobs that they have to go to and not even--
Reed:Â Forget the money concerns. Nobody else seems to really be working.
Bakopoulos:Â Yeah. I mean you see it in- in American fiction and in American film too. You see this sort of interest in the lives of people of leisure, people who just sort of have a lot of time to think. I think a lot of contemporary American fiction is told from the point of view of people who are not concerned with the day-to-day logistics of living and Chekhov has a quote where he says Â you know, "that's the stuff that- that wears you out and something about any idiot can face a crisis; it's the day-to-day living that wears you out." And I think that's the sort of thing I'm interested in characters is not just how they rise to the occasion, the- the inexplicable events or the tragedy or the crime but how do they manage to get by day-to-day when things don't always go the way they are supposed to go.
Reed:Â Exactly. You have for example a character in the book who works at a bookstore. She has a son and she has to do--what is it?--wet T-shirt night at the barâ¦
Reed:Â --to get extra money and that's what she does.
Bakopoulos:Â Yeah. She's a character named Ella who becomes very significant to Mikey later in the book when he's in his late twenties and she does what she has to do and one of the things she has to do is there's a Hump Day Honey contest at a local tavern where she has to put on a bikini but she wins it and she knows her kids need to eat- or her kid needs to eat. And so it's the sort of resilience of people to do what needs to be done and to- I wanted to portray that with dignity. I didn't want to do it with any level of pity. I come from people who do what needs to be done and- and who live paycheck to paycheck and I am still that person. You know, despite having a novel out you still, I got two kids and a wife who stays home with the kids and we uh.. rely on what I bring home, and some years we have some money to spend and other years we're on deficit spending just like most of the country so it's quite a muse. I mean the guy who holds your mortgage at the bank. My friend, Mike Perry says this is-- Uh. he's a writer out of Wisconsin. He says his muse is a little bald guy named Joe who holds the mortgage to his farm. <laughs>
Reed:Â But in your book, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon, what I find interesting in looking at it is that the women in it seem more resilient than the men. Now the men that you look at are all the boys whose fathers have left--
Reed: Mikey and his cousin, Nick, and his friend, Tommy. They're a little more brittle than their mothers who just seem to be, which isn't to say they didn't hurt but they were moving forward.
Bakopoulos:Â Yeah. The--Â I think, you know, one of the interesting things about our culture and working class culture particularly is that men put all of their eggs in the career basket and the men who leave in this book a lot of them are out of work and don't have their livelihoods. They don't have that identity as provider anymore and when those eggs break, all those eggs in that provider basket, men often are shell-shocked. They don't know what to do. Some of the boys in the book don't know what they're gonna do to be providers and so there's this sort ofÂ post-industrial malaise that I think overtakes men because they so much identify themselves 100% with the role as provider. I think women are better at sort of understanding that there's many li- many facets to one's identity. The women I know, my mother, my sister and my wife and people I we're acquaintances with I've been really sort of impressed by they don't put all their eggs in their career basket. What do they do for a living doesn't define them as much. They take more value I think out of their relationships, out of their friendships, out of their families and their homes, all sorts of different things that they see as part of who they are. And I think it's a lesson that a lot of us men can learn from women is that your career is simply what you're doing to pay the bills and it doesn't really identify, it's not a huge part of your identity at the end of the day. Your friendships, your relationships, how you like to spend your time rather than how you have to spend your time is more important. I think the women in this novel certainly realize that, you know, they have to move on and do things they want to do.
Reed: I'd like you to read part of it and the part I'd like you to read actually is when Mike's father leaves.
Bakopoulos:Â Sure. All right.
Did I think my father was immune?Â My father was only human. How could he not leave?Â My father was in the driveway when I came riding up on my bicycle. Nobody else was home. It was a Saturday and my mother and brother were out shopping. He was loading a few duffel bags and a box into the trunk of his Oldsmobile. He wore a blue oxford shirt tucked into faded jeans and he was red faced and puffy eyed. "Dad," I said, standing at the edge of the sidewalk, "where you goin'?"Â He stared back at me, squinting and tight lipped as if my head had suddenly burst into a ball of fire and the brilliant light was blinding him, as if my voice was a voice coming from a burning bush. He drove away at a crawl. His speedometer must have not even reached ten miles per hour and every few seconds I could see him glance in his rear-view mirror and then avert his eyes quickly as if my head were still behind him, burning and flaring up into the sky. I stood alone in the driveway throwing sycamore pellets down the wide, empty street. They sailed over the concrete and then bounced and landed, exploding into fluff like crashing birds. When my brother and mother came home from shopping I said nothing. At dinner my mother set out meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. She called my father, "Roman, dinner."Â He didn't come. Kolya and I sat and watched each other waiting. Kolya--this is the little brother in the book--seemed to know the score. He didn't look worried or confused, just sad. My mother went to the fridge and took out a bowl of tossed salad, a bottle of Italian dressing, and a jar of pickles. "Roman," she called. "Dinner, Honey."Â She went back to the counter, got the salt and pepper shakers. She went to the fridge and brought out some butter and some slices of Wonder bread. She called again. When he still didn't come she went to the fridge and got mustard and ketchup, some leftover macaroni and cheese, some lunchmeat that she arranged on a paper plate. She called again. She brought to the table a jar of beets, some olives, a bottle of vinegar, a jar of mayonnaise. "Roman, come on, Honey, dinner."Â Her voice trailed around the house and floated up the stairs where nobody was waiting to hear it. She brought out honey, marshmallows and chocolate sauce. She smiled. "For dessert," she said."Â Kolya and I started eating. The meat loaf was getting cold but Mom kept setting out food until everything in the fridge and freezer and pantry was on the table. I sat between a bag of frozen corn and a box of crackers. Kolya shoved aside a can of sliced peaches and drank from his glass of milk. He put a bag of frozen peas on his head and we both laughed and then felt bad for laughing. My mother left the kitchen and opened the door to the garage where my dad's car was missing. She looked at me hard for 15 or 20 seconds. Then I nodded and she left the room instantly. Kolya started to put the food back where it belonged and I sat still and listened to our mother play her violin, Norwegian Wood and I am a Rock and Penny Lane.
Reed:Â Excellent. Dean Bakopoulos reading Please Don't Come Back from the Moon. That scene, that mother just having been at points where you just keep doing things to avoid having to confront what you fear is inevitable.
Bakopoulos:Â Yeah. I'm very interested in the moments that my characters and people in general, the people I know, the moments we hang in, the moments we're afraid to move on from because we know the consequences of doing so, what we're going to have to look at, and it's one of those things where your characters decide to do it almost on their own. It sounds sort of mystical but frankly when I was writing that scene I didn't quite know where it was going but I could not get those characters to leave that scene. I could not get them to acknowledge what was happening and so I just as a writer started to have the mother unload the entire contents of the Smolij family fridge and pantry onto the table and realized that that was absolutely the sort of thing to do. They're at an emotional stalemate. They've been paralyzed by what has occurred.
Reed:Â There is a lot of moments of stalemate that happen in the book and there is the tension between the town of Maple Rock and Ann Arbor, which is close by, and Mikey and his cousin, Nick particularly, go to Ann Arbor a lot and there is really that town-gown separation that goes on there.Â Â
Bakopoulos: I think, you know, if you grow up in southeast Michigan like I did Ann Arbor for a lot of us, especially those of us with bookish leanings or- or artistic leanings, becomes a sort of Mecca. Now there's a- uh.. a really rich uh.. artistic culture flourishing in Detroit but at the time and the book is set in the early '90s--I don't think it was really on the map as much. And Ann Arbor seemed this incredibly sophisticated place to me growing up and it does to Mikey and Nick in the book. It becomes a place of refuge, a place that is absolutely different than Maple Rock. The concerns of the people who live in Ann Arbor, at least the most visible people who live in Ann Arbor, are much different than the concerns of the people in Maple Rock, and there's a sort of escapism. I've always felt in college towns, living in one now in Ames, Iowa, where I live now, I've lived in Madison, I've lived in Ann Arbor, I've always been in this- this feeling where I love it but eventually I grow tired of it because I feel like I'm living somewhere that's not quite in tune with reality. And at first that's blissful and then it starts to wear on me.
Reed:Â Well, they're towns of possibility.
Bakopoulos:Â It's true, and my second novel, which is called My American Unhappiness and it's very much about the possibility of a college town. It's set in Madison, Wisconsin.
Reed:Â Right. It's the possibility but not the realization so it's easy to see why that would be seductive at first and then will become a little tiring.
Bakopoulos:Â One thing I find fascinating about college towns is you meet people that are doing interesting things and eight years later they're still doing the same thing and haven't quite wrapped it up yet, and there's their PhD theses or their novels or their documentary films, and I love people involved in that sort of struggle. They're fun to be around, they're fun to have dinner with, they're fun to be friends and neighbors with, but it also k- sort of for me as a novelist who has a very working class approach to my writing uh.. it's sometimes hard because I want to shake people and say, "You got to finish it. You got to get this book done and you've got to- you've got to move on."Â So it's an interesting place to live. I--Â I got to say that they are one of my favorite sort of places to be.
Reed:Â You know, the other thing, Dean, I really appreciated about the book that you just don't see very often is the male friendships that are really profound. These guys connect to one another. They are really friends. They're there for one another. It doesn't feel they don't make each other nuts at times --
Reed:Â --but they're friends and you don't see a lot of guys who are friends in books.
Bakopoulos:Â Yeah. I think that's true. Male friendship is not explored as well. I mean some of the great male friendship books are the young adult novels that S.E. Hinton in the old Outsiders and That was Then, This is Now and Rumble Fish, these great books that became movies in the '80s or be- earlier even that I just loved as a kid when I got a hold of those S.E. Hinton novels, but you know, this book is rooted in reality and I'm still in touch with five high school friends. I don't see them or communicate as much as I'd like to but when we get together we- it's like we never left, and I- I realize how special that is. You know, my wife told me like "That's rare. You don't see that, you know, five people who have been friends since they were 12 are still that tight."Â And I have college friends like that. In the town I live in- lived in for a while of Mineral Point I had a group of friends like that. Friendships, I've been blessed by those my whole life and have had a lot of interesting people come in to my life and I try to nurture that, but nothing is-- Stephen King said something about friendship at 16; you'll never have friends like that again. I think that's especially true with boys. There is a certain scariness of coming in to the world and realizing how tough of a place it can be on men and you've got your troops; you've got your boys with you. You feel a little bit more powerful at 16 if you have that and it's hard to break those bonds. You know, I take great reassurance that those guys are out there if I need 'em. <laughs> It sounds sort of like the mob but it is this sort of feeling that I know I could call on them and have them there. And I think Mikey and Nick and Tom in the book exemplify that and certainly the minor characters in this book are inspired by real life friends.
Reed:Â How autobiographical is this book?
Bakopoulos:Â You know, there's a lot of elements in there; there's a lot of details that are autobiographical. I like to say it's an emotionally true book. Much of it's made up. Certainly, Mikey has more adventures with women than I ever had as a young man. I think he- he sort of has this gift for attracting people to him because he has this longing in him as a character. But most of the book is derivative from the experiences, the places, the people I knew but I wanted to infuse it with something more and I wanted to at one level protect the identity of certain people and protect some of my family's own stories. On another level I feel you can really get into things you are passionate talking about when you stray from the script of reality, when you decide to say, "This is what really happened but the story is something deeper and to make this story metaphorical, to make it something that appeals to more than the people in your social circle and the people that know you, you sometimes have to fictionalize and- and add an element of myth. When I teach writing I talk about making your personal story an epic story. I think that is the key for first novels, to figure out the way to take your personal story, your personal hurts, wounds, memories, joys, and to make them epic and to tell a story that feels epic so that when readers pick it up they feel hey, this is something; this is part of a myth as Americans and I want to be part of this.
Reed:Â Why do you think we're at this I think kind of a loony point of people claiming memoirs that in fact are fictionalized. Why not call it a novel and be done with it?
Bakopoulos:Â I don't know. I don't quite understand it though I do think- I have friends like this and I think it's something we all can fall prey to. You sometimes have a self-image of yourself that you start to believe. I think some of these people really are delusional and they start to convince them self that this is really their storyâ¦
Reed:Â You're generous.
Bakopoulos:Â <laughs>--Â And some of them are- are crooks; they're shysters who decided that they would be more of a celebrity, and part of this is the celebrity culture, the reality TV culture. I mean when people like Jessica Simpson and John and Kate Plus Eight, these people, can be celebrities writers- young writers see that and say, "What can I bare of my private life that will make a star?" and they decide that well, I don't really have anything but I'm a good writer and I can probably create a persona that could make me famous as far as any literary author gonna be famous, but it's some delusion, it's some crookedness, and it's this- really at its core is this desire to be a celebrity like other public figures are uhm.. but that's not the writer's job. The writer's job is to let the books speak for themselves eventually.
Reed:Â When did you start writing?
Bakopoulos:Â I've always done it. I will say that I've done it- did it badly for a long time. I wouldn't think that any of my high school teachers would have thought I would be a novelist. I wrote bad poetry about girls who broke up with me, you know, this average teenage angst-ridden poetry. It was in college at the University of Michigan where I really sort of started to do this seriously and decided that this is what I wanted to do, and I sort of made that announcement to my family that I was gonna be a novelist and that- when they asked me what my backup plan was I didn't really have one, which I think terrified both of my parents, but they were fairly supportive. They were skeptical but I tell my students now. Some of them want to be writers and it's sometimes I meet their parents or get an e-mail from their parents or they're very worried about these kids who want to grow up and be creative writers as a career. And I tell them, you know, "This is a really freeing time in American culture because there is- there are unemployed engineers; there are unemployed scientists; there are unemployed computer specialists. You might as well be unemployed 'cause you tried to do what you loved and it didn't work out rather than be unemployed from a job you never really wanted in the first place."Â So I tell my students, you know, "Go for what you think you want to do. If it doesn't work and you don't have a job, you're no different- it's no different to be an unemployed writer than it is to be an unemployed engineer." You need a plan B at that point but if you, you know, are good and you have some talent and more importantly you have the drive I tell my students to go for it.
Reed:Â How did you move to writing full time?Â How were you able to make that happen?
Bakopoulos:Â Well, I did it for a while and it was not easy, especially the cost of health insurance. 2006 I got a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, which gave me a little cushion to start working in earnest on my second novel, which I was able to sell on a partial, a small portion of the manuscript, about 20 pages. I got a little advance from my publisher, Harcourt. I got an NEA fellowship and then just when all hope started to be lost where I was living in a little town called Mineral Point, Wisconsin, which I loved, but I was pretty much out of money again I got a Guggenheim fellowship. So that coupled with foreign sales film rights, a few magazine pieces. You know, I'm not picky about paid work so I've I've written for Men's Health and for Real Simple and the New York Times and whoever else wants me to write I will write for them but in all honesty the health insurance became almost impossible and this is a struggle that many working class families have right now in Michigan and something that I struggled with as a self-employed writer. It was over a thousand a month to insure my family of four and I was lucky enough to get a tenure track teaching job at Iowa State, which has been just a wonderful place for my family to have a father who can bring home the bacon but also spend time dreaming up stories. And I feel so lucky to be doing this in comparison with my grandfather who paid for much of my education who went to a factory and put dashboards in Mustangs for 30 years. You know, I am under no delusion that when- even when I have the struggles that any writer has financially I'm still in an incredibly lucky position.
Reed:Â You've worked for CBS News.
Bakopoulos:Â Uh huh.
Reed:Â You were one of the writers for the 24-hour news service.
Reed:Â Tell me how that's helped your writing or not.
Bakopoulos: It did help my writing in the sense that it taught me how to convey a lot of information quickly and I see one of the problems a lot of beginning writers have is not knowing what sort of back story to leave in and what to leave out and when to give details and when t- background information has to be in there. And when you're writing 30- to 60-second stories eight sentences is the maximum you get to give to the anchor and you're cranking those out at the rate of ten to thirty an hour depending on how busy a news day it is you learn pretty quick to write fast and to see what's important and not to spend a lot of time in expository writing. And so one of the best compliments I get from readers is that they couldn't put it down; it read quickly. I don't see that as an insult at all. I mean I love short novels. I love novels that move. Every so often I'll do a Tolstoy War and Peace but in general I like my novels to move at a pace that is exciting so I think I learned of how to pace a narrative from radio.Â
Reed:Â Yeah. I picked the book up and I read it in one day and I was happy to have spent the day doing that.
Bakopoulos:Â I hear that a lot. I like one-day books. I love that feeling. It also fits most people's life to be honest. People are used to juggling multiple jobs and multiple responsibilities and multiple things on the home front and sometimes you get a day off to read and you just want a book that feels complete and that you can get through it in a rainy day on the couch.
Reed: You just came back from L.A. You've been going back and forth a lot. What's going on out there?
Bakopoulos:Â Well, Lions Gate Studios television division has optioned Please Don't Come Back from the Moon based on a television pilot that I co-wrote with a filmmaker named Julian Goldberger and we are in the process of developing the show. We'll be taking it out to network shortly but it's been a real interesting education there too. I have actually enjoyed the work much more than I thought I would. In a lot of novels we go out to Hollywood with dreams of making a lot of money in TV, thinking it's gonna be selling out, but TV has become remarkably sophisticated with shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad and Six Feet Under, shows with real characters and real narrative art, and it's a challenge to write. A good TV writer has to needs all the same tricks a good novelist has.
Reed:Â Well, the other thing is that I would think the collaborative nature is a real contrast to the solitariness that you have in creating a novel, but of course the control you have over in creating a novel is much more encompassing than you would inâ¦
Bakopoulos:Â You have a lot of control with a novel. Your editor comes in uh.. pretty late in the process. With television it's more collaborative. You've got your writing partner, usually a couple producers in the mix early, other producers later. Sometimes your agent gives you notes so you get a lot of notes they call 'em up there, and you get notes on your writing. I've seen so far a pretty light touch from everybody I've worked with and I- I've been able to control things at this point. That'll probably change. The collaborative nature of TV though has been really fun because it's based on my first book, and so to see what other people interpret the people and places of Maple Rock, Michigan, this place I conveyed, is exciting, and frankly the audience. You know, my book did well for a first novel but it's still a pretty small slice of the public knowing anything about this story or who I am or anything like that. You can really tell a story on TV and reach a lot of people and I think that it's exciting for a writer to have an audience just like it would be exciting for a musician or a dancer or a visual artist to have a big audience. So there is some vanity in that you think I worked really hard on creating this talent and I would like it to be in several million homes on Thursday nights, <laughs> you know.
Reed:Â The title, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon, where did it come from?
Bakopoulos: It's a Charles Mingus jazz song, one of his less known ones. He was a great jazz bassist and composer and I got into him in college. It just seemed the thing to do to move to Ann Arbor and get into jazz and but I was more struck by his titles than his music. I mean I love his music but I'm not really a jazz geek in this classic sense of a guy who knows everything Mingus ever did, but his titles were so evocative. And that one stuck with me because I remember seeing it and thinking okay, if someone was on the moon what could possibly be the circumstance that you would not want that person to come back from the moon, and I loved the sense of false bravado I felt in the title, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon. These boys have lost their father. It's explained as the fathers have gone to the moon and they are saying, "You know what. We're fine. We're doing this without you. Just stay away" and they say that throughout much of the book but deep down there's also this- this real longing. The abdication of fatherhood has- has really racked this community and made it suffer and the boys have this real sense that they're doing fine, but underneath that title, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon, you could drop the "Don't" at certain moments in the book. You know that that's probably at the core of some of these boys' thinking.
Reed:Â Okay, and you listen to music while you write?
Bakopoulos:Â Uh huh. Uhm.. It depend--Â You know, uh.. with this book I did all sorts of different music. It's uh.. uh..--Â It goes across the board. I love listening to Bruce Springsteen when I write about Maple Rock because I think uhm.. uh.. one of the best compliments I ever received was from a- a music scholar who compared my novel to a Springsteen song and I thought well, if I can do that in a novel I've made it because that is- he's one of my favorite songwriters. I listen to a lot of real kind of sad Indie rock, Sufjan Stevens who's written a lot of songs about Detroit, uhm.. and uhm.. Sun Kil Moon, a project of Mark Kolezek who's got a lot of songs about the Rust Belt, about Ohio and Michigan. So I try to use the music to sort of evoke the places I'm trying to write about uhm.. and then there's some songs that just- that make me feel like writing. Uh.. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds CD just has been really one of those things where I hear the- the music and it doesn't seem like literary music to some people, but when you dig into the lyrics on that uh.. Pet Sounds CD the- the most famous song on there is probably God Only Knows What I'd Be Without You and you could really read that song two ways. There's a complexity to that uhm.. that it's k- it's kind of a compliment to the person he's singing about and it's kind of uh.. an admonition or a sort of uh.. uh.. a sense that this relationship has doomed him in some way and there's a beautiful complexity of lyrics. Uh.. I would have uh.. definitely preferred to have been a rock star uhm.. but my gifts weren't there. <laughs>
Reed:Â Dean Bakopoulos, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Bakopoulos:Â Thank you.
Reed:Â That was novelist and 2006 NEA Fellow Dean Bakopoulos talking about his first novel, Please Don't Come Back From The Moon. His second novel My American Unhappiness comes out in paperback on July 3.
You've been listening to Artworks produced at the National Endowment for the Arts. Adam Kampe is the musical supervisor.
Excerpt from "Gentle Moon" written by Mark Kozelek, performed by Sun Kil Moon, from his cd, Ghosts of the Great Highway, used courtesy of Jet Set Records.
Excerpt from "Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen performed live at the 2010 Words and Music Festival at Fairleigh Dickinson University, used courtesy of Jon Landau Management and the Words and Music Festival.
Special thanks to Amy Stolls.
The Art Works podcast is posted every Thursday at www.arts.gov. And now you subscribe to Art Works at iTunes U -- just click on the iTunes link on our podcast page.
Next week, bluegrass mandolin player and Klezmer clarinetist, Andy Statman.
To find out how art works in communities across the country, keep checking the Art Works blog, or follow us @NEAARTS on Twitter.
For the National Endowment for the Arts, I'm Josephine Reed. Thanks for listening.
ADDITIONAL MUSIC CREDIT:
"Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen. Copyright Â© 1978 Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP). Reprinted by permission. International copyright secured. All rights reserved.
Dean Bakopoulos discusses his first novel about fathers and sons in middle America's working class. [30:40]