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Headshot of a woman.
Courtesy of Jennifer Haigh

Novelist and NEA Literature Fellow

In Jennifer Haigh’s fifth novel Heat and Light, she returns to the fictional town of Bakerton, Pennsylvania: its prosperity withered with the closing of the coalmines. So when it’s learned that the area is rich in natural gas, many people are eager to sign over their mineral rights to energy companies. And the debate about fracking and all that it entails upends the community. Jennifer Haigh knows her subject well; she was raised in a former coal town that also sits on deposits of natural gas. In our conversation she talks about her hometown and how it’s become the basis for much of her writing, the pull of the past on the present and the legacy of North Appalachia’s geology.

Headshot of a woman.
Photo by Makita Wilbur

Poet Laureate of the US and NEA Big Read author

Joy Harjo (Muscogee/Creek) the Poet Laureate of the United States (and NEA Big Read author) joins me this week for a far-ranging conversation about poetry and music. We talk about—and she reads poems from—her most recent collection An American Sunrise. She talks about her family history on the Trail of Tears and how it led to An American Sunrise, her long deep relationship with the spirit of poetry, her equally long love of jazz and her commitment to honoring her poetic ancestors as well as her familial ones. It was a great conversation—she’s deeply thoughtful, engaging and funny. If you enjoy the interview half as much I did, you’ll love it.

NEA Jazz Masters logo
Image courtesy of the NEA

A Jazz Master Double Feature!

Two legends look at their careers in jazz.

Al Head
Photo by David Robertson, Jr.

2012 Bess Lomax Hawes Award Recipient

Arts Advocate Al Head discusses the profound impact of traditional arts on communities. [28:50]

Jimmy Heath
Photo by Tom Pich

2003 NEA Jazz Master

Saxophonist, composer and arranger Jimmy Heath talks about his storied career and some of the jazz greats he’s played with. [33:05]

Kerry Henderson
Photo courtesy the of Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice

Baritone, Executive Director of the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice

Kerry Henderson talks about co-creating a festival from scratch in a small mountain town with little money and a lot of help from friends and neighbors. [25:31]

Wayne Henderson
Photo by Tom Pich

Luthier, guitarist, and 1995 National Heritage Fellow

Wayne Henderson on his distinctive guitars and his distinctive sound.

Ed Herendeen
Photo: Contemporary American Theater Festival

Founder and Producing Director, Contemporary American Theater Festival Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Ed Herendeen talks about founding and sustaining a theater festival committed to supporting bold, daring new works for the stage. [18:27]

Felipe Herrera headshot.
Photo courtesy University of California-Riverside

U.S. Poet Laureate and NEA Literature Fellow

The new poet laureate of the United States and two-time NEA fellow calls for everyone's heart to speak out.

Head shot of Howard Herring

President and CEO of New World Symphony

Reimagining the presentation of classical music.

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