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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday, April 24 - Monica Wesolowska

Tonight at 8 PM on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern CaliforniaMONICA WESOLOWSKA. The personal and ethical challenges of making life and death decisions typically come at the end - for old people, adults - but in the story told by my guest this week, a mother is forced to decide when and how to allow her profoundly damaged newborn to die.  With alternately too much to guide her or, finally, too little, a loving and thoughtful woman – importantly, a writer - chooses to embrace fully the experience of  this decision at every opportunity.  My guest this week is Monica Wesolowska, author of Holding Silvan:  A Brief Life.  In parts a personal memoir and a layperson’s guide to the complicated and confusing decision-making that all of us trust we’ll never have to face, Wesolowska shares with honesty and careful prose the bitterness, anger, hurt and joy of the short living and long dying of her baby boy Silvan.  There is her alienation from and then immersion in this process.  There is the theater of weird rules and variables, medical and legal.  There is learning the awkward language required to participate.  There is the fear of losing a marriage, relationships, all in the context of what she calls, ironically, loving her son to death.  Celebrated with an introduction by Erica Jong and incredible blurbs from an all-star lineup of writer fans,  long-time writer and teacher Monica Wesolowska has done, finally, what writers do with the material given them, as it were, and produced an instant classic on a topic she has turned into art and insight and elegant, generous, brave prose.  Thanks for listening on the radio, online or as a free download from the KPFK archives.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wednesday, April 17 - It's Julia Sweeney

Wednesday night at 8 on Bibliocracy, KPFK Radio 90.7 FM:  JULIA SWEENEY.
Despite never having never met her until today, my guest’s voice is, for me and my family, so very familiar and welcome, from listening over and over again to the CD of her one-woman performance “Letting Go of God,” as well as “familiar” in the sense of her disarmingly funny, intellectually honest take - as in her newest offering - family.  Julia Sweeney needs no introduction, except to say that she has by way of this show and her literary production written some excellent work which flirts with popular culture and drama and still shows the skill of a serious, sincere memoirist.  She’s written Letting Go of God, In a Family Way and God Said Ha!, and is in town for this weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in support of a new collection of essays:  If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.  It’s 24 thematically linked short pieces about her own motherhood, about marriage and love and sadness from a writer and all-around engaged observer who is always figuring things out, funnily, wisely. This weekend is a terrific opportunity to hear her talk about and read from her newest work.  She appears on Bibliocracy tonight and on the Los Angeles Times Stage on Saturday, April 20 at 1:20 at the Festival of Books.  Come by the KPFK tent (#210), and watch Bibliocracy Radio and Ian Masters’ “Background Briefing” live on air Sunday morning, 10-12.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 10 - Victoria Patterson reads!

On Bibliocracy at 8 PM on 90.7 FM KPFK Radio, VICTORIA PATTERSON.  Tonight a special program in an occasional series of performance editions of the show, part of my continuing effort to present and collect work by area Southern California writers of short fiction I admire, on the only place on the radio – KPFK – where you will hear contemporary writing read.  So, tonight, reading a complete short story in one sitting, Victoria Patterson.  Patterson is author of a remarkable breakthrough collection called Drift and the politically searing and sociologically tragic-comic novel This Vacant Paradise, and an upcoming book, The Peerless Four out in fall 2013.  Tonight she reads her short story “Dogs” for you.  For more on Victoria Patterson:  Thanks for listening on the radio, or online.  Or as a free download from the station’s archives.  See you at the LA Times Festival of Books April 20 & 21.  Find me at the KPFK tent or the Santa Monica Review booth.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday, April 3 - We Have Not Been Moved

Tonight at 8 PM on Bibliocracy, on KPFK 90.7 FM:  We Have Not Been Moved. My guest today is, no surprise, an activist, as reflects this show’s commitments, affections and tastes.  But he is also a variety of cultural critic and compiler of commitments by way of education, peace and justice, solidarity and anti-racism work.  So no surprise that Matt Meyer, longtime War Resisters League organizer, and a fellow with a peace and justice CV as long as your arm, is also now an editor, lately of an essential anthology of writing about one of his – and our – favorite topics.  The good folks at PM press along with the War Resisters League, have published a major compilation of essays, speeches, documents, poems and more in We Have Not Been Moved:  Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America.  Co-edited with Betita Martinez and Mandy Carter, with a foreword by Cornel West and contributions from everybody who’s, well, anybody, this reader on war and racism not only charts the struggle but points to strategies for, as the editors put it, “radical transformation through revolutionary nonviolence.” Contributors include the authors of classic historic texts (Audre Lorde, David Dellinger, Dr. King) and more recent thinkers and doers, as Fred Ho, David McReynolds and Starhawk.  Check out this blurb, from a reader and fan whose critique you might esteem:  “When we sang out ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ in Montgomery and Selma, we were committed to our unshakeable unity against segregation and violence. This important book continues in that struggle—suggesting ways in which we need to do better, and actions we must take against war and continued racism today. If the human race is still here in 2111, the War Resisters League will be one of the reasons why!” —Pete Seeger.

This is a must-read, must-own anthology.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or as a free download from the station’s archives.