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Kaufelt-SQ

David A. Kaufelt

“I have a theory why we all live here—it’s called the Peter Pan theory. Freud said we’re at our most creative before we’re five years old. That’s where we are here. We wear shorts, we ride bicycles, we have the water, a great symbol of the unconscious, and we’re free to be children here and let our spirits go.”

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Showing KWLS Audio Archives from: sz

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George Saunders

George Saunders is a fiction writer and essayist noted for his acute sense of satire, outrageous humor, and keenly perceptive observations on contemporary life. In this talk, he recounts his coming of age as a writer and explains how he learned to stop aping his literary idols and begin making use o...

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Harvey Shapiro

The late Harvey Shapiro reads a selection of his poems as well as work by Richard Wilbur and Yiddish writer Joseph Rolnik. Shapiro discusses the impact of World War II on the ‘class of 1924’ and talks about his mentors Charles Reznikoff, Louis Zukofsky, and George Oppen.

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Charles Simic

Current U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic reads and comments upon his poems “White Room,” “Mirrors at 4 a.m.,” and “The Friends of Heraclitus.” From the 2003 Key West Literary Seminar. From KWLS 2003: The Beautiful Changes This recording is available for noncommerc...

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Lee Smith

Lee Smith gave the annual John Hersey Memorial Address to open the second session of the 2008 Seminar. In a talk that was both extremely funny and unexpectedly moving, Smith recounted her development as a writer when, as a young girl, she would write herself into Nancy Drew and Bobsie Twins adventur...

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Lee Smith

As a bonus track, we went back to Lee’s talk from the 2005 Seminar on Humor. Smith’s tale of her high school English class re-enactment of Huckleberry Finn and Jim’s journey down the Mississippi (in a raft of their own construction which they built in a lumber yard in Paducah, Kent...

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Steve Stern

Steve Stern spoke at the 2007 Seminar on January 14th, on the topic of “Memories of Amnesia: Jewish Folklore and the Mystery of Identity.” In Stern’s hands this was a funnier topic than the title might lead you to believe; he had them rolling in the aisles, leading one attendee to ...

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Mark Strand

Mark Strand (1934-2014) was born on Canada’s Prince Edward Island and raised in the United States. He was the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, for which he was awarded the prestigious Bollingen and Pulitzer Prizes, among other honors. Strand also translated the works of Brazilian ...

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Colm Tóibín

Irish novelist Colm Tóibín discusses Elizabeth Bishop and Thom Gunn. It is part of their achievement as poets, he argues, that 'Bishop and Gunn, in a confessional age, masked their grief with reason.' Includes close readings of Bishop's 'One Art,' 'Poem,' and 'North Haven' and Gunn's 'In Santa Mar...

James Tate

James Tate

James Tate, half stand-up comic, half great American poet, reads a selection from his work, including “Of Whom Am I Afraid,” “A Sound Like Distant Thunder,” “The Animists,” “The Rally,” “Silver Queen,” “The Rules,” and “Th...

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Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey reads a selection of poems including “Limen,” “Genus Narcissus,” “Myth,” “Miscegenation,” “Taxonomy,” and “Knowledge: After a Chalk Drawing by J.H. Hasselhorst, 1864.”

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Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth’s body of work is marked by scrupulous historical research and compelling narratives. In this recording from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Unsworth discusses the impulses, instincts, and concerns that drive his fascination with history. The often intimate discussion sugges...

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Barry Unsworth

In this recording of the 2009 John Hersey Memorial address, Barry Unsworth outlines his thoughts on the nature of truth in works of fiction. On the one hand, argues Unsworth, the novelist must strive for accuracy in relating the historical facts of a period. On the other hand, "the writer of fiction...

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Barry Unsworth

In this recording from the first session of the 2009 Seminar, Unsworth reads a passage from Land of Marvels, concerning Somerville, the British archeologist whose work on an ancient Assyrian site is threatened by a railroad being constructed by a German company, and Jehar, the financially-...

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Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) was one of America’s most distinct voices for more than half a century. The author of more than 20 novels, hundreds of essays, and several plays for screen and stage, Vidal was perhaps best known for the eloquent and witheringly sarcastic political commentary that made h...

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Wendy Wasserstein

Wendy Wasserstein was a Brooklyn-born playwright who achieved popular and critical acclaim on Broadway for works that chronicled the triumphs and travails of modern American women. Her plays included Uncommon Women and Others and The Heidi Chronicles, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

Edmund-White

Edmund White

Edmund White talks about finding a style and a mode of expression to approach the gay subject matter which has been his life’s work. Discussing social, professional, and aesthetic attitudes toward gays and “gay literature,” White reveals his experience as an emerging writer in the ...

Colson Whitehead at the Key West Literary Seminar

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is the acclaimed author of five books, including Zone One, a wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel in which zombies wander Manhattan. In this humorous talk from the 2012 seminar, Whitehead recalls early influences including Stephen King and Donna Summer, and his asp...

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Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur is among the singular poets of our time, the only living poet to have twice won the Pulitzer Prize, and a former Poet Laureate of the United States. In this recording from 2010, Wilbur reads more than two dozen poems and translations, many of which would be published by Harcourt that ...

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Richard Wilbur

In this recording from the 2003 Seminar, Wilbur reads and comments upon numerous poems, translations, lyrics, and light verse spanning his career. Wilbur begins the reading with two poems, "The Reader" and "Man Running," from the then-unpublished Collected Poems, 1943-2004, and continues wi...

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Richard Wilbur

The 1993 Key West Literary Seminar was devoted entirely to Elizabeth Bishop. A series of readings-in-tribute offered her fellow poets the opportunity to discuss Bishop and her influence. In this recording from the event, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Wilbur reads Bishop’s “Littl...

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Joy Williams

Joy Williams is the influential author of dozens of short stories and essays, which are collected in Taking Care (1982), Escapes (1990), Honored Guest (2004), and Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals (2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award f...

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

The great playwright Tennessee Williams produced this recording for the Key West Library in 1971. The fifteen-poem selection includes the never-published ‘The wayward flesh has made me wise…’ and provides a rare opportunity to hear the voice of an American master.

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Michael Wood

On Thursday, January 11th, 2007, Michael Wood delivered the annual John Hersey Memorial Address in a talk entitled “The Liberation of Macondo.” From KWLS 2007: Wondrous Strange This recording is available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights belong to the author. © 200...

C.D. Wright

C.D. Wright

C.D. Wright is the author of numerous collections of poetry and prose, including Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil (2005). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (twice), the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Bunting Institute, as well as Witter Bynner Prize for Poet...

Kevin Young

Kevin Young

This 2008 reading features poet Kevin Young reading a selection of then-recent work, including “Aunties,” “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” “Black Cat Blues,” “Hang Dog Blues,” “Flash Flood Blues,” “Ode To The Hotel Near The Children...

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Mary Kay Zuravleff

This podcast features a talk by the immensely charming Mary Kay Zuravleff from the morning of January 14th, 2007. We badly bungle the pronunciation of her name on the intro: we’re sorry, Mary Kay! From KWLS 2007: Wondrous Strange This recording is available for noncommercial and educational us...

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