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John Banville & Benjamin Black

“We have this illusion that we are unitary beings. We have the notion that there is a pilot light inside us that is one’s self. I don’t believe this is the case. We’re a collection of poses, of attitudes, of versions of ourselves. We make ourselves up as we go along. This is what makes life interesting.”

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Showing KWLS Audio Archives from: Shuffle

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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...

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...

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Geoff Dyer

In an interview with Christopher Lydon, Geoff Dyer argues that literary greatness should not be measured by the novel, but by marginal genres like essays, letters, and travel writing. The pursuit of truth in literature will succeed only when you ‘remain absolutely faithful to the vagaries of your ...

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Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon was born and raised in Northern Ireland and has lived in the United States since 1987. He is poetry editor for The New Yorker and the author of more than 10 collections of poems, including the 2002 Moy Sand and Gravel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the International Griffi...

Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz reads “Boyfriend,” a short story from his 1997 collection, Drown. I should’ve been careful with the weed. Most people it just fucks up. Me, it makes me sleepwalk. And wouldn’t you know I woke up in the hallway of our building feeling my head ...

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...

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem’s novels include Motherless Brooklyn and Chronic City and he is an authority on the works of sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick. At the 2012 seminar, he presented ‘The True and the Real,’ a ‘plate-spinning act’ exploring such disparate figures as writer Samuel D...

Mark Doty

Mark Doty

In this recording from the 2008 Seminar, National Book Award-winning poet Mark Doty reads a selection of work inspired by a previous visit to Key West in 1997, including a section from his 2007 memoir Dog Years, and the poems "Sea Grape Valentine," "Watermelon Soda," and "Catalina Macaw."....

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Manuel Muñoz

Elisabeth Scharlatt, publisher of Algonquin Books, and Manuel Muñoz, author of The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, discuss the hurdles and biases Muñoz encountered along his way to publication. Muñoz’s roots in California’s Central Valley and his concern with voicing the stories of the ...

James Merrill

James Merrill

This 1993 reading in tribute to Elizabeth Bishop reveals James Merrill’s significant gifts as a reader and interpreter of Bishop’s work, and suggests the depths of the influence he felt from the poet who “set standards for me as no other contemporary did.”

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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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Tina Chang

Tina Chang is the author of Half-Lit Houses and the co-editor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond. The New York native was appointed poet laureate of Brooklyn in 2010, and has previously earned honors including an award from the Academy of America...

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