Arts and Culture

A Zoom holiday is just one option for re-thinking how you celebrate this year.

Priya Parker challenges us to question why we have certain traditions, and to be open to creating new ones that fit this unusual holiday time.More

"The Dark Is Rising" by Susan Cooper

Every year, at holiday time, Macdonald reads this tale of a boy who finds out he's one of the "old ones," part of a series from author Susan Cooper. She says it reconnects her with a sense of wonder inspired by what might lurk beneath the surface of the seen world.More

Dafne Keene as Lyra Silvertongue on HBO's "His Dark Materials"

The return of HBO's adaptation of Philip Pullman's classic series "His Dark Materials" is the perfect time to dive into his new trilogy, "The Book of Dust." The tales of an older Lyra Belacqua probe more deeply into the central question of his earlier books: What is the nature of consciousness? More

Dæmon Pan and the alethiometer in HBO's adaptation of "His Dark Materials"

Philip Pullman, the celebrated English writer has just written a 630-page sequel brimming with contentious ideas about religious tyranny, the loss of imagination and the nature of consciousness — all in a book that’s marketed to children.More

Empty New York streets

In Lake Mills, Wisconsin, a retired school teacher named Kitty O'Meara wrote a short poem at lunch one day and posted it to friends on Facebook. A week later, it had been shared by Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and millions of other people.More

letters

Jimmy Santiago Baca was in a maximum security prison. He taught himself to read and fell in love with words. Today he’s a champion of the International Poetry Slam, and the author of multiple books of verse.More

Ken Nordine is the epitome of jazz poetry, nicknamed "the Voice." Best known for his "Word Jazz" series, this poem is one he did for a paint company. The paint company is long forgotten, but the poem lives on.More

Alice Walker

Hope is a complicated, even slippery, word. One that demands a poet’s voice. Here’s Alice Walker, reading her poem “Hope is a Woman Who Has Lost Her Fear.”More

Heart graphic

Poems can hold grief and mark loss. But what about love? Romantic love. Poet Li-Young Lee understands this completely. Because he’s in love.More

Site of Thoreau's Hut, Concord, Mass.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life." Those famous lines from Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" have inspired generations of people — including his biographer, Laura Dassow Walls.More

Andreas Weber in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany.

Andreas Weber is a German biologist and philosopher with a highly unconventional way of describing the natural world, one in which "love" is a foundational principle of biology.More

haunted grocery store

Dan Chaon’s collection of short stories, "Stay Awake," is horror. But horror in a way that many of us can relate to. It’s stories of people who are alive but feel like ghosts.More

demon lake

Listener Sophia Derbes sent us this ghost story about a boy, a girl and the divide between them.More

Digital projector

Eliza Smith is the lead producer of Snap Judgment's spin-off horror storytelling podcast called "Spooked." She tells Anne Strainchamps that horror stories help her manage and work through her anxiety.More

texting people in the dark

Could being digitized be a way for all of us to become immortal? Maybe, but not in a way we would particularly enjoy, as this story from listener Mark Pantoja illustrates.More

president ghost

A ghost story for the election season from listener Eric Van Vleet.More

neon brain

Writers are used to working in isolation. So how are they responding to the COVID-19 lockdown? Ilan Stavans has edited an anthology of international writing to consider the question. Stavans himself says the pandemic has liberated him as a writer.More

Teju Cole

Teju Cole grew up in Nigeria and then moved to U.S., joining millions of others in the African diaspora. He became an acclaimed novelist and photographer, and now celebrates the cosmopolitan culture of global cities, including Lagos and New York.More

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