Interviews By Topic

"The Chronology of Water" by Lidia Yuknavitch

Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections of essays, the most recent being "The Wrong Way To Save Your Life." She tells the story of how she first crossed paths with "The Chronology of Water," Lidia Yuknavitch's award-winning memoir —the anti-memoir that broke new ground for speaking with candor about the joy and the pain of living.More

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker presents a Dangerous Idea: things today are actually better than they've ever been.More

Man along an unnamed road in Obafemi Owode, Nigeria.

Chigozie Obioma grew up in Nigeria — he’s a novelist and teaches at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He says that despite rampant corruption, poverty, and an HIV/AIDS crisis, Nigerians are definitely more optimistic than most. He explains why.More

Budding hope

Hope can seem saccharine. Bland. Trite. But talking about hope with Andre Willis, a philosopher of religion, might make you realize you're not thinking big enough when you think about what hope means.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

bright brain

How neuroscientist Tali Sharot accidentally stumbled on what’s known as “the optimism bias” — our hard-wired belief that our future will be better than our past or present.More

forest

Claire Peaslee is a naturalist who lives in Point Reyes, California, a place decimated by recent forest fires that sits literally on top of the San Andreas Fault. Yet she finds hope there through pilgrimage.More

Amanda Shires

While pregnant with her first child, Amanda Shires was playing fiddle on the road for her husband, the country superstar, Jason Isbell. Near the end of her pregnancy, touring got to be too much. So she stayed home, alone, for weeks… with nothing to do but write songs.More

 The Great Lakes mobile, by Melanie Ariens

Melanie Ariens has become known for her water-themed art, a focus of her combined loves of art and environmental activism. She uses mostly recycled materials to make art that makes people think about the Great Lakes, the rivers, and the water we drink.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental” — and it earned him the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

Water walkers

Since 2003, Grandma Josephine Mandamin led fellow Anishinaabe women on sacred “water walks” around Great Lakes. Fellow water walker, Siobhan Marks, tells her story.More

The Schlitz Bottling Floor, c. 1666.

Milwaukee has a reputation as America's "Brew City." But why? Historian Ben Barbera lays out the economic forces and acts of God that built the houses of Miller, Pabst and Schlitz.More

The first image of a black hole.

In The New York Times, Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan wrote, "Images from the Event Horizon Telescope have the potential to redefine the cosmos once again, and prompt wonder and curiosity about our place in it." Steve spoke with Natarajan about the search for invisible parts of the universe, dark matter, and the mind-boggling nature of black holes.More

The Len-Der, our boat for the Milwaukee River

Milwaukee historian John Gurda takes us on a boat ride down the Milwaukee River as we learn how the city nearly lost its river, and what Milwaukee is now doing to preserve it.More

Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

Sean Wilentz is a leading American historian and a proud liberal. Steve Paulson asked for his take on the new pink tint in Democratic politics.More

Margery Kempe was one of the world's most famous Christian mystics — a medieval pilgrim with a penchant for uncontrollable sobbing. More

An aerial shot of the Garden Homes neighborhood in Milwaukee.

Could socialism ever really take off in America? Half a century ago, socialists ruled a major American city — Milwaukee. Haleema Shah walks the streets of Wisconsin's biggest city to learn more about what socialist policy looked like on the ground.More

we are the 99 percent

Bernie Sanders may be the public face of American socialism, but if you really want to understand its exploding popularity, you need to understand its pull among millennials, explains Bhaskar Sunkara, the founder and editor of Jacobin magazine. ​​​​​More

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