Interviews By Topic

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

The Illustrated London News's illustration of the Christmas Truce

In 1914, over the week leading up to Christmas day, the opposing troops sang carols to each other, played ball and exchanged gifts, in spite of their generals’ wishes. Historian Stanley Weintraub says that the Christmas Truce was a one-time-only event.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

"The Tradition" book cover design by Phil Kovacevich and art by Ralphi Burgess. (Copper Canyon Press)

Jericho Brown is an award-winning poet who has been working with religious language for a long time. His poems have titles like "1 Corinthians 13:11" and "Hebrews 13." His book "The Tradition" continues to mine Brown's childhood in the church.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

sky

Magician Nate Staniforth has a dangerous idea for you. Tonight, after dark, go outside and look up to the sky.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

empty Broncos stadium

There's never been a year in sports quite like 2020. Sportswriter Kurt Streeter spoke to "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" executive producer Steve Paulson about how a pandemic and a presidential election have turned the entire world of sports upside-down.More

microphones

Starting in 2013, former Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshwan Lynch refused to speak in post-game press conferences, a public form of resistance against exploitation and racial bias in the sports industry. Writer David Shields has just released a documentary him.More

basketball hoop

On Native American reservations, high school basketball is huge. They have developed a fast-paced style of play called “rez ball.” New York Times reporter Michael Powell spent a season covering the team from Chinle High School in the Navajo Nation.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

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