NPR Staff

Pages

Author Interviews
5:15 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

At 86, Poet Donald Hall Writes On, But Leaves Verse Behind

Donald Hall is a former U.S. poet laureate and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2010.
Linda Kunhardt Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 5:36 pm

At 86 years old, the poet Donald Hall can no longer write poetry. Not enough testosterone, he says. But the former U.S. Poet Laureate and recipient of the National Medal of Arts still has prose in him: He has just published a collection titled Essays After 80.

The book spans Hall's entire career, his family life, his addiction to smoking and his thoughts on his own beard.

Read more
Author Interviews
7:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

First-Generation 'Boston Girl' Becomes Career Woman In Diamant's Latest

cover crop
Scribner

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 11:51 am

Anita Diamant's new novel Boston Girl begins with a question: a granddaughter asks her grandmother, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"

Addie Baum was "the other one"-- an afterthought — the youngest of three sisters, born in 1900 in Boston's North End to Jewish immigrant parents. It was a time when most women didn't finish school, couldn't vote, and worked at low-level jobs just until they were married, to men they likely didn't choose for themselves.

Read more
Movie Interviews
7:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

From Chic Manhattanite To 'Monk With A Camera'

Before becoming a monk, Nicky Vreeland apprenticed with the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
Asphalt Stars

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 11:51 am

When we first see Nicky Vreeland in the new film Monk with a Camera, he's a middle-aged man in a burgundy robe and with a shaved head. In other words, he's a Buddhist monk — the abbot of Rato Dratsang, one of the Dalai Lama's monasteries, and director of The Tibetan Center in New York City.

But as Vreeland maneuvers through his present, we get glimpses of his past as the grandson of fashion icon Diana Vreeland. Once upon a time, he was a chic, young Manhattanite who hobnobbed in posh zip codes and apprenticed with the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

Read more
Code Switch
4:23 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Chris Rock On Standup, Sellouts And Defining Success

Chris Rock talked with Audie Cornish from NPR's New York bureau.
Brian McCabe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:34 pm

Quick: Can you name your top five favorite singers? What about authors? And comedians? Chris Rock plays this game in his new movie, Top Five. The film, which Rock wrote, directed and stars in, tells the story of Andre Allen, a marquee comedian who has abandoned his standup roots for blockbuster film glory.

"He's languishing," Rock tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "He's not as edgy as he once was. He's kind of watered down; he's kind of sold out."

Read more
Code Switch
3:33 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 7:50 am

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

Read more
StoryCorps
3:29 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:07 pm

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

Read more
Politics
4:28 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

For Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Aiding Children With Disabilities Is Personal

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was a lead sponsor of a bill that would allow special savings accounts for people with disabilities. She spoke about her son Cole, who has Down syndrome, on the House floor.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 7:03 pm

The Achieving A Better Life Experience — ABLE — Act, which faced a House vote this week, hit close to home for Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. "For me personally, this bill is about a little boy who was diagnosed with Down syndrome three days after he was born. His diagnosis came with a list of future complications," she said on the House floor.

Read more
Music Interviews
6:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 6:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

Read more
Around the Nation
10:33 am
Sun November 30, 2014

After Wrongful Conviction, Three Lifetimes Spent With Hope In Check

Kwame Ajamu grabs his brother Wiley Bridgeman's beard after his release in a gesture that dates from their boyhood.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:31 pm

The year was 1975. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese as American troops and civilians were forced to evacuate the country. Ronald Reagan entered the presidential race against Gerald Ford. A show called Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC.

And Ricky Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and Bridgeman's younger brother, Ronnie, were charged with the murder of an Ohio salesman. Jackson was 18, Ronnie Bridgeman was 17 and Wiley Bridgeman was 20.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:57 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

Backstage With Janis Joplin: Doubts, Drugs And Compassion

Janis Joplin
Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 1:08 pm

Janis Joplin felt a sense of outsider isolation throughout her life. She once said, "On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people. Then I go home alone."

But she wasn't alone — she had John Byrne Cooke.

Cooke was Janis Joplin's first and only road manager, from 1967 until her death from a heroin overdose in 1970. He was the one who found her body. In a new memoir, On the Road With Janis Joplin, he details the electrifying performances — and the drugs — that marked Joplin's tours.

Read more

Pages