Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From 1984 until 2016, he was also the editor in chief of Southwest Review. He has written many books and essays about English and American poetry. For more than a quarter century he has been a regular contributor to the Leisure & Arts pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Drawing on more than six decades' worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Willard Spiegelman reflects with candid humor and sophistication on growing old.Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead.

  One Hudson Valley Congressman is trading politics for the classroom.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Chris Gibson — a Republican from the 19th district — continues his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock. 

Andrew Solomon will be at Oblong Books on 5/14.   (This interview names the incorrect date for the event.)

  Far and Away collects Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts—political, cultural, and spiritual.

Chronicling his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change.

  Carol Goodman is the critically acclaimed author of The Book of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water.

Her latest, River Road, is a psychological thriller about a college professor accused of killing her favorite student in a hit-and-run accident and the secrets that emerge as she desperately tries to clear her name. 

  Professor Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright and teacher. She was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, as well as the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

In her memoir, The Light of the World, she finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. She tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. She reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two sons.

  There are thousands of working dogs all over the US and beyond with incredible abilities—they can find missing people, detect drugs and bombs, pinpoint unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers, or even find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake.

These abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but Cat Warren shows the science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie these creatures’ amazing abilities.


  Marda Mustapha is a political science professor at The College of St. Rose who just returned from Sierra Leone to deliver food and supplies to his Ebola-stricken homeland.

He arrived in Sierra Leone in mid-December and found that the deadly virus had changed everything: Christmas celebrations were canceled, New Year’s celebrations had to end by 5 PM, weddings were subdued affairs, dead bodies lay in the streets – and everyone everywhere was suspicious of everyone else. He says Ebola had practically destroyed the foundation of the community.

Ebola isn’t much in the news these days, but the scourge isn’t over. In fact, after declining steadily, the number of new weekly cases rose last week for the first time this year. Dr. Marda Mustapha is an associate professor of political science at The College of Saint Rose, teaching courses in comparative politics. He is a native of Sierra Leone in West Africa, where his parents still live.

This week in our Ideas Matter segment, we feature MASS Humanities and are joined by Harley Erdman, Professor of Theater at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her new play, Nobody's Girl, will have its premiere at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA on October 17th and is based on real events that occurred at the Academy of Music in the early 1940s.

    Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York will host Connections 2014 featuring Prof. Joy Ladin at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany, NY on Thursday, May 15, at 6 p.m.

“Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders” will be the theme of Ladin’s presentation as she shares her Jewish journey through the transition process —not just of changing genders, but of creating a new self.

  Our series, Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities provides our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter. This morning we spotlight Service and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. Brian J. Purnell is the Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at Bowdoin College and he joins us to tell us more.

  Cat Warren is a professor and former journalist, with a somewhat unorthodox hobby. She works with a Cadaver dog- a dog that searches for missing and presumed dead people.

What started as a way to harness the energy of her unruly smart German Sheppard puppy Solo, soon became a passion for them both. She has written about the experience in the new book What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs.

    Ten years ago, James Lasdun, a poet and novelist, taught a fiction-writing workshop at a college in New York. One of his students was a young woman, "Nasreen," as he calls her in his new nonfiction book, Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked.

Lasdun will join us to discuss his strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of the student, a self-styled “verbal terrorist,” who began trying, in her words, to “ruin him.” It is a frightening tale that continues for Lasdun to this very day.

Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education is the first book to look at the schools that serve a growing population of “second-chancers,” exploring what higher education—in the fullest sense of the term—can offer our rapidly changing society.

We speak with Akhil Reed Amar about his new book, America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By.

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, and periodically serves as a visiting professor at Harvard, Columbia, and Pepperdine Law Schools.

From false stories about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to growing competition from online and twenty-four-hour cable news, the first decade of the twenty-first century was not particularly kind to the New York Times.

Michael Adams teaches English language and literature at Indiana University. He is the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon and editor of From Elvish to Klingon.