The New York Public Library Podcast

The New York Public Library Podcast

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Join The New York Public Library and your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers for smart talks and provocative conversations from the nation’s cultural capital.

Episodes

Sarah Sze on Scale, Gravity, and Value  

Sarah Sze is an internationally acclaimed artist, whose signature visual language challenges the static nature of sculpture and questions the value society places on objects. She joined NYPL's Paul Holdengraber this spring for a conversation spanning her body of work and what it says about space, architecture, art, and most importantly, how humans relate to all three.

Robbie Robertson on Six Nations Inspiration, Bob Dylan, and Goals of the Soul  

This week we’re bringing you a conversation with songwriter and guitarist Robbie Robertson. As an original member of the seminal music group the Band, Robertson has helped shape American music and culture profoundly. He’s joined by Stevie Van Zandt of the E Street Band for reflective conversation on the history of rock and roll and the way it continues to shape their lives.

Wole Soyinka on Hollywood, Reparations, and Morgan Freeman  

For this week’s episode we’re bringing you a conversation between two Nigerian authors whose works include plays, novels, poetry, essays and more. Chris Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics and our shared political responsibility. Wole Soyinka won of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 and has received accolades for his work in writing and advocating for human rights. The two recently sat down at the Library for a on the intersections between art, writing, activism, and politics.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Margo Jefferson on Understanding Uncle Tom's Cabin  

For this week’s episode, we’re bringing you a conversation between two public intellectuals who have contributed immensely to our understanding of history, literature, cultural criticism, and politics, Macarthur Fellow Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson. In 2006, Gates and Jefferson sat down at the Library for a special event on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin co-presented with The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Marina Abramović and Debbie Harry on Doubt and Diaries  

This week we’re joined by two legendary women from very different artistic backgrounds, performance artist Marina Abramović and rock singer Debbie Harry of Blondie. The two share stories and insights from their lives and art as they discuss Abramovic’s new memoir, Walk Through Walls.

Tim Wu on How the Internet Is Not Really Free  

This week, we’re bringing you a conversation with author and policy advisor Tim Wu. In his new book The Attention Merchants, Wu makes the case truly paying attention is both incredibly rare and incredibly valuable. He’s joined in conversation by conversation by writer, documentarian, and Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens, Douglas Rushkoff.

Margaret Atwood on Shakespeare in the 21st Century and on YouTube  

Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, Margaret Atwood retells one of his most beloved plays, The Tempest, with a dark and fantastical interpretation in her new book, Hag-Seed. This week on the podcast, Atwood is joined in conversation by celebrated actress Fiona Shaw for a discussion of the Bard and his influence on their work.

Mona Eltahawy and Yasmine El Rashidi on White Feminism and the Privilege to Protest  

The original Antigone may be from antiquity, but our current era abounds with women fighting unabashedly for what they believe. This week on the podcast, we welcome journalist, feminist, and author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, Mony Eltahawy. As you’ll hear is a force to be reckoned with and an embodiment of this spirit. She is joined by yet another fierce and powerful author and journalist, Yasmine El Rashidi.

Sally Mann on Cy Twombly and the Babushkas Who Saved Russian Art  

Perhaps the most permanent - and essential - character in Sally Mann’s work is that of place: the American South. Her home of Lexington, VA is not just the set for her most powerful work; it is also the place where she met fellow artist and friend, Cy Twombly. The photographs from her new book, Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington, are featured in an exhibition at Gagosian Gallery; and she had many stories to tell when she sat down for a conversation NYPL’s Paul Holdengräber.

Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky on Money and The Sickest Joke in the History of Humankind  

Yanis Varoufakis considers himself a politician by necessity, not by choice. An economist and academic by training, he became Greece’s finance minister amidst the country's financial crisis, creating an image for himself both beloved and reviled. He came to the Library last April to discuss this complicated role and his recent book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future. He was joined in conversation by renowned academic and theorist Noam Chomsky.

Alan Cumming on Memory, Gore Vidal, and Monica Lewinsky  

He enthralls audiences with his colorful roles, but Alan Cumming’s real-life adventures pack just as much punch. This week we’re bringing you the first event from our Fall LIVE series as Paul Holdengräber and the award-winning actor in a conversation as whimsical and mischievous as Cumming’s new book of photographs and essays, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures.

Edwidge Danticat on Silence, Bridging Audiences, and Participating in Stories  

This week, we’re going back into the archives to bring you a conversation with Hatian-American novelist and short story writer Edwidge Danticat. When she came the Library in 2010, she discussed her book CREATE DANGEROUSLY: The Immigrant Artist at Work with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber. Their conversation covered central questions of her book including what it means to be an immigrant and an artist, and to bo be working out of one’s homeland.

Werner Herzog on Death, Executioners, and Advice for Filmmakers  

This week, we celebrate legendary film director Werner Herzog’s birthday with a thrilling conversation from the archives. In 2012, Herzog came to the Library to discuss his most recent film, “Into the Abyss,” as well as his four-part television series, “Death Row.” In this conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, Herzog talks about crime, human nature, and why he stands so firmly against capital punishment.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walter Mosley on Empire, English, and Beethoven  

On this week’s podcast, we welcome basketball legend, activist, and bestselling author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who came to the Library this summer for a conversation with his hero, critically acclaimed author Walter Mosley. In this thought-provoking conversation, Abdul-Jabbar and Mosley talk about fiction, racial injustice, and the nature of truth.

Maggie Nelson & Wayne Koestenbaum on Clarity & Cruelty  

Bestselling author Maggie Nelson's latest book, “The Argonauts,” received the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. In this conversation with poet and critic Wayne Koestenbaum, Nelson talks about justice, empathy, and the nature of grief.

Colson Whitehead on "The Underground Railroad" & Poker  

Macarthur Award-winning author Colson Whitehead's latest book, “The Underground Railroad,” was released August 2nd to widespread critical acclaim and recently named an Oprah’s Book Club Pick. The author, a former fellow at NYPL’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, came to the Library in 2015 to discuss his book “The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death,” which chronicles his experience as an amateur card player trying his hand at the World Series of Poker. In this conversation with NYPL’s Jessica Strand, Whitehead talks about what he learned about the human condition in Las Vegas—and discusses the early stages of writing what would become this year’s hit, “The Underground Railroad.”

Kevin Young & Gabrielle Hamilton on Food & Poetry  

Award-winning poet Kevin Young will be joining the NYPL family this fall as the new director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He came to the Library last November for a talk with chef and writer Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of the acclaimed New York City restaurant Prune and author of the memoir “Blood, Bones, & Butter.” In this wide-ranging conversation, co-presented by The Academy of American Poets, Young and Hamilton talk about food, verse, and the links between sense and memory.

Siddhartha Mukherjee on Genetics & Storytelling  

Renowned cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee came to the Library this spring to discuss his new book “The Gene: An Intimate History,” a fascinating examination of our understanding of human heredity and its influence on our personalities, fates, and choices. In this conversation with “The New Yorker” editor David Remnick, Mukherjee talks about medicine, writing, and the links between biology and personal narrative.

Laurie Anderson on Melville, Opera, and Mystery  

Writer, artist and vocalist Laurie Anderson, one of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers, came to the Library this spring to discuss her life and work. In this conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, Anderson talks about art, inspiration, and trusting the physical.

Derek Walcott on Hemingway, the Caribbean, & First Love  

We’re celebrating Ernest Hemingway’s birthday with an event from the archives. Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott gives us a new appreciation of Hemingway as a great and influential Caribbean writer, discussing Hemingway's influence on his writing, and paying tribute to him with readings of his own poems.

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