More “Word Patriots” news to report. A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining Mark to discuss William Burroughs and his influence on my work. This week, poet, naturalist, and memoirist Diane Ackerman joined Mark to discuss her memoir One Hundred Names for Love, which concerns the stroke suffered by her husband, Paul West, the road to recovery, and the perserverence of their special relationships. More details and links follow.

Word Patriots – Desautels on Big Bad Bill Burroughs

photo of Ed Desautels
Ed Desautels, 2010
Among other things, Mark and I discuss the compositional techniques of William S. Burroughs, the author of Naked Lunch, The Adding Machine, Nova Express, and The Western Lands. We explore Burroughs’ influence on my work (in particular, my early efforts) and how I’ve employed a variation of Burroughs’ famous cut-up and fold-in technique. We also touch on Burroughs’ polyvocal approach, his innate talent for rendering vocal impersonations in narratives, the feeling of timelessness in his later work, his great stage presence and whether authors should write with performance in mind.
Diane Ackerman
Word Patriots – Diane Ackerman’s One Hundred Names For Love
Mark’s guest is the noted poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman, the author of over two-dozen books of poetry and non-fiction. Many know her as the author of the best-selling A Natural History of the Senses. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by that work. Her poetry, includes: Origami Bridges: Poems of Psychoanalysis and Fire; I Praise My Destroyer; and Wife of Light. Her nonfiction includes the 2007 Orion Book Award winning The Zookeeper’s Wife, which tells the story of Jan and Antonia Zabinski, the Warsaw zookeepers who sheltered Jews from the Warsaw ghetto in World War II; An Alchemy of Mind, a poetic exploration of the brain and the marvel of the mind; and The Moon By Whale Light. She has also penned several children’s books and is the only person I know who has a molecule named after her—dianeackerone. Today she is coming on to primarily discuss her most recent book One Hundred Names For Love, which came out in April. Diane relates how frightening and frustrating the stroke proved for Paul and how devastating it was for her to witness Paul’s ability to communicate taken away, his essential self amputated. Diane explains how she helped Paul find his way back to himself, how she threw a life jacket out to that dark place without words for Paul to grasp, and how she drew him back to the light, “a feat,” says Seinfelt “as heroic and epical as Proust’s recapturing of lost time. Many people will learn from her methods and successes.”

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