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54:31

A Master of Filth on What He Loves and Loathes

Film director John Waters has cultivated a second career as a writer. His newest collection of essays is called Crackpot. He joins Fresh Air to talk about his television watching and filmgoing habits, and to discuss some of his favorite recent releases. Listeners call in with their questions.

Interview
09:46

Accepting the Challenge of the Natural World

Essayist Paul Gruchow has a new collection of essays called The Necessity of Empty Places, which celebrates the American wilderness. Rejecting the macho, survivalist approach to confronting nature, Gruchow sees the wilderness as a place of meditation and discovery.

Interview
28:05

William Kittredge on the Mistakes of Westward Expansion

The writer inherited his family's ranch, but later sold it when he moved to Iowa for graduate school. Kittredge critiques the belief that humans have the moral authority to develop and tame the American West. This mythology, he says, has led to ecological destruction and the genocide of American Indians. His new collection of essays about the subject is called Owning it All.

Interview
26:39

Susan Sontag on Disease and Metaphor

The essayist and novelist's new book, called AIDS and Its Metaphors, examines the discourse surrounding the disease. Sontag is a cancer survivor; a previous book about language and sickness is titled Illness as Metaphor. She joins Fresh Air to talk about how cancer changed her thinking and made her a more compassionate person.

Interview
24:21

Poet Gary Snyder on "The Practice of the Wild"

Snyder was part of the beat poetry scene in 1950s San Francisco, and inspired a character in several Jack Kerouac novels. He studied Eastern philosophy and religion, and later settled in a more isolated part of the United States -- far from the urban world. He won the Pulitzer Prize, and continues to teach and write. His new collection of essays considers his relationship with the wilderness.

Interview
22:46

A Lapsed Catholic Writes about Her Former Faith

Novelist Mary Gordon has a new collection of essays, "Good Boys and Dead Girls: And Other Essays." Catholicism has been a constant theme in her novels, which include: "Final Payment," and "The Company of Women." American fiction by men, Catholicism, and abortion are some of the issues she write about in her new book

Interview
03:37

White Authors on Black Africa.

Book critic John Leonard reviews two collections of essays about Africa; "African Silences" by Peter Matthiessan and "Maneaters Motel" by Denis Boyles.

Review
15:18

The Cultural Price of Assimilation for Middle Class Blacks

Professor of African-American studies, Gerald Early. He'll talk with Terry about the dilemma of being a middle-class African American intellectual, and how that kind of life can separate a person from the black community. His new book is "Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation."

Interview
04:19

Spine-Tingling Summer "Fiction."

Maureen Corrigan has a review of "The Art of Fiction," novelist David Lodge's collection of 50 essays of literary criticism, published by Viking.

Review
04:20

Underdeveloped Essays in New Collection.

Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Last House: Reflections, Dreams, and Observations, 1943 - 1991, (Pantheon) the third in a trilogy of books of unpublished essays, letters and journals by M.F.K. Fisher, published after her death.

Review
21:30

David Mamet's "Remembrances" of Being a Young Writer

The essayist, poet and playwright's new book, "Make-Believe Town," is a selection of essays about everything from theater to politics to Judaism. His work has been called opinionated, forceful, original and always surprising. Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize for his play "Glengarry Glen Ross" and has written and directed several motion pictures.

Interview
21:35

Writer David Foster Wallace on Pursuing "Supposedly Fun" Things

Wallace's 1,079 page novel "Infinite Jest" was critically acclaimed. His essays and stories have appeared in Harpers, The New Yorker, Playboy, The Paris Review, and others. He has a new collection of essays, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," (Little, Brown & Co.) The book's title comes from his comic account of being pampered to death on a luxury cruise, which originally appeared in Harpers.

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