Arts & Letters

Arts & Letters is a special program hosted by associate professor Brad Minnick of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It highlights the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The program's theme music was composed by The Damsels in Distress.

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A&L Short: Bonnie Montgomery

Jun 18, 2017
Mary Ellen Kubit

On this Arts & Letters short, which aired on Father's Day, we visit a 2016 interview with singer and songwriter Bonnie Montgomery. She and J. Bradley Minnick talked about the importance of song and reflected on the enduring memory of her father. 

Stillness Falling Like Calamity

Jun 16, 2017

On this episode of Arts & Letters, Arkansas Poet Jo McDougall discusses the farm, family, and the everyday mystery that poetry explores. 

McDougall is the author of several collections of poetry, as well as Daddy's Money, A Memoir of Farm and Family. The memoir, published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2011, explores her early life growing up on a rice farm outside the town of Dewitt, Arkansas. Her book of collected poems, In the Home of the Famous Dead, was published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2015.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Nashville-based YA author Jeff Zentner. His book, The Serpent King, is filled with big hearted characters, misfits and miscreants cornered by the crushing weight of destiny, “the ossifying conviction that they are living out some ancient and preordained plan—encoded in blood, built into the architecture of name.”

Almost Blu

Apr 21, 2017

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Arkansas novelist and memoirist Cara Brookins about her book, Little Boy Blu, a novel loosely based on the "blue people" of Hazard County, Kentucky, who suffered from methemoglobinemia. This rare hereditary blood disorder results from excess levels of methemoglobin in the blood. It is passed on as a recessive gene, which turns the skin blue. 

In Little Boy Blu, we explore the hills and hollers, make our way through a copse of trees and into the crook of a valley—the sort of place common in Hazard County.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, University of Central Arkansas writer and professor John Vanderslice talks about his book Days On Fire. The novel explores the tumultuous days of painter Vincent Van Gogh from his early life in Holland to his hospitalization in St. Paul's Asylum in Saint Remy. Along the way, we discuss Van Gogh's many obsessions, including the painter's relationships with religion, women, family and work. 

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with columnist and writer, Jay Grelen, whose book Sweet Tea Times Volume 1, Edition 1, collects his popular Sweet Tea newspaper columns, published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from 2004-2011, and we debut a brand new Sweet Tea column, never before seen or heard: "The Case of Bozo's Missing Hand."

What The Hellbender Salamander!

Jan 20, 2017

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we take a dive into the streams and rivers of the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri to learn the saga of North America’s largest amphibian, the hellbender salamander.

Our guide is author, activist, professor and eco-poet Mark Spitzer, whose avant-garde epic poem, GLURK! A Hellbender Odyssey, serves as the basis for our journey.

The Holly Jolly Trolley: A Ride Through Arkansas History

Dec 21, 2016
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On this special holiday episode of Arts & Letters, we uncover true tales of Arkansas's past while touring the streets of Little Rock and North Little Rock inside the Rock Region Metro Streetcar—our “Holly Jolly Trolley.”

 

Along the streetcar rails we enounter a cast of characters, who tell of the cities' history bound up in the brick and mortar of the buildings—filled with ghosts and song.

 

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Nov 18, 2016

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with writer and teacher Ed Tarkington. His first novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart, published by Algonquin Books in 2016, "happens in moments."

The book "explores the city limits of fictional Spencerville, its grassy fields and horse farms, Georgian style homes and stately colonial manses and its inhabitants filled up with guilty ghosts from the past."

A&L Short: Gallows Bound

Nov 14, 2016
Gallows Bound

The Virginia-based band Gallows Bound’s music tells of the legend of the Appalachian Blood Witch, whose gnarled finger beckons and portends disaster to all who follow.

 

J. Bradley Minnick of Arts & Letters sat down with the band and filed this musical feature.

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