"Poetry holds the knowledge that we are alive and that we know we're going to die," poet Marie Howe tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. One of Howe's most famous poems, "What the Living Do," was recently included in The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry.
In Sybil Exposed, Debbie Nathan explores the life of Shirley Mason — the psychiatric patient whose life was portrayed in the 1973 book and 1976 TV movie. Mason later admitted to her psychiatrist that she'd made the whole thing up — but not before the story manufactured a psychiatric phenomenon.
Colson Whitehead's new novel Zone One is a post-apocalyptic tale of a Manhattan crippled by a plague and overrun with zombies. He explains that he created the novel, in part, to pay homage to the grimy 1970s New York of his childhood.
After 35 years as a Supreme Court justice, John Paul Stevens retired last year. His newly released memoir is about his time on the bench and the five Supreme Court chief justices he personally knew. He details his views of those justices and how his viewpoints on various issues evolved over the years.
Nathan Wolfe travels to the viral hot spots of the world, where viruses first jump from animals to humans. The scientist spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into global pandemics.
In 2006, Malin Alegria's debut novel was unique in the world of young adult fiction: It followed a Mexican-American girl through a quintessential coming-of-age experience — the quinceanera. Today, Alegria's book is still celebrated in Latino communities — and publishers are starting to pay attention.
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