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Radio Talk in the Heartland

     We are drilling deeper into local/global conversation in the heartland this week. Try us out at Minnesota Public Radio. The strongest impression in four weeks on the air here is the strength of the radio culture that MPR has been building for more than 35 years. One measure is the cool ease with with MPR raised $1.9 million in the last week from their listeners. Another is the savvy and strong spontaneous constructive sound from callers on all subjects, every day. Short form: Hubert Humphrey lives! The thread is a kind of Humphreyesqe enthusiasm for public activism, for the public space itself. Public transportation is poor in the Twin Cities. But public radio is extraordinarily good.


     It helps to have discovered a Minnesota writer of terrific range and heft. Bill Holm is a poet and essayist who observes the hardship and melancholy of the prairies. People hear Walt Whitman in him. In a magnificent essay, “The Music of Failure,” he encompasses Icelandic roots, the wisdom of Gilgamesh and Alcoholics Anonymous, the unlearned lessons of Vietnam and a hands-on familiarity with the greatest piano music, from Haydn to Art Tatum. And he takes it all to transcendental levels. Bill Holm may be the real Garrison Keillor. He may be our living Emerson. In any event please check him out in our conversation Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. EST.


     We will be taking your calls this week… about the gusher of papers from the files of the last Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun… with Brian Rosenberg, the new president of St. Paul’s little gem of higher education, Macalaster College… with David Shipler, on his new book, “The Working Poor”… and marking the centenary of Dr. Seuss. Call us up at 1/800-242-2828 and listen in when you can (10 to noon, EST) at Minnesota Public Radio.

{ 35 } Comments

  1. Anonymous | March 17, 2004 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    What a breath of midwestern air after all the brutality my mind has been wallowing in since the Madrid tragedy. I hope to sing the body electric with him while listening to some Thelonius Monk and escape into true art for a bit. Mr. Holm is the epitome of why God made art.

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  18. Jack O'Ryan | July 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    To have people thinking of Walt Whitman when they hear him is quite the complement …

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    I’m glad to hear of strong public radio…in our state it hasn’t been notable for much except the music.

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