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When “Evening” Means “Afternoon”

Joan grew up in Yorkshire, England, then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. There she was surprised to hear some people use the term evening instead of afternoon to refer to “the period between noon and 5 p.m.” The word evening is used...

Noisy As A Falling Cookstove

In 1936, Carl Sandburg published The People, Yes (Bookshop|Amazon) a 300-page poem in book form that celebrates the folklore, language, and spirit of his fellow Americans. In one passage, Sandburg vividly describes various kinds of audiences: Some...

Jay Wright on Poetry

In an interview with the literary journal Callaloo, the poet Jay Wright tells a story about giving a poetry reading and then explaining his work in response to a question from a young member of the audience. This is part of a complete episode.

Tom Wolfe Brain Teaser

Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s brain teaser involves words and phrases that the late writer Tom Wolfe helped popularize. For example, what phrase is associated with Wolfe’s 1979 book with a title that might be paraphrased as “Just What...

James Baldwin Quote

In 1963, the writer James Baldwin was the subject of a profile in LIFE magazine, in which he observed, “You think your pain and heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” This is part of a complete...