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An Electrifying Beowulf

Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley is a thrilling rendition of the centuries-old poem. (Bookshop|Amazon) Headley translates the poem using modern vocabulary and even internet slang, with results that are, as one reviewer put it...

Writing Advice from Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh, author of Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, advises that although would-be writers should read extensively, it’s even more important to listen intensely. This is part of a...

You Bet Your Boots (episode #1445)

You may have heard the advice that to build your vocabulary you should read, read, and then read some more – and make sure to include a wide variety of publications. But what if you just don’t have that kind of time? Martha and Grant...

Peenie-Wallie

What do you call a firefly in Jamaica? A peenie-wallie or a blinkie. For a lovely use of the first term, check out Valerie Bloom’s poem “Two Seasons.” Better yet, listen to the audio. This is part of a complete episode.

Jump Steady

To transmit information during wartime, various industries used to encode their messages letter by letter with an elaborate system–a primitive version of today’s digital encryption. Grant breaks down some of those secret codes, and...

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