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Pilgramage to Willa Cather’s Home

Paula in Cheyenne, Wyoming, calls with the story of a moving pilgrimage to the home of Willa Cather in Red Cloud, Nebraska, and shares a favorite passage from Cather’s My Antonia (Bookshop|Amazon). This is part of a complete episode.

Thinking Like Shakespeare

In a passage from How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education, Scott Newstok, a professor at Rhodes College, offers an apt description of class letting out and students wandering about while focused on their phones. This is...

Independent as a Hog on Ice

Pam from Denton, Texas, says her mother-in-law always used the expression independent as a hog on ice. A hog that stubbornly gets itself stranded on a sheet of ice is in an extremely awkward position. A passage in the book Jack Shelby: A Story of...

Sasha and Zamani, and Three Deaths

In his book African Religions and Philosophy, Kenyan-born philosopher John Samuel Mbiti describes the East and Central African concepts of sasha, those ancestors who remain alive in human memory, and zamani, the vast ocean of time into which...

Smeuse

There’s a word hole in a hedge or wall made by the repeated passage of a small animal. It’s called a smeuse. This dialect term from the UK is one of hundreds from Landmarks, a book of essays in which Robert Macfarlane seeks to reanimate...

Thank You, Ma’am, Road Bump

Following up on our talk about regional terms for a small, raised section of road, such as tickle bump and belly-tickler, Martha shares a passage from The Guardian Angel by Oliver Wendell Holmes, which references another term for that kind of bump...

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