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The Writing Life

Celebrating Sterling Brown (recorded 1994)

In celebration of the life of Sterling Brown, a poet who taught for 40 years at Howard University and grew up in Howard County, Maryland, host Roland Flint talks with Michael S. Harper. Harper, an English professor at Brown University, says that Brown was considered the “dean of African American literature,” but his areas of expertise were much wider. Brown called himself a 4-H man, though his four H’s were Homer, (Thomas) Hardy, (Heinrich) Heine and (A.E.) Housman. Harper reads Robert Frost’s poem “In Dives’ Dive”, which Brown once used to end a talk at Williams College, his alma mater. Harper reads the following poems from Brown’s work: “Long Gone”, “Slim in Hell”, “Conjured” (which Brown wrote for his wife Daisy), and “Puttin’ on Dog”. The program ends with a recording of Brown reading “After Winter” while photographs of Brown flash across the screen.

The Writing Life airs Tuesdays at 11am, 4pm and 7pm, Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

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