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Zen and the Art of Writing – with Natalie Goldberg

Note: This program was broadcast on WCAI, KZMU and WFIU. It also received a 5-star review on PRX!

Natalie Goldberg (self-portrait)
Natalie Goldberg, the well-known painter, writer and writing teacher, who wrote the best-seller on how to write called Writing Down the Bones, is also a Zen practitioner, who applies the lessons of Zen Buddhism to her writing, and her life.

This is a complex brew, but in this ThoughtCast interview, which took place in her home, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Natalie speaks frankly about her often painful but also at times transcendent experiences, and how she has turned these experiences into positive, life-affirming acts of self-expression — and of art.


Natalie paints her father

Natalie seeks the truth, about herself, her father (the charismatic Ben Goldberg), her Zen teacher Katagiri Roshi, and the swirling world around her. As those who know her will attest, Natalie’s quest has been a fruitful one. She’s the author of many books, including the novel, Banana Rose, and the memoirs Long Quiet Highway and The Great Failure, among many others.

Click here: to listen to our interview. (30 minutes)


El Rito, New Mexico

Natalie Goldberg is also featured in the documentary Tangled up in Bob: Searching for Bob Dylan, in which she ventures to his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, in search of – once more – the truth. At the moment, Natalie is at work on a new book, called “Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir”, which will be published in February of 2008.

Click here: to listen to Natalie Goldberg read an excerpt (about her parents’ visit to Santa Fe) from “The Great Failure”. (4 1/2 minutes)

Posted on September 23, 2007 in Art, Literature, Religion
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Faith and Philosophy with Harvey Cox and Simon Blackburn

Note: this program was broadcast on the WGBH public radio sister stations WCAI/WNAN, on the Cape and Islands, and on WRNC-LP!

Harvey Cox
Simon Blackburn
In this half-hour, ThoughtCast talks with two very different men, with one thing in common — a belief in humanism. Harvey Cox, the renowned Harvard Divinity School Professor and author of The Secular City and When Jesus Came to Harvard, talks with ThoughtCast about his faith, and the religious resurgence taking place here in America and abroad. Cox has a unique take on Christianity — while he doubts the Resurrection, he celebrates the life of Jesus, and urges us all to follow in his footsteps, and take his teachings to the streets, to enact them in our flawed, real, and secular world.
Simon Blackburn on the other hand rejects religion but embraces the wisdom of philosophy. He too is an author — of Truth: A Guide, Think and Being Good, among others — and he teaches philosophy at the University of Cambridge, in England. What he offers is a philosophy that’s not just for the educated elite, but for the rest of us!

Click here: to listen (29 minutes)

And to listen to a WGBH Forum Network lecture moderated by Harvey Cox, on the Boston civil rights movement, click here!

Posted on June 8, 2007 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Philosophy, Religion
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Poet Robert Pinsky takes on King David

Note: The WGBH sister stations WCAI and WNAN broadcast this interview, and it also received a 5 star review on PRX!

Robert Pinsky
Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky tackles King David of the Bible – the shepherd, poet, warrior and adulterer – in his “Life of David.”
Is David a legend? A real, flesh and blood warrior who killed Goliath, and united the 12 Jewish tribes into one nation? Robert Pinsky delves into these questions, and into David’s story, with relish.

David’s story has been told many times, and the tale has changed with each telling. There’s the David of the Hebrew Bible, and another version of his life in the Talmud. We know he slept with Bathsheba, but was this a sin? An act of love? Of violence? It depends on whom you ask.

David, who lived about 3000 years ago, was beloved of God, and as a result, he got away with more than his share. He was a seductive, wily politician, a doting father, a bitter old man. These contradictions in David’s character spur Pinsky on, and he adds his own twist to the tale, as you will hear, on ThoughtCast!
Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).
And click here to listen to a discussion with Robert Pinsky on Poetry and Democracy on the Forum Network.

Posted on March 22, 2006 in Literature, Poetry, Religion
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