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Sound Focus

Poets Muse on Modern Ills, Fulfilling a Father's Dream and Lessons from Fencing

Megan Sukys
01/26/2009

If you cut someone off on I–5, the other driver might honk or curse. But in 18th century France if you sideswiped someone's carriage, you could find yourself on the losing side of a duel. Also, local poets muse on the ills of modern society and a Kenyan father's dream fulfilled.

At 2:00 p.m. – Poems for what ails us: Marie Howe and Kathleen Flenniken

Today, Elizabeth Austen presents two poems that contemplate the ills of modern society. Marie Howe's poem "Hurry" considers the innate violence of constant rushing, while Kathleen Flenniken's "News Item" connects personal overconsumption with the larger state of our world. Marie Howe is the author of three volumes of poetry, "The Kingdom of Ordinary Time" (2008); "The Good Thief" (1998); and "What the Living Do" (1997), and is the co–editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). She lives in New York City. Kathleen Flenniken's first collection, "Famous," was published by the University of Nebraska Press and was named a Notable Book of 2007 by the American Library Association. She teaches in the Writers in the Schools program and lives in Seattle.

At 2:20 p.m. – Building a Promise (from The Story)

Milton Ochieng grew up in a rural part of Kenya. Even as a youngster, he was aware that people in his community frequently died of preventable diseases. Milton's father planned to lessen those odds by opening a local health clinic. But before they could lay the first brick his father died unexpectedly. Milton talks to Dick Gordon about the rocky road to fulfilling his father's dream. Milton has finished medical school in the U.S., and he has moved back to Kenya to open a medical clinic there.

At 2:40 p.m. – Nancy Pearl Book Reviews

Our weekly visit with Public Radio librarian and author of "More Book Lust," Nancy Pearl.

At 2:50 p.m. – Fencing

If you cut someone off on I–5, the other driver might honk or curse. But in 18th century France, if you, say, sideswiped someone's carriage, you could find yourself on the losing side of a duel. Seattle–based fencing teacher Cecil Longino says we could all use the fear of the blade in us. It's not a threat so much as a philosophy of being both assertive and courteous. Recently, Jeremy Richards joined Cecil at Seattle's Academia della Spada, a school that focuses on historical fencing. Cecil says the ethos of historical fencing has served him well when dueling with Seattle drivers.

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