Sunday, January 23, 2011 | Categories: Episodes |
Anat Hoffman - In our First Hour, Anat Hoffman - an Israeli activist, feminist, a former Jerusalem city councilor - a rebel with a cause.
Last summer she was arrested for carrying a Torah at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site.
More than twenty years ago, she and two other women began a protest called "Women of the Wall", demanding that Jewish women be allowed to worship at the Wall with the same rights as men and not be segregated.
She was in Toronto to talk about her mission and the ever-increasing power of ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel.
Read more about hour one here
Emily Dickinson - In our Middle Hour; Emily Dickinson, the Belle of Amherst, is arguably the greatest American poet. Even great poets say that.
Her verse, the bulk of which was published after her death, is strange, melodic, soul-searching, almost hypnotic in its power.
Dickinson is having a resurgence in popularity these days. There are festivals, readings, learned papers, biographies; there is even an Emily Dickinson bakeoff.
What is it about this mysterious woman who rarely left her house that attracts so many zealous fans?
Searching For Emily is our Second Hour this morning.
Read more about hour two here
Word Jazz - In our Third Hour; If Miles Davis and Jack Kerouac were the daddies of the avant garde in the 1950's and 60's, Ken Nordine was one of their most distinctive progenies.
In that era, he was Mr. Uber-Cool, fusing bebop jazz and beat-type poetry into a whole new form called Word Jazz. He wasn't a household name, even back then, but he was one hip cat. And at age 90, he's still attracting new fans thanks to the internet.
Jack Chambers is a professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto. He's also a jazz nut and a fan of Ken Nordine.
Read more about hour three here
Elsewhere in the program: "the Rainmaker", Keith Davey in his own words, our Stranger Than Fiction series and a meditation on heroism. All that plus a menu of your favorite music that is poetry to your ears.
It is possible that shortly after Anat Hoffman leaves Toronto and returns to Israel, she'll be put in jail, perhaps for up to three years.
In July of last year, she was arrested and charged with carrying a Torah and praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. She was convicted, fined and banned from the Wall for 30 days. She was also threatened with a three-year prison sentence.
The problem is that Anat Hoffman is female...and there are laws and rules about how men and women mingle in Israel...or are there?
Not every battle in Israel is about Palestinians. In fact, one of the trickiest fights is about who controls Israel. Is it a modern liberal democratic state operating on the basis of rights and freedoms and the rule of law...or is it really a religious state in which the modes of conduct are determined by a group of very conservative, very religious ultra-orthodox rabbis who believe in a segregated society obeying rules laid down by God six thousand years ago?
Anat Hoffman just happens to be in the middle of the battle. She's a former city councillor in Jerusalem and 21 years ago, she started the group "Women of the Wall" , dedicated to the proposition that Jewish Women are as entitled as Jewish men to pray at one of Judaism most Holy sites. Ms Hoffman is also executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center. Anat Hoffman was in our Toronto studio.
Last week, we talked with three bibliophiles about whether it's possible to have too many books, and what to do when they're stacked two deep on the shelves or lying in piles all over the living room floor - threatening to overwhelm our lives.
None of our guests was quick to embrace the idea of reducing their collection. They did talk about giving some books away, but in general, the consensus was that keeping books is preferable to culling them.
And then we heard about "Shelf Portrait", an exhibition by Toronto artist Robin Pacific.
Ms Pacific decided to give away all 1,670 of her books...a process which evolved into an exhibit. Anyone who wanted to was welcome to take volumes from her library - and on opening day of "Shelf Portrait," 500 people lined up for the privilege.
Robin Pacific joined Michael in our studio.
A special hour about Emily Dickinson.
Almost two centuries after her birth, the great American poet is still jolting us into consciousness.
Her work was original, eccentric, pre-occupied with nature, with beauty, with death, and with the life of the soul.
And Emily Dickinson herself was an enigma, a legendary recluse, who allowed only four of her poems to be published before she died in 1886.
Emily Dickinson has always had fans and admirers, those who parse her every word and dash for the deepest meaning, hang on every image and phrase. And she is widely considered one of America's greatest poets.
But this year, it seems, there's a virtual explosion of interest in the Belle of Amherst.
Michael speaks with newest Dickinson biographer, who offers a radical reinterpretation of the poet's life and work.
We travel to Amherst, listen in on the Dickinson poetry marathon, catch the results of the Emily Dickinson bakeoff (!) and meet some of the people whose lives the poet has changed and enriched. And, of course, we hear the poems, and the poetry set to music.
The Sunday Edition's special hour on Emily Dickinson ...very much alive, still surprising people, still stirring the poetry pot in 2011.
Click here for The Emily Dickinson Museum
Keith Davey Obit
There was a time in this country when politics was dominated by three amazing men. They didn't run for office and they weren't household names, but the shape of governments, the fates of politicians and the tone of the day was the stuff of their waking lives.
Dalton Camp, perhaps the best known of the three, died in March of 2002 at the age of 82. Last September, Norm Atkins passed away at the age of 76. And this week Keith Davey died at the age of 84.
The three of them shaped the nature of Canadian politics for almost 30 years. They were the ad men, the money men, the talent spotters and the strategists behind Robert Stanfield, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and a host of other federal and provincial politicians.
Theirs was a politics guided by gut instincts, sheer intellect and a fine sense of the mood of the day. In an age marked by focus groups, brand strategists and pollsters of every variety imaginable, it's difficult to remember that politics was once a truly human exercise, rather than one steeped in the mathematics of conflicting polling results.
Keith Davey was known as the Rainmaker for his astounding sense of politics and his prowess at running campaigns. He spent almost all of his adult life engaged with the nitty gritty of politics and he loved that life with a passion that was infectious.
And Keith Davey knew exactly what kind of life that was. Here's an excerpt of his memoir, "The Rainmaker", read by Eric Peterson.
In the beginning there was the cool. The hipsters ruled. Miles and Bird. Kerouac and Burroughs. Dylan and Brando. Ken Nordine.
If Miles Davis and Jack Kerouac were the daddies of the avante garde in the 1950's and 60's, Ken Nordine was one of their most distinctive progenies.
For a while in that era, he was Mr. Uber-Cool, fusing bebop jazz and beat-type poetry into a whole new form called Word Jazz.
He wasn't a household name, even back then, but he was one hip cat. And at age 90, he's still attracting new fans thanks to the internet.
Jack Chambers is a professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto. He is also a jazz nut and has been around long enough to remember Ken Nordine.
Stranger Than Fiction #3
For a booklover, there is a particular pleasure in locating a long sought-after tome. Finding it for a good price polishes the victory.
This week on Stranger Than Fiction, Pasha Malla shares his true story about discovering just such a book only to realise his was a tarnished treasure.
Pasha Malla's stories appear regularly in McSweeney's. He has been nominated for the Pushcart and Journey prizes and was included in "Best American Non-required Reading", (selected by Dave Eggers).
He lives in Toronto and he is the author of a collection of poems, All Our Grandfathers are Ghosts, and a book of stories, The Withdrawal Method. His first novel, People Park, is coming out soon.
Here is "A Personal Matter."