RADIO ALOUD: A Library of the Airwaves

Thursday, August 7, 2008
Episode Summary
This pilot radio program (never broadcast) is comprised of excerpts from three ALOUD programs: a December 13, 2005 conversation between \"Six Feet Under\" writer/producer Alan Ball and writer/funeral director Thomas Lynch; a public talk on April 2, 2003 by playwright August Wilson, recipient of the 2003 Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award; and an April 4, 2005 poetry reading by W.S. Merwin.

Guest Host: Alfred Molina.

Co-produced by Louise Steinman and Johanna Cooper

Participant(s) Bio
Alan Ball is the creator and Executive Producer of "Six Feet Under," the critically acclaimed drama series on HBO. The series, about a family-run funeral home in Los Angeles, has garnered unprecedented ratings for the network, two Golden Globes (including Best Drama Series) and six Emmy awards. Alan was awarded an Emmy and a DGA award for directing the pilot of "Six Feet Under", his directorial debut. Alan's first produced feature film screenplay was "American Beauty," for which he received the 1999 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America award for Best Original Screenplay, and the Golden Globe award for Best Screenplay, among others. His other television credits include "Oh Grow Up", "Cybill" and "Grace Under Fire." Prior to moving to Hollywood, he was a noted comedic playwright in New York.

Thomas Lynch is the author, most recently, of Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans, a book he describes as "an ethnography of everyday life." His book, The Undertaking, won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Bodies in Motion and at Rest won the Great Lakes Book Award. Of his three collections of poems, Still Life in Milford is the most recent. For thirty years he has been the funeral director in Milford, Michigan.

In a career spanning five decades, W.S. Merwin, poet, translator and environmental activist, has become one of the most widely read - and imitated - poets in America. Over the years, his poetic voice has moved from the more formal and medieval to a more distinctly American voice. W.S. Merwin's recent poetry is perhaps his most personal, arising from his deeply held beliefs.

His first book, A Mask for Janus, was published in 1952 in the Yale Younger Poets series -- chosen by W.H. Auden. His book of poems, The Carrier of Ladders, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1970. His other books include The Drunk in the Furnace, The Moving Target, The Lice, Flower & Hand, The Compass Flower, Feathers from the Hill, Opening the Hand, The Rain in the Trees, Travels, The Vixen, The Lost Upland, Unframed Originals, and The Folding Cliffs. His awards include the Pulitzer Prize, the Tanning Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, among many others. His latest works include the collections of poems The River Sound as well as a new translation of Dante's Purgatorio. In the fall of 2004, William Merwin was awarded the prestigious 2004 Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. His book Migration won the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry, and was also named winner of the 2006 Ambassador Book Award for Poetry. W.S. Merwin was awarded the 2006 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry for his book Present Company.

Born in 1945, August Wilson grew up in the Hill district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His childhood experiences in this black slum community would later inform his dramatic writings, including his first produced play, Black Bart and the Sacred Hills, which was staged in 1981.

By early 1990's, Wilson had established himself as the best known and most popular African-American playwright. His second play, Fences, earned Wilson his first Pulitzer Prize. The Piano Lesson earned Wilson his 2nd Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as a Drama Desk Award.

On October 2, 2005, August Wilson passed away at the age of 60.