Kentucky Author Forum
My second literary find on the DVD shelves of the library was an interview with American poet Billy Collins. It was actually recorded here in 2011 as one of the University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum events that have been going on since 1996.
These interviews, which are staged about four times a year, involve a well-known author and a sometimes well-known interviewer. They are filmed before a live audience. The stage set consists of a large wooden desk, two leather chairs, a bookshelf full of books and the ubiquitous green plants. It is all quite literary and civilized.
But back to Mr. Collins. He was interviewed by the very expressive author and radio personality Garrison Keillor. I was fascinated by the contrast between the two men. There sat Mr. K, who by all accounts was having a very bad hair day, looking like a great shaggy bear. (For all I know it may have been a bear in a Garrison Keillor costume.)
Then we had the dapper Mr. Collins, past poet laureate. I was entranced by his graceful movements and by how completely comfortable he was in front of his audience and the cameras. Such a gentleman.
The interview consisted of short monologues in the form of questions by Mr. K followed by responses from Mr. C. He also read a couple of his poems. I loved hearing him read and am a devoted fan.
He talked of his persona in his poems. The real Billy Collins drinks coffee. His poet persona drinks tea. They both, however, like dogs and jazz. His poems, he said, are not about past events but are an effort to create current experiences on the page.
The show ran about 60 minutes. The best news is that you can watch this interview as it is archived on the local public television station's website: KET.org. This should link you to the page with the listings of past shows. Your own public television station may broadcast these programs under the name "Great Conversations". If not, you can watch on your computer such worthies as E.L. Doctorow, Stephen Pinker, Erik Larson, Rosanne Cash, Madeleine Albright, and Margaret Atwood.
All for free; all for you.
Because I don't own a television, I didn't realize that these programs were broadcast and I certainly didn't know that they were available on the station's website.
A treasure trove of literary finds indeed!