2 May 2012

The Lord God Bird & What they Do in the Dark on WSR

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My ever-lovin' thanks to David and Jackie and Kris, Josh and Carl and Judy and Cynthia, and Patti, Janine, and Cam (and Pam), and Alan LePage, and Tonio and Buffalo Mountain Co-op and my guests Meghan O'Rourke, and Julie R. Enszer and so many other individuals and organizations and businesses. WGDR does rock. It's totally official.

Amanda Coe
Anyway, this week on WSR we continue the tradition of bringing excellent radio to the world and I'm thrilled to welcome Amanda Coe, author of What they Do in the Dark (WWNorton, 2012), and Tom Gallant, whose luscious new novel, The Lord God Bird(Quantuck Lane, 2012), takes us into the magical, neo-mythical world of a man who spots an Ivory Billed Woodpecker and then observes "with wry humor and wisdom the goings-on around him" (QLP).


First up, at 4:15, British writer and screenwriter, Amanda Coe joins us from England to talk about What they Do in the Dark, a debut novel brimming with pain, joy, and the occasional beauty of childhood" (WWN).

"Spoiled and emotionally neglected Gemma, who appears to have everything, and semi-feral Pauline, who has less than nothing, are two very different ten-year-old girls. In fact, the two classmates identify with opposite ends of the socially volatile Yorkshire spectrum in the 1970s. Gemma enjoys the pleasures of holidays in Spain and new seasonal outfits, while Pauline fights and steals, living in neglect and near-squalor, longing for the simple luxuries of Gemma's neatly folded socks and clean hair. Gemma, upset by her parent's breakup and the new man in her mother's life, begins losing herself in fantasies of meeting the child television star, Lallie. When Lallie shoots a movie in their hometown, Gemma and Pauline jump at the opportunity for their wildest dreams to come true: an escape from their own lives" (WWN).

So please join us tomorrow, Thursday, May 2nd at 4:15 for a transatlantic conversation with Amanda Coe.
Want to join the conversation? Call the air studio at 802.454.7762


Tom Gallant
Then at 5:00, I welcome Tom Gallant,  Tom Gallant's The Lord God Bird is an elegant and elegiac meditation on the way human beings live in this world, how we treat one another, the animals who share this place with us, and how we treat the planet. A humble widower alone in his canoe in Big Woods Arkansas sees, for a fleeting moment, an Ivory Billed Woodpecker. His heart is full of joy that this long thought extinct bird is still among his neighbours. When the world finds out about his sighting, scientists and strangers arrive to mount a proper search" (QLP).


Ivory-billed woodpecker
Tom Gallant is never idle. Understatement. The man has produced a large volume of quality work in all mediums.... marked by a willingness to take chances, tempered by an understanding of what it means to communicate to an audience. Gallant is also a sing-songwriter,... an actor and director in both theatre and film. A memoir, A Hard Chance: Sailing into the Heart of Love, won an Atlantic Book Award. Gallant has logged 50,000 miles of deepwater sailing on his schooner, and lives near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. His work is marked by one unifying principle.... that love abides through all the hypocrisy, greed, and foolishness, and that it is in simplicity, humility, and empathy that true greatness resides (QLP).

Here's a passage from The Lord God Bird:

      The fish was wonderful, and the man washed it down with strong coffee laced with bourbon. Then he cleaned the tin plate and iron pan and stowed them in the basket that had always been part of the canoe's equipment. While he did these things, he heard a sharp knocking, distinctive and rare. It triggered an old memory from his childhood. He stood there, rummaging around in his brain. What was that sound? Once, it had been familiar
     He didn't believe his ears because the sound was that of an ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird so beautiful that it was known as The Lord God Bird, as in, 'Lord God, look at that bird.' They were big birds, with distinctive black and white markings, a dramatic red flash on the handsome head, and a long ivory-colored beak, They had been thought extinct since the man was a boy. He stood silent on the shore and listened for a long time, barely breathing, hoping to hear it again. But for all the woods were saying, for all the birdsong, and frog calls, scurries and footfalls of woodland creatures, and even the occasional turtle fart, the sharp, distinctive knock was gone. (10-11).

So please join us this week on WSR for another two interviews I believe you will enjoy. Want to join the conversation? Call the air-studio at 802.454.7762.


Woman-Stirred Radio is underwritten by Sinister Wisdom, celebrating 35 years of  lesbian-feminist arts and letters. Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College's community radio station located in Plainfield, Vermont.