Susan Davis

Producer, The State of Things

Archie Randolph Ammons, known as "A.R." to his legions of devoted readers, was an award-winning poet who would have celebrated his 85th birthday today. He was born in Whiteville, North Carolina to a large family who farmed for their subsistence, sang in church and took in oddballs and strays. Ammons went on to serve in the Navy, attend Wake Forest University, and teach elementary school before joining the faculty of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. As a poet, he was honored for his work with two National Book Awards, a Library of Congress Prize for Poetry, a Frost Medal and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, among many other prizes.

His poetic journey is actually many journeys from poems about rural North Carolina life to poems about science and engineering. And his story is actually many stories, from his early days on the farm to his later days in the rarefied world of poetic distinction.

As part of the occasional series, “North Carolina Literary Lights,” host Frank Stasio examines the life and work of A.R. Ammons with Alex Albright, a poet and an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at East Carolina University and the editor of several volumes of poetry including "The North Carolina Poems" by A.R. Ammons (Broadstone Press/2010). Also joining the conversation is Roger Gilbert, a professor of English at Cornell University who is currently working on a critical biography of Ammons.

Chris Hondros -

Last week's toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has drawn the attentions of the world to the unrest in the Middle East. As we wonder what will happen in the wake of the 30-year Mubarak regime, host Frank Stasio talks with experts, expatriates and observers about the possibilities.

Book Cover: The Story of Forgetting

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. By mid-century, that number is expected to double, if not quadruple. Researchers are learning more about the progressive neurological disorder that affects memory and other functions of the brain, but there is still no treatment or cure. Writers have begun documenting the epidemic, creating fiction and nonfiction that renders the mysterious disease and how it uniquely changes the lives of patients and caregivers alike. The New York Times declared this writing a new genre, calling it "Alzheimer's Literature."

Voices of SNCC

Apr 13, 2010

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University in April of 1960. Hoping to harness the enthusiasm and willpower of young people to end segregation, founders Ella Baker, James Lawson and Julian Bond organized protests and actions across the south. SNCC was vital to the impact of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Jewish-American Identity & Food

Mar 26, 2009

A lot of what we cook defines us. Say "barbecue and sweet tea" and people hear, "the South." The same is true for immigrants. As hyphenated Americans we are what we eat. This will be the subject of an upcoming lecture by Nora Rubel, an assistant professor of religion and classics at the University of Rochester in New York. Rubel earned her graduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and returns next week talk about "The Settlement Cookbook and the Transformation of Jewish-American Identity." But first she joins guest host Laura Leslie with a preview.

Smithfield Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers settled a federal racketeering lawsuit this week. Now the nearly five thousand workers at the plant in Tar Heel will have another chance to vote on union representation.

Church of Living God2,  2007 photograph by John Rosenthal
John Rosenthal

John Rosenthal is renowned for his black and white photographs of New York City in the 1970s. The photos archived parts of the city that were vanishing and eventually disappeared: a dusty model of a ship in a bottle in the window of a social club in Little Italy, for example, or seltzer bottles stacked in wood crates.

NC Voices: Gene Testing

Oct 15, 2007

Since experts mapped the human genome, the continuous flow of new information has affected decisions people are making about their health. As part of our series, "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," producer Susan Davis considers what people learn from genetic testing and if it’s always helpful. When Susan’s father died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1992 experts were not sure if there was a genetic link to the disease. But now they’re sure. And there’s a test she could take to find out if she has it.