This week, Clay Jenkinson’s conversation with actor Steven Duchrow about taking on historical characters. Steven has been performing as the poet Vachel Lindsay for many years, but now he is taking on the character of the poet Carl Sandburg. Where do you start? How do you figure out what has to be in any performance whether it is five minutes long or an hour and a half? Once you have done all the research, how do you turn that immense body of information into a solid and entertaining Chautauqua performance? Steven Dukrow provides several superb recitations of poems by Vachel Lindsay and—of course—performs Sandburg’s most famous poem: Chicago, Hog Butcher of the World.
This week, Clay Jenkinson’s conversation with Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky about the agony and ecstasy of writing a book. Among the topics: Do you do all the research before you start to write or just begin and research as you go along? How do you pace yourself and not burn out? How do you know if the book is any good? What do you do to power through the gumption traps—writer’s block, the distracting dramas of real life, other professional commitments, the days or weeks when you just don’t feel like writing, or conclude that you have nothing important to say?
Lindsay’s second book is tentatively titled Making the Presidency, about the administration of the second President John Adams. Clay has authored more than a dozen titles.
This week, guest host David Horton of Radford University returns to engage Clay Jenkinson about the plans and purposes of Listening to America. Why the name change on the highly successful Jefferson Hour? What will the new program title enable Clay to explore over the next decade? Did the New Enlightenment Radio Network change the name because Jefferson is now perceived as toxic because of his complicities in slavery and the dispossession of Native Americans? How exactly does Clay intend to "listen" to America? How does this new program emphasis help us think about America as the republic approaches its 250th birthday on July 4, 2026?
This week, guest host David Horton of Radford University questions Mr. Jefferson about his formation, about the path he took to national greatness. What were the particular influences of Jefferson's father Peter, a self-made man of the overseer class, and Jefferson's mother Jane Randolph, who belonged to one of the most socially and politically prominent families in Virginia? Why did Jefferson's life veer from the agrarian simplicities of western Virginia and lead him to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and later on to the Presidency of the United States? Might Jefferson have been happy if he had followed the trajectory of his closest friend Dabney Carr, who seemed content with a modest house, a few books, an amiable spouse, and a simple Virginia diet?