The Drum

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HEATHER CRIPPS Devil's Drop

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Three boys make an unpleasant discovery while playing in a local park. Through one boy's narration, Heather Cripps' "Devil's Drop" tells the story of the children's vulnerability and the poignant ways in which they search for reassurance. (15:51)

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MARIA MUTCH Appetites

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Serotonin notwithstanding, Thanksgiving makes us hungry. Despite the torpor of the holiday, we become agitated, restless. Maria Mutch's "Appetites" immerses us in the restless and agitated world of a journey like so many on Thanksgiving: a trip to grandmother's house. In this short story first audio-published in The Drum in May 2014, Mutch revises the old tale, skewing fairy-tale familiarity with modern distortions. (12:37)

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GILMORE TAMNY Gretchen Was Abducted

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In "Gretchen Was Abducted," a woman recalls with wry humor the night she was taken in error from a slumber party. Gilmore Tamny's short story offers a dispassionate exploration of haplessness and desperation, adventure and survival. (11:42)

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SUSAN RICH two poems

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Susan Rich reads her poems "Tricks a Girl Can Do" and "Cloud Pharmacy"--and speaks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about ekphrastic poetry, her discovery of photographer Hannah Maynard, and the pleasures of bicycling while reciting Elizabeth Bishop. (14:56)

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BARRINGTON SMITH-SEETACHITT Sunday Afternoon With Buddha and Spider

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A woman, a spider, and a small space. These are the elements of Barrington Smith-Seetachit's essay "Sunday Afternoon With Buddha and Spider." With comic flair, Smith-Seetachit leads us through a high-intensity meditation on fear, power, and mercy. (19:11)

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MATTHEW SALESSES Excerpt from The Last Repatriate

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Matthew Salesses' novella The Last Repatriate tells the story of Theodore Dickerson, a prisoner who eventually returns to his home in Virginia in the midst of the McCarthy Era. He is welcomed back as a hero, though he has not returned unscathed. The lasting effects of the POW camp and troubles with his ex-fiancée complicate his new marriage as he struggles to readjust to the Virginia he holds dear. The letter from Teddy's fiancée is read by Joanne Barker. (11:09)

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ED BULL Seed

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Ed Bull's "Seed" revisits the shocking events of August 1, 1966 when Charles Whitman shot seventeen people from the University of Texas clock tower. Part essay, part invention, Bull's piece bring us into the events, allowing us to ponder Whitman himself and the nature of his horrible crime and the nature of violence. (13:06)

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LISA DUFFY What Matters

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Lisa Duffy's "What Matters" explores our notions of exactly that in the telling and remembering of the events surrounding the brief disappearance of the narrator's son. When the little boy gets lost in Central Park, his absence sets off a chain of events both in the search for him and in the narrator's search for the meaning of the events as she relives them. Trust, fidelity, and truth are just some of the ideas Duffy mines for this compelling and compellingly told story. (17:44)

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COLLEEN FULLIN The Dead and The Drowned

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Colleen Fullin's "The Dead and The Drowned" focuses in on a teenaged boy in the aftermath of the drownings of young men in his city. Garrison is shaken by their deaths, but unsettled more profoundly in ways that he only comes to understand--if at all--at the story's end. The reader is in for a powerful conclusion to Fullin's tale, as it touches on the complications of identity, desire, and sexuality. (27:17)

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DANIEL DAVIS West Texas Tears

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Daniel Davis brings a modern sensibility to the cowboys-and-Indians tale in "West Texas Tears". In his short story, two lawmen come upon a land-grabbers' home where Indians have left only one little girl alive. The narrator, Horace, wrestles with what's fair and what's just as he comes upon a surviving Indian caught in barbed wire. Davis' story is a subtle study of the complications of justice and belonging. (15:02)

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CHERYL WALSH Unequal Temperaments

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Cheryl Walsh's "Unequal Temperaments" is narrated by a musician and a tuner of harpsichords--instruments whose tuning challenges give the story its title. Telling a story about friction among players in a conservatory, the piece explores our ability to adjust, align, and predict events in our experience, and suggests that despite our certainty that we can foretell things, we will always be surprised and perhaps foiled by the irrational and the unruly. (22:37)

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CARLA PANCIERA All of A Sudden

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Carla Panciera's "All of A Sudden" paints an insightful portrait of a unusual young girl in a small New England town. Albina is odd enough to be exotic, strange enough to be awkward, and a source of mingled concern and attraction for the the narrator who befriends her during their childhood and adolescence. Watching Albina, trying at times to correct her and perhaps save her, the narrator reflects on her own changing sense of self. "All of A Sudden" originally appeared in print in the New England Review. (19:43)

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction

poetry

under 10 min

under 20 min

under 30 min

under 40 min
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