Marilyn Nelson is one of America's most celebrated poets. She is a three-time finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Newbery and Printz and Coretta Scott King awards. Many of her most famous collections are for children.
Her latest work, How I Discovered Poetry, is a memoir about her own childhood. It's a series of 50 poems about growing up, traveling all over America in the 1950s to follow her father's job in the Air Force. Each of the poems is identified with a place and a date.
Marcel Theroux's Strange Bodies is about Nicholas Slopen's return to life, the 18th-century lexicographer Samuel Johnson and dead people inhabiting new bodies. As Slopen is cautioned, "the truth of this situation is much stranger and more complex than you can imagine."
Theroux, whose previous novel, Far North, was a National Book Award finalist, is also a filmmaker. He joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about his genre-bending new novel and the thin lines that separate real life and science fiction.
One hopes, at an event of nebulous actual significance like the opening ceremonies of any Olympics, for a single moment that can tease out the specific weirdness of that event. You need something, some nut, some bit, that can demonstrate to people in a single flash what it was like for a bunch of people to pay attention to something even though arguably nothing happened.