Selected Shorts: An Hour with Sherman Alexie

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On this program, we get to know a multi-faceted contemporary writer up close, with a story, some poems, and good talk.

The celebrated American fiction writer and poet Sherman Alexie has been an important part of the history of SELECTED SHORTS, and we have featured a number of his stories about contemporary Native Americans coming to terms with their heritage, and modern life, as part of the series.  This program derives from an evening at Symphony Space for which he was the host—an event that coincided with the publication of his book, War Dances.  From that book, we first hear a powerful tale of before and after, of a moment when one quick action changes two lives.  “Breaking and Entering,” is read by the multiple-award-winning actor and television star B.D. Wong. 

Part of Alexie’s SELECTED SHORTS evening included a conversation with his friend, the novelist Rick Moody, ranging from a discussion about his mixed genre approach to War Dances  (he describes it as a “mix tape”) to the inevitably political nature of Native American writing; we hear some excerpts from that talk here.

This program concludes with Alexie’s own readings of some of the poems featured in War Dances.   In one, he writes:

 Why do poets think

They can change the world

The only life I can save

Is my own.

The musical interlude in this program is Ben Allison’s “Blowback,” from Little Things Run the World.  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

"Breaking and Entering," by Sherman Alexie, read by B.D. Wong

Selected poems, read by the author.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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