Spirits of Place

Two prose nocturnes and a soldier’s story contemplate longing, loneliness and home."I wanted to be somewhere else. I wanted to be a dark blur, waiting to board the Normandy train, in the smoke-smudged St. Lazare station I wanted a ticket out of my life...
--Stuart Dybek, “Killing Time” Two prose nocturnes and a soldier’s story contemplate longing, loneliness and home.
SELECTED SHORTS has covered a lot of ground these last few seasons, and this program takes us from The Big Apple to the Windy City, where the live series made its Chicago debut from the stage of the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. From that evening, this show features stories by two Chicago writers—Stuart Dybek, whose works have been heard on a number of SHORTS programs—and the legendary Nelson Algren. Dybek’s two stories, “Killing Time” and “Insomnia,” were both conceived of as “nocturnes,” the author tells host Isaiah Sheffer in an interview featured on this program. They were inspired in part by Chopin, and in part by Edward Hopper’s luminous painting "Nighthawks." This was the eventual name Dybek gave to a group of pieces featured in his collection, The Coast of Chicago. When not writing himself—his stories and poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and The Iowa Review, among other venues, Dybek teaches at Western Michigan University. Dybek’s two pieces are read by Steppenwolf Company member Jim True-Frost. Host Isaiah Sheffer reserved for himself Nelson Algren’s gently ironic “He Couldn’t Boogie-Woogie Worth a Damn,” in which a disenchanted African-American soldier, AWOL in Paris at the end of World War II, tries to determine what it means to go home. Algren, born in 1909, spent most of his working life in Chicago, and won the first National Book Award for "The Man with the Golden Arm." His other works include "The Neon Wilderness" and "Never Come Morning." “Killing Time” and “Insomnia,” by Stuart Dybek, read by Jim True-Frost
“He Couldn’t Boogie-Woogie Worth a Damn,” by Nelson Algren, read by Isaiah Sheffer For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit Symphony Space