Words and Music

Words and Music: An Audio Exploration of the Life and Work of Indiana Writers is a new humanities-based program produced and broadcasted by Big Car Collaborative’s radio station, WQRT FM. Thanks to support from Indiana HumanitiesWords and Music brings poetry and creative prose into the world in new and surprising ways primarily through eight experimental audio documentaries. These will feature a variety of well-known Hoosier writers as co-hosts and explore history and contemporary culture through the lens of Indiana-connected writers.

In this first installment of Words and Music, Hoosier authors Susan Neville, Adrian Matejka, Kevin McKelvey, and Big Car co-founder and executive director Jim Walker discuss the sublime beauty and challenges of Indiana through the lens of William H. Gass’s 1968 fiction story, “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country.” Some episodes to follow include poets and authors such as Kenneth Rexroth, Mari Evans, Etheridge Knight, and Marguerite Young in addition to topical episodes.  

Words and Music will harness the power of technology to deliver humanities programming through Big Car Collaborative’s low-powered, community-led FM radio station and on-demand digital platforms. Along with eight hour-long podcasts led by Walker and various co-hosts, we’ll create and share content designed to encourage the public to engage with literature through activities and prompts, offer more in-depth educational opportunities through related content, call attention to local and regional poets with brief recordings playing throughout our programs and music, air playlists curated by writers, and publish an anthology of work resulting from this project.

Poet and essayist Terrance Hayes wrote in To Float in The Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight, “The way to engage art is to make art; the best way to grasp the wonder of poetry is to make poetry. Making involves action, not deduction. It involves wading into the restless liquid of language.” This passage is central to our approach to the project. We’re offering a deeper, more connected experience to writing, to history, to the culture and communities that make up Indiana. By involving listeners as participants, by taking them on journeys inside the work, by exploring the stories behind the work, the stories of the writers, and by connecting the dots with the context of time and place and people, we will create deep investment in the humanities for our listeners. And we’ll connect them in new ways to language, to literature, to Indiana history, to philosophy so integral to poetry and prose, to criticism and theories behind the work, and to what it means to be a person living among so many different but connected lives in this world.

  • Date: December, 2020