“Heaven’s Café” is a seasonal episode of Books Unbound featuring poetry from China, Germany, Mexico, Palestine, Cuba and England, with a tribute to the late Mark Strand and one of Dostoyevsky’s lesser-known stories, “The Christmas Tree and the Wedding”. The program explores seasonal themes of Heaven/the heavens: how we mark the season and align ourselves to celestial phenomena, and how at the end of the year’s cycle we dwell on loss, especially love lost—but also revisit childhood and beginnings with often unforeseen consequences.
Co-hosts: Doug Storm and Sarah Torbeck
Announcer: Berklea Going
- “New Year’s Watch” and “Visiting the Temple of Auspicious Fortune on New Year’s Eve” by the 11th-century Chinese poet Su Shi (Patsy Rahn, Pei-Shan Yu)
- “After the Rain” by World War One-era poet Richard Dehmel (Frank Buczolich, in both German and his own gorgeous off-the-cuff translation)
- Poetry by the 17th-century Colonial Mexican poet Sor Juana on the Nativity and the cosmos (Berklea Going, Eric Rensberger, Cynthia Wolfe, Sonia Velázquez)
- “A Prayer to the New Year” by the 20th-century Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan (Ali Alnahhabi, Cynthia Wolfe)
- “The Coming of Light” by Mark Strand, a brief tribute to the Canadian-American poet who died last month (Frank Buczolich)
- “The Christmas Tree and the Wedding” by Dostoyevsky (Sarah Torbeck, with Russian intro by Pavel Abramov)
- “Christmas of 2012″ by the Cuban dissident writer and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (Tony Brewer)
- “On Heaven” by Ford Madox Ford, writing as Ford Madox Heuffer, again taking us to the WW1 era, imagining the afterlife as meeting his lost beloved in a cafe in the South of France (Doug Storm)
Music excerpted from the Sonata for Viola and Piano of Dmitri Shostakovich.
Produced by Cynthia Wolfe with Doug Storm.
Written by Cynthia Wolfe with contributions from Ali Alnahhabi, Frank Buczolich and Doug Storm.
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.