Paul Holdengräber:
The Afterlife of Conversation

“We’re not a collection of books. We’re a congregation of ideas.” 

Paul Holdengräber, Director and Founder of LIVE from the NYPL at The New York Public Library


Photo Credit: Jocelyn Chase

Paul Holdengräber is the kind of intellectual who can pack the house. His curated conversations with writers, rappers, dancers, historians, film directors and rock-stars have attracted scores of hipsters and scholars to the New York Public Library, which is not surprising to anyone who knows Sorbonne/Princeton educated Holdengräber.

“People are hungry for culture,” says Holdengräber, settling into his small book-lined office behind a desk piled with papers, magazines and books.

With warmth and contagious enthusiasm, Holdengräber moves easily between subjects ranging from his birth in Houston and peripatetic youth in six different countries (United States, Mexico, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and France) to his interview with obituary writer for the Economist, Ann Wroe, where half of the New York Times obit writers were in the audience – William Grimes and Bruce Weber, compared notes on how they ‘did the dead’ – to providing behind-the-scenes play by plays of YouTube clips showing his interviews with, among others, Harold Bloom, Patti Smith, Jay-Z, Rick Rubin, and Russell Simmons.

“Bringing people together in a room is essential, particularly in a public library with tens of millions of items (including the original Declaration of Independence, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s first edition of Frankenstein and A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh),” says Holdengräber. “We want to create a culture where these ideas are alive.”

Regularly covered by Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, W Magazine and Publisher’s Weekly, Holdengräber directs LIVE from the NYPL, a program he founded in 2004.  In 2007, W Magazine praised Holdengräber for transforming “the New York Public Library into an after-dark hot spot.” Recently, TIME OUT New York named the program as one of the “city’s coolest lectures.”

But Holdengräber balks at the word lecture. “When I think of the word, lecture, I imagine a place where the only possible way to stay awake is to watch people try not to fall asleep.” He drops his head mischievously, ”You know that movement in the head, there is this head bobbing motion….”

We all laugh, but it’s easy to see that Holdengräber is serious about words and settles on another: the finely orchestrated art of conversation.

But how do we keep these important ideas and conversations alive after the fact? Might the web serve as a tool, we suggest?

Holdengräber’s eyes brighten. “You couldn’t be closer to my heart in talking about the afterlife of the conversation. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do here.  And for the library to survive, we must find our way in the digital age.”

“I’ll give you an example,” he adds. “I was speaking on the phone yesterday with the film director Eroll Morris and I asked, ‘Have you ever read Carlo Ginzburg*, [known as the “father of microhistory”] who wrote an essay called Clues: Roots of a Scientific Librariana fantastic essay which talks about the role of the historian as detective?’ About eight hours later, one of my interns told me that Erroll Morris just Tweeted the fact that he was on an airplane and was reading Carlo Ginzburg. From there, the Tweets were re-Tweeted around the world. I said to myself, look at the result of our phone conversation, hundreds of messages and surely some of those readers will find the essay.  And I think, this is how works can now filter into the public view.”

Holdengräber‘s LIVE from NYPL has recently launched a series of public performances, readings and discussions showcasing the artists of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Artists and mentors included Brian Eno, Hans Magnus Eszenberger, Tracy K. Smith, Jessye Norman, Anish Kapoor, Gilberto Gil and many others.

In the words of Holdengräber, “All of these conversations are seeds. Who knows where they will find fertile soil?”

WRR: The New York Public Library’s partnership with Rolex and their Mentors and Protégé Arts Initiative program is a new venture. You have spoken about the importance of older writers, musicians and artists working with and mentoring younger ones. What attracted you and the library to this project?

Holdengräber: There is an African saying: When an old person dies a library disappears with them; and in Hebrew the word for tradition and transmission are the same. I see the mentorship program as re-establishing the idea, so important and at times lost, of craftsmanship. Forget the word ‘man’ embedded in the center of the word, craftsmanship is simply the passing on from hand-to-hand of a skill, of learning by example and hard work.

Sociologist Richard Sennett has interesting things to say about craftsmanship in his book by that name. It is about manipulation. But also, German intellectual Walter Benjamin does as well in his great essay, The Storyteller, where a storyteller leaves marks on his story the way a potter does on his pottery.  In other words, you see the fingers, the hands, the warmth, the dedication, devotion, passion.

Rolex and the Library also align well in these terms of excellence. To have a corporation the size of Rolex bringing this project in a professional way with the concept of mentors and mentees, you begin to think about the notion of passing on knowledge and passion, of the opportunity for both artists to create something fresh and new. For instance, Rolex has paired the great German poet and writer, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, who was born in 1929, with the American poet, Tracy K. Smith, who was born in 1972.  Enzensberger is a fantastic mind whose essays such as Mediocrity and Delusion have become classic work.  He is an icon in Europe and not so well known in the States, so it’s a chance to bring him to a wider audience as well.

By putting artists together from different cultures and viewpoints and giving them the financial freedom to create, Rolex is taking a wonderful risk.


New York Pubic Library/ Photo Credit: Jonathan Blanc

WRR: Bringing together unlikely kindred spirits also defines your approach for the LIVE from NYPL series.

Holdengräber: A lot of my curatorial decisions are made on the basis of wanting to bring the best and the brightest to New York City in a certain way. For instance, putting together author and journalist Christopher Hitchens and Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton.  I recently spoke with acclaimed potter Edmund de Waal about his superb memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes, which traces the history of his paternal grandmother’s family through a piece of netsuke or a Japanese carving.

People ask me how I decide whom to interview.  It’s an informed subjectivity based on thirty-some odd years of reading and listening to what people have to say. It’s about sifting out those seeds.

WRR: Your family history has a literal connection to seeds and certainly speaks to your wide-ranging interests…

Holdengräber: Well, yes. My father and mother left Vienna in 1938 just before the Nazis annexed Austria. My Father was 21 and had been enrolled in medical school. My Mother was 14. They didn’t yet know each other, but settled in Haiti, which had a very small Jewish immigrant population who had escaped the Holocaust. 

In Haiti, my father became a farmer, cultivating vegetables that had never been grown on the island before. In 1939, he wrote a letter to the Burpee Seed Company in Pennsylvania, and said, “I’m a friendly enemy alien and I’ve just studied the land of Haiti. From what I learned in my medical studies in Vienna, I think I can cultivate vegetables such as carrots and cabbage here, even though the Minister of Culture tells me that this is impossible. I’m sending you some soil. Do you think vegetables can grow in this?”

Burpee wrote back said, “Dear Mr. Holdengräber – You are absolutely right. Here are 10,000 seeds, we wish you luck and hope that some of these vegetables will grow.”

At the end of 1939, a little bit after the break of the war, he started to plant.  Most of the seeds didn’t grow, but some did.  He became a farmer and distributed his wares, particularly to the Ministry of Culture, and showed them how to cultivate small plots of land. At the end of the week he would distribute what was left of his produce to the small Jewish community in Port-au-Prince.

That is how he met my grandmother; and consequently, my mother. My parents married in 1943 and now have been married for 817 months. They count every month, and so they’ve been married for a little over 68 years.

My Father, alas, never could go back to medical school. Although it is his one regret, he became a successful textile merchant who loved his work and retired last year at the age of 92.

However, about eleven years ago, he showed me the farms. And said to me, “Paul, this is my legacy.”

It was powerful.

WRR: Your father and mother left Haiti after four years and the family moved a lot.

Holdengräber: After my parents left Haiti, they went to Mexico City where my sister was born. I was born in Houston, Texas, as I’m sure you can tell by my accent. (He smiles.) So, I am American, my sister is Mexican, my parents are Austrian, my grandparents were Polish and Romanian. After Mexico, we lived in six countries in Europe, so I learned four languages simultaneously, French, German and Spanish, and some Italian later.

I learned Flemish as well when I studied law and philosophy in Belgium. I arrived at the Sorbonne in Paris to study philosophy in the heyday of French Deconstructionism with Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida – all of the people who became superstars in America. Roland Barthes was my teacher during the last year of his tenureship.

I went to graduate school in Princeton, in Comparative Literature, and wrote my dissertation on Walter Benjamin as a collector — the importance of collecting and being Jewish – and the relationship between them.  I taught at Princeton for many years before becoming a (jolly good) Fellow at the Getty Museum when it was in Santa Monica and went on to create a havoc of a kind similar to this at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – the Institute for Arts and Culture. I brought all kinds of people together such as Tim Robbins interviewing Studs Terkel and hosted David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj.

WRR: Do you still write and teach?

Holdengräber:  I no longer teach and people ask me if I miss it.  The truth is, not at all. Here at the library, I’m doing it in a larger, open and more eclectic platform than one can at a university. I very much like the notion that I am doing something very similar in some ways, but completely different in other ways. That what I do here can reach people who might not have access to an exclusive education.

And writing, I’m asked often if I write, and someday I probably will develop the sitzfleish – the “sits flesh” to do it. For the moment, I’m more of a luftmensch, someone who has his feet firmly planted in mid-air.

So, I haven’t yet established the ability to sit down and write. What has happened is that people have transcribed the interviews I’ve done.  Michael Ondaatje, for instance, printed my interview with the filmmaker Werner Herzog in Brick Magazine. In this day and age, since the library has invested in bringing our interviews to the Internet, who know where anything ends up?

WRR: Your interview series doesn’t focus solely on writers.  It’s much broader. You are using your background and gifts to engage people in a wider conversation.

Holdengräber: Since I was referencing Werner Herzog before, he says that “culture is a collective agitation of the mind.” He told me that when a young filmmaker comes to me and says, “What should I do?” he looks at him and says, “Read, read, read.”

And I agree. It’s the only thing that matters.  Of course, reading happens in different forms. I’m a man of rapacious appetites, so I’m interested in nearly everything. I sometimes say we’ve done every kind of programming except self-help, and that’s not entirely true because we have had Miss Manners here and she is a force. To talk to her about manners is to learn about civility, which is society’s glue.

WRR: You’ve received great press for the series.

Holdengräber: Time Out Magazine just wrote an article that said that LIVE from NYPL is the city’s coolest lecture series. Vanity Fair is doing something on Librarian Chic. Time Out says that our lectures are: “Can’t Miss” events.  As I said earlier, I’m so sorry they used the word lecture. If I would have to pick a word, I prefer conversations – “Can’t Miss Conversations.”

They say we’re the Major League of lecture series, although I don’t really know anything about the Major League. But I was telling this the other day to our new President Anthony Marx, and he said to me, “This is great: Want me to try and get Shaq for LIVE from the NYPL?”

“Well, Major League, it’s sports.”  And he said, “We should do a sports series.”

So, this is how it happens.

WRR: For the younger generation, one of your most popular events was your conversation with the rapper Jay-Z.

Holdengräber:  I have two boys, ages six and nine, who are in public school (PS 58) in Brooklyn. They have a cool music teacher, Mr. Cedermark — the kind who has them singing, “New York State of Mind,” which is how my wife Barbara, who is a writer, and our two boys warmly welcomed me back to Brooklyn after one too many trips.

I started thinking about popular music and a few days later Jay-Z’s book Decoded arrived on my desk. It’s kind of a Talmudic analysis of his songs.  He highlights the text and augments it with footnotes. It’s an absolutely brilliant job and his editor and publisher, Julie Grau at Speigel and Grau, did a beautiful job producing it.

Grau couldn’t believe how excited I was to interview Jay-Z.  What on earth does the son of Viennese Jews who grew up listening to eleven versions of the Magic Flute know about hip-hop? Nothing! But, in many ways, I’m living my life in reverse. At 51 I’m discovering what people discover at 15.

When you move out of your comfort zone, you never know what will happen.  The Jay-Z event brought about the possibility of interviewing Def Jam co-founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons.  

Rick Rubin began our conversation by saying to 700 people, “I think for the first three minutes, we should meditate,” which we did. And when it was over, I said, “It felt like 20 minutes to me. How do you know it was 3 minutes?”  And he said, “Because it felt like 3 minutes.  Maybe you need it.”

WRR: You interviewed Patti Smith after she won the National Book Award for her memoir, Just Kids, and she surprised you.

Holdengräber:  I knew that Patti was steeped in literature in poetry and since her book had recently been published; I had prepared for a literary interview. However, the morning of our interview, Patti wrote to me and said, “I have a special connection to William Blake and Virginia Woolf, so I’m glad we’ll be talking about these things.  And P.S., Should I bring my guitar?”

I was in Brooklyn in our home and I was walking back and forth and saying, “Don’t respond immediately. You have to be cool.”  And I quickly called up my then-producer and said, “Please, What do we do? Do we have the equipment?”  And she said, “I’m going to get a stand for the guitar and the equipment.” And Patti came and sang five songs, including her homage to William Blake, My Blakean Year.”

WRR: You have a distinct style and a real art for drawing out the personality and depth of the people you interview. You spend days, sometimes weeks or longer, in preparation.  Yet your conversations appear to be entirely spontaneous.

Holdengräber: One tries to make the subject forget and yet remain on guard. It’s a mixture of both, trying to nurture what Socrates said, ‘To give birth to a thought and make people feel at ease; and yet make them anticipate the next question.’

One must keep the urgency alive.  I speak of the euphoria of ignorance, the notion of approaching things through non-knowledge of the subject and the skepticism of knowing too much. In some way one must carry the desire for openness and not be afraid of where it might lead you.

When I was 18 and went off to the university, my father said, “Don’t ever forget that the word university comes from the word universe.  The less interests you have, the less interesting you are. If you study law, you should also study philosophy. And don’t forget that across the street is a medical school. And in the medical school is an anatomy class. And you should go and learn about the human body.”

WRR: In many ways, you’ve created a sanctuary for interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration.

Holdengräber: For me, the program is reflective of certain moments in high culture in Vienna where people had serious discourse in the coffee houses and their ideas fed off one another. There was a culture of curiosity and I feel my role here at the New York Public Library is to be the Curator of Public Curiosity.

WRR: That can pose a curatorial challenge.

Holdengräber:  Yes. My challenge is that everything interests me, such as the example I shared earlier about exploring sports. I’m thinking, why not?  When I was in Los Angeles, I read about the basketball coach Phil Jackson, who had his players meditate and read books on Zen and Plato. Why not create a series with great sports figures?

But, I like to play with various genres and pair people together who will enhance one another’s work or bring out some aspect of the other. For instance, I worked with William Claxton, the photographer who created the iconic images of Chet Baker. Claxton said that photography is “jazz for the eyes.” So I said, let’s recreate that jazz. So we brought Claxton together with the drummer Billy Higgins and his musicians. While Higgins and his band played, Claxton took photos that immediately appeared on the screen.

For me the thought process that goes into bringing people together is an art form in itself.

To use the language of psychologist Adam Phillips, “We can’t tickle ourselves.  We need the gaze of the other. We need to be together.”

WRR: You are also gathering people in one of the world’s most beautiful public spaces.

Holdengräber:  You used the word public. I was talking with our new President Anthony Marx and told him that public is the most important word we have. This library is the Ellis Island of New York and has been the living room for immigrants from around the world. You walk up the steps at Fifth Avenue and pass between two lions – Patience and Fortitude – and into Astor Hall with its soaring ceiling. And suddenly you feel small. I think it’s a good moment.  And then you are brought up another level to the reading rooms, and there are the books.

You engage in serendipity. You take a look at what is juxtaposed against what. But that’s how you happen upon things, encounter things, how things fall into your lap and out of your pocket. I deeply believe that culture changes our contingencies and the books we read may have a transformative power we don’t even realize.

However, for this library to survive it needs to be entrepreneurial. And this has brought us into the age of the Internet. How do we present our work?  How do we link and hyperlink? To whom do we Tweet?

Even though I’m somewhat of a dinosaur, I recognize that online publications, such as yours, are working with new material in a different way. When President Marx asked me what I thought of eBooks, I said, ‘We now live under the sign of the ampersand. It’s not either- or-. In my neighborhood in Brooklyn, we have a fantastic bookstore called Greenlight. It’s become part of the fabric of our family’s life. Yet, I know that the reading experience will be different for my boys than it was for me. So, I think it will be interesting in so many ways. For instance, when I talk to people more or less of my generation, LPs still mean something, whereas for Charles Jabour, my new young and excellent LIVE Producer, LPs are a hipster thing.

I don’t think reading will disappear; it will change. For better or worse, Steve Jobs and his brothers and sisters in Silicon Valley have created the irresistible desire for these products. So I see part of my fundamental goal as an opportunity to create a sustained level of attention to immerse yourself for two or three hours in a conversation that might inspire you to go to the theater, buy a record in whatever form that takes, or a book, or become an activist.

WRR: Are you hopeful for the future of literature, art, and the life of the mind?

(He smiles.) I don’t drink Draino in the morning. And I can’t wake up and think we have a dumbing down of America when for each of our LIVE at the NYPL events, we have five, six, seven or even eight hundred people showing up. I believe people are hungry for culture and hungry for true conversation.

What you can’t do is stop. You have to go on like Samuel Becket’s character in his book, The Unnamable:  “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”

Working at a large cultural institution and bringing in a star like Jay-Z sent a few eyebrows in different directions. But, truth be told, part of my role is to continually challenge myself and my audience, and ultimately to continue to be surprised.


Joy E. Stocke


Joy E. Stocke

See other contributors.

In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.

In addition, she is Senior Editor for Wild River Books and has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, Host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.

In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.

She serves on the boards the Center for Emergent Diplomacy, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.

In addition, she has written extinsively on her travels in Greece and Turkey.  Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Stocke and Brenner are currently working on a cookbook, Anatolian Kitchen, to be published in 2016.

Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013).  The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.

She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently writing a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Penninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.



Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition


The Eagle of Ararat
The Eagle of Ararat-Part II: The Meaning of Freedom


Where Were the Shells Fired From?


Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay – The Human Face of War


Katherine Schimmel: A Meeting in a Garden and a Mystic Pen


Anatolian Kitchen: Cuisine at the Crossroads – For the Love of Beets


ABULHAB – Arabic from Left to Right: An Interview with Type Designer, Saad Abulhab

BELBRUNO- Ed Belbruno – The Colors of the Universe: Microwaves and Art

FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir

CLARKE – Rock & Roll, Cybernetics, and Literature: Bruno Clarke’s Intersecting, Interconnecting World

EARLE – An Extraordinary Hope Spot: Sylvia Earle on the 20th Anniversary of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park and the Future of the World’s Oceans

FULBRIGHT –  Harriet Mayor Fulbright- World Peace through Education

JOSEPH GLANTZ –  Inner Lights, Electric Kites – The Sparks of Philadelphia’s Creativity

HALIFAX – Joan Halifax, Roshi – Letting Go, Letting in Light: Halifax Talks about Her Life & Groundbreaking Book, Being with Dying

HONEY – The New York Hall of Science Hosts 1001 Inventions – Muslim Heritage in Our World: A Conversation with Dr. Margaret Honey

KUPCU – How to Weave a Culture: The Art of the Double-Knot with Murat Küpçü

MAJOR – A Landscape Critic in the Gilded Age: Judith Major and Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer

MAURO – New World Monkeys: Primates, Boars, and a Conversation with Author, Nancy Mauro

OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Space Traveler

SHOR – Music in Stone: Jonathan Shor Constructs a Lithophone for Quark Park

SMITH – ROLEX ARTS INITIATIVE-Poet Tracy K. Smith: Memory, Creation, Mentoring, and Mastery

SODERMAN – The Solace of Vacant Spaces: An Interview with Visionary Peter Soderman

EVAN THOMPSON – Waking, Dreaming, Being: Philosopher Evan Thompson Explores Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience and Meditation

TIMPANE – This Has Never Felt Like A Job
Poetry, Science and the Big Bang: John Timpane Goes to Cambridge

YUNUS – Opening the Gates of Capitalism: In Ecuador with Economist Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor”

ZALLER – Robert Zaller – Cliffs of Solitude – A World of Activism: Talking of Troubadours and Poetry with the Historian

Every River Tells A Story: Founders Kim Nagy and Joy Stocke

Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk – Death and Sex: Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk Get Intimate about Their New Book

Orhan Pamuk – The Melancholy Life

Per Petterson: Language Within Silence


Istanbul, Memories and the City: by Orhan Pamuk, Translated by Maureen Freely
The Road to Home: Rachel Simon’s The Story of Beautiful Girl


Anatolia – Istanbul’s Flaming Horn
End Times Down at the Kingdom Hall
Reclaiming Friday the 13th


Love Affair with Turkey

Anatolian Days and Nights – The Steamy Side of Istanbul


The Bath: Athens, Greece


The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation


 2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..


Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson

Quark Park

Algorithms, Google & Snow Globes: David Dobkin


Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn


UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul


Conservation – East of an Aquatic Eden and into the Desert
Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast


Migration, Remittances and Latin America


The Slow Web Movement: Wild River Review’s Philosophy on the Media


Rumi and Coke


Jonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues
Post-Thanksgiving Plane Ride with a Soldier on His Way to Iraq
Turkey – Of Protests and Fruit: A Report & Updates from Istanbul

Kimberly Nagy

Kimberly Nagy, Contributor

Kimberly Nagy

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In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.  With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.

Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.

Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.

After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor MagazineRoutledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

TWITTER: kimnagy

Kimberly Nagy in this Edition


Postcard from Haiti


Lady of the Largest Heart: Remembering Muna Imady


Pamela Tanner Boll – Dangerous Women: Creativity, Motherhood, and the World of Art
Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay – The Human Face of War


Slim Hopes
Who Does She Think She Is?


Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs


Christine Matthäi – The Light of Innocence: On Playfulness, Trees and Growing up in the former East Germany
Every Face Tells a Story: A Conversation with Photographer, Beowulf Sheehan


The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song


ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes


Truth Hunger – A Meditation on Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir


PEN WORLD VOICES – The Chador and the Walled Homestead: Modern Poetry of Pakistan
PEN WORLD VOICES – Found Poetry: A Wishing Poem


Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative


First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture


NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change


ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson


Lady of the Largest Heart: Remembering Muna Imady


Living the Dada Life: Andrei Codrescu Style
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul


Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast
Down on Honey Brook Farm