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Michael Silverblatt: good literary listening

August 5, 2010 | 12:50 pm

Michael Silverblatt has a distinctive interviewing style: He's deliberate and unhurried and asks complex, multi-layered questions. Public radio has been his safe intellectual harbor since 1989, when he created the show "Bookworm" for KCRW-FM (89.9) in Santa Monica, where it airs Thursdays at 2:30pm.

And because of the miracle of the Internet, you all can hear it, too. The half-hour show can be streamed live, played later on the website or downloaded as a podcast.

Today he'll be talking to poet D.A. Powell, recipient of the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and judge Linda Gregerson, about the substantial prize and its benefit to a mid-career poet. Next week he returns to heady fiction, which is his primary focus, with a discussion with David Mitchell.

Recent shows are so full of notables that I'm compelled to list them here.

Isabel Allende on "Island Beneath the Sea"

Aimee Bender on "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake"

Peter Carey on "Parrot and Olivier in America," which has since been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Chang-rae Lee on "The Surrendered"

Yann  Martel on "Beatrice and Virgil"

Ian McEwan on "Solar"

Jane Smiley on "Private Life"

Jean-Philippe Toussaint on "Running Away" and "Self-Portrait Abroad"

If you're looking for some literary accompaniment for some extended summer travel, dig into the archives and you'll find hundreds of hours of Silverblatt's conversations with authors.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Michael Silverblatt in 2005. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times