Guest host Krista Tippett looks at issues of art, faith, and spirituality on her show “On Being.”  For this SELECTED SHORTS program, derived from a live evening she hosted at Symphony Space, she presents short fiction and poems that also confront these topics.
First, a clergyman is tempted in “The Strength of God, Concerning the Reverend Curtis Hartman,” by Sherwood Anderson.  The story was part of Anderson’s celebrated collection Winesberg, Ohio, a work that has influenced generations of writers since its publication in 1919.    It’s read by the multiple Tony Award-winning actor James Naughton, a regular SELECTED SHORTS leading man.
In Elizabeth Crane’s “You Must Be This Happy to Enter,” a time-travelling artist has a positive attitude.   It’s the title story of one of Crane’s short fiction collections, which also include Turf and When the Messenger is Hot.  She is also the author of the novels The History of Great Things, We Only Know So Much, and All This Heavenly Glory.  “You Must Be This Happy to Enter,” is read by Claire Danes, whose career includes the television series “My So-Called Life,” and “Homeland,” and the films “Little Women,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “The Hours,” and “Stardust.”
A gold digger has second thoughts in Anton Chekhov’s “An Enigmatic Nature,” read by Fionnula Flanagan.  Flanagan is often associated with the works of James Joyce, beginning with the 1967 film version of Ulysses and theatrical projects as “Ulysses in Nighttown,” and “James Joyce’s Women.”  She reads Molly Bloom’s soliloquy each year at Symphony Space’s “Bloomsday” celebration.  Flanagan’s other credits include featured roles on television programs such as “Murder She Wrote,” the “Star Trek” series, and “Brotherhood.”   On film she’s appeared in “The Others,” “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,”” Waking Ned,” and “Some Mother’s Son.”
Also featured on this show are poems by United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, “The Universe as Primal Scream,” and “The Universe: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack,” read by Smith, and “Everything Is Waiting for You,” by David Whyte, performed by Julie White.  White won a Tony Award winner for her performance in the play “The Little Dog Laughed,” and is also known for her work on the television series “Grace Under Fire.”
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