Jay Allison and Mary Oliver, tomorrow night


Edward R. Murrow hosted the first This I Believe radio program in the 1950s, which he introduced by musing, “What truths can a human being afford to furnish the cluttered nervous room of his mind with, when he has no real idea how long a lease he has on the future?” So very Murrow. The program asked Americans to explain their most closely held beliefs; it was recently resurrected by public-radio guru JAY ALLISON and his producer, Dan Gediman. Allison solicits submissions from ordinary folks rather than limiting it to household names. The result is This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women — the NPR junkie’s version of Chicken Soup for the Soul. New essays are interspersed with original compositions, so the stories range from statements by a Burmese immigrant to a piece by Hellen Keller. WGBH’s TONY KAHN and author ALAN LIGHTMAN join Allison for a Books & Brews reading at Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut St, Newtonville | 7:30 pm | free | 617.244.6619.


Anyone who has ever hugged a tree seems to lurve MARY OLIVER, and who can blame them, considering her Pulitzer Prize winning poetry pays tribute to the natural world in a manner that has earned her comparisons to Whitman and Thoreau. There’s a wild mix of beauty and terror in all of her confessional verses, from the quiet serenity of her morning walks in Provincetown and her observations of wild geese, to the way she compares death to a hungry bear. In Thirst, Oliver’s latest collection, grief over her longtime partner’s passing and a strong sense of spirituality figures prominently, but she has never stopped looking at the world with the eyes of a writer amazed by its organic wonders. We're told tickets are sold out, but there will be a waiting line outside the theatre for stragglers/desperate Oliver-heads. Let her guide you to the forest and back when she reads at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St, Brookline |Nov 29 @ 6 pm | $2 | 617.566.6660.

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