Art Beat

A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.

Fridays in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Jane Parikh / SW Michigan's Second Wave

Sandy Wehling is white. Thelma Vaughn is black. They belong to a book club in Battle Creek called Sacred Conversations. It brings together people from churches of different denominations who take on racial healing by reading books, sharing personal stories, and building personal relationships.

Courtesy Kurt Luchs

Kurt Luchs has a ready laugh. The moment you think he’s serious, he’s not. For much of his life, Luchs has written comedy and humor for TV, radio, and in books. But then he decided to get serious, and and the humor writer became a poet.

Kalamazoo native Shonda Buchanan now lives in California. She moved, in part, to put some distance between herself and her family. A poet, educator, journalist, and professor, Buchanan is the daughter of mixed blood — tri-racial and tri-ethnic African-American, American Indian, and European-American - families who migrated to southwest Michigan from North Carolina and Virginia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Buchanan tells her story in the new memoir, Black Indian (Wayne State University Press, 2019).

Carlos Osorio / AP Photo

We’ve all heard her name —and his: Rachael Denhollander, the first survivor to expose serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar. Her voice allowed 156 women to be heard at Nassar’s trial in January 2018.

Tim Hawkins

He calls it a famine. Seven years have gone by since Tim Hawkins’ first book, Wanderings at Deadline (Aldrich Press, 2012), was published. But this year, famine has turned to feast. Two more of Hawkins’ poetry collections— Jeremiad Johnson (ICOE Press, 2019) and Synchronized Swimmers (KYSO Flash Press, 2019) — have made it to the bookshelf. And he’s just announced that a fourth book is on its way.