Inspired Lives

Airs Wednesdays at 7:35 a.m. on NHPR

Inspired Lives, produced in conjunction with  Story Preservation Initiative™,  is a series of first-hand accounts of influential individuals who have taken their inspiration from their time in New England.

Mary Kuechenmeister started work on Story Preservation Initiative™ in 2010. Unofficially, Mary says she’s  been at it her whole life. Story Preservation Initiative represents the culmination of everything she’s ever done and everything she loves doing: writing, editing, and broadcast. And, of course, the added bonus she says, is meeting truly remarkable people.

Mary attributes her abiding interest in people’s life stories to many things, but mostly to two men who struck a chord in her very early on: Charles Kuralt, the quintessential On the Road reporter; and John Steinbeck, vis-à-vis "Travels with Charley" and "Log from the Sea of Cortez." Both men subscribed to the notion that everyone has a story. Mary says that she has never lost sight of that simple truth.

In her own words:

NH News
10:10 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Poet Maxine Kumin Has Died At Age 88

Credit Poetry Foundation

The Pulitzer-winning poet Maxine Kumin died Thursday at her home in Warner, where she and her husband lived for almost four decades. 

Born in Philadelphia, Maxine Kumin taught at Universities in Boston.  But, hating the city, Kumin and her husband moved to a farm in Warner, which they called the “Pobiz” farm. They lived together there for almost four decades, where they raised horses and grew vegetables. 

From 1981-1981, Kumin served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in Washington DC, a role now called the US poet laureate.

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Inspired Lives
12:03 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Inspired Lives: Poet Maxine Kumin

Poet Maxine Kumin on the Exchange with Laura Knoy.

Maxine Kumin’s career has spanned over half a century. She's the recipient of  awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Kumin was the poetry consultant for the Library of Congress in 1981-1982, and has taught at many of the country’s most prestigious universities, including MIT, Princeton, and Columbia. Despite traveling away from home to lecture at schools and universities around the United States, Kumin has retained close ties with her farmhouse in rural New Hampshire.

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Inspired Lives
7:00 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Victor Kumin: A "Soldier Scientist" At Work On The Atomic Bomb

Victor Kumin.
Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin, Harvard graduate with a degree in Chemistry, helped create the Atomic Bomb under direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He lives in Warner, New Hampshire with his wife, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin. The two exchanged 575 letters back and forth during their courtship. These letters will be the subject of an article, written by Maxine, in the September 2012 issue of the American Scholar.

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Inspired Lives
7:00 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Inspired Lives: Jerry Carr

NASA-Astronaut Gerald Paul Carr
NASA

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Inspired Lives
7:00 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Inspired Lives: Michael Heaney

Michael Heaney
Michael Heaney

Michael Heaney, former platoon leader, returned to the spot where 46 years ago 10 of his men under his command were killed in an ambush by North Vietnamese soldiers. He returned to the land he calls "my valley of death" to reclaim a piece of his soul. He was the only member of his unit to survive an ambush by North Vietnamese soldiers in May 1966.

Heaney spent a great deal of time coming to realization that he had survived Operation Crazy Horse, the combat operation so fierce it is discussed in history books.

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Inspired Lives: Dana Dakin

Dana Dakin, founder of WomenTrust, Inc.
courtesy of Dana Dakin

Dana Dakin is the founder of WomenTrust Inc., a community-based microlending program in the village of Pokuase outside of Ghana’s capital city in West Africa. Dakin launched WomensTrust to help stimulate entrepreneurship and economic development. She fostered relationships with women clients to address the root cause of poverty in the area. The company started a scholarship program to keep girls in school. Dakin also sought to improve the maternal mortality rate in the region by integrating volunteer nurses into healthcare clinics.

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Inspired Lives
7:00 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Inspired Lives: David Carroll

Turtle Nesting in Moonlight
David Carroll, courtesy of the artist

Naturalist-artist David M. Carroll is the author of three acclaimed natural histories.  Swampwalker's Journal, for which he received the John Burroughs medal for distinguished nature writing, The Year of the Turtle, and Trout Reflections. David graduated from the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of New Hampshire and an Honorary Masters in Environmental Science from New England College. In 2006 he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

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Inspired Lives
9:08 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Inspired Lives: Artist Wolf Kahn

Wolf Kahn
Courtesy of the artist.

Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany  in 1927 and came to the United States when he was 12-years-old. He later served in the Navy during WWII, and in 1946, under the GI Bill, Kahn attended the Hans Hofmann School, studying under and becoming a studio assistant for Hans Hofmann. Later, Kahn graduated from the University of Chicago. His work in oil paint and pastel mediums share his signature vibrant style. He spends his time in both New York City and West Brattleboro, Vermont. Kahn's wife Emily Mason is also an artist.

TRANSCRIPT

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Arts & Culture
7:15 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Inspired Lives: Wesley McNair

Malcom Cochran
  • Wesley McNair tells us how he drew inspiration for his first poetry from his father's abandonment and family hardships. (broadcast on NHPR)
  • ~13 minute excerpt of the interview with Wesley McNair
  • Full interview

Award-winning poet and New Hampshire native Wesley McNair was born in Newport, grew up in the Connecticut River Valley, and has lived for many years in Mercer, Maine, the state for which he has been named Poet Laureate. Drawing from his personal experiences, McNair's poetry is emblematic of both family and economic hardships, and New England living.

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Arts & Culture
7:35 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Inspired Lives: Eric Aho

Eric Aho, Second Approach to the Mountain, 2012, Oil on linen, 90 x 80 inches. Courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York.
  • Eric Aho discusses his inspiration for his ice cut paintings. (broadcast on NHPR)
  • A ~6 minute excerpt of Eric Aho discussing his ice cut paintings.
  • Listen to the full interview with Eric Aho.

Eric Aho grew up in Hudson, New Hampshire and now lives just across the border in Saxtons River, Vermont. In the tradition of English painters like John Constable and the French Impressionists, Aho began sketching and painting out of doors using New England’s mountain vistas and rural valleys as his subjects. His early paintings capture dramatic effects of weather and sunlight in a muted pallet, while his more recent paintings are monumental in scale and employ bold colors.

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