Amyjo Savannah

Southern Soul

Soundtrack Commisions

Arts & Letters - “Paintings on Fire”

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, University of Central Arkansas writer and professor John Vanderslice talks about his book Days On Fire. The novel explores the tumultuous days of painter Vincent Van Gogh from his early life in Holland to his hospitalization in St. Paul's Asylum in Saint Remy. Along the way, we discuss Van Gogh's many obsessions, including the painter's relationships with religion, women, family and work. “Stretched across his bed, he stared at the squat window. Through the small square of glass, he saw the world outside like a landscape on the wall: the broad flat field that lay to the east and abutted a collection of winter bare trees, stoic and senseless. That's how he would paint this place he saw from his cell window--this studio Peyron had allowed him--even if these colors never really registered in his eyes."

Arts & Letters - “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with writer and teacher Ed Tarkington. His first novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart, published by Algonquin Books in 2016, "happens in moments."

The book "explores the city limits of fictional Spencerville, its grassy fields and horse farms, Georgian style homes and stately colonial manses and its inhabitants filled up with guilty ghosts from the past." Secrets, ghosts, old money gone bad, violence and malicious intent are all hallmarks of Tarkington’s story, set in mountains of Virginia.

Arts & Letters - “All Wars Are Civil Wars”

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we explore the historical fiction of Andrew Malan Milward's collection,  I Was A Revolutionary, interrogates historical Kansas from the Civil War to the present through literary fiction and artifacts, including Wikipedia entries, photographs, maps and satirical cartoons. We discuss two stories from Milward's collection: "The Burning of Lawrence" and "O Death." The first story, "The Burning of Lawrence" examines William Clarke Quantrill's raid of  Lawrence, Kansas in 1863; the second story "O Death" talks about Exodusters: African American migrants who made their way to Nicodemus, Kansas after the war. The stories bespeak of current societal divisions and of the plight of migrants.

Arts & Letters - “Occupying Our Space”

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with writer and University of Arizona associate professor Cristina Devereaux Ramírez about her book Occupying Our Space: The Mestiza Rhetorics of Mexican Women Journalists and Activists, 1875-1942, published by The University of Arizona Press. In the book, Ramírez sheds new light on the contributions of Mexican women journalists and activists during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, marked as the zenith of Mexican journalism."Occupying Our Space is a feminist rhetorical recovery project that attempts to answer the question of which Mexican women journalists and activists were at the forefront of claiming a discursive puesto, or public space, and how they sometimes succeeded and many times failed."

Arts & Letters - “A Million Lights on the Boulevard”

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with writer Stewart O'Nan about his historical novel, West of Sunset

Published by Viking, the novel is a fictional account, beginning in 1937, of the last three years of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's life. It weaves a tale of his notorious romp through Hollywood; his affair with gossip columnist, Sheilah Graham; his attempts to salvage his writing career; and whatever was left of his marriage to Zelda, locked away in an asylum. Many portray these years as wasted years, yet Fitzgerald's work on many Hollywood films, including Gone With The Wind, left an indelible impression on the Golden Age of Hollywood. 

Arts & Letters - “Louder than Bombs”

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Scottish writer Brian Conaghan. His novel for young adults, The Bombs That Brought Us Together, published by Bloomsbury, is an all-to-relevant fable about language and loss, regimes and refugees and the forging of a common ground in the midst of real and perceived intractable differences between Old Country and Little Town. The Bombs That Brought Us Together tells the story of fourteen year-old Charlie Law, and his new friend Pavel Duda, a refugee, who recently immigrated from Old Country. As the tension between Old Country and Little Town erupts into a bombing campaign, Charlie and Pav find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Charlie tries to teach Pav the lingo and the ways of Little Town as they work together to survive.  . 

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Written & Performed By: Amyjo Savannah

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