In 2008, jazz pianist Fred Hersch slipped into an AIDS-related coma for more than two months. When he came out of the coma, he couldn't walk, eat or play piano. Hersch explains how he rebuilt himself after his illness and composed music for his latest album, Whirl.
Poet and novelist Paul Monette. He died of complications from the AIDS virus in 1995, at age 49. His 1988 book "Borrowed Time: An Aids Memoir," was the first such memoir to be published about AIDS, and won a National Book Award. In it, Monette told the story of his "beloved" friend and lover's two year struggle with AIDS. The book was called "a gallant, courageous love story." In 1992, Monette wrote a memoir about his own life before he came out of the closet at the age of 25, "Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story," (REBROADCAST FROM 7/20/92)
Dr. Jonathan Mann talks about the state of AIDS across the globe, as well as the speculations about an AIDS vaccine. (Today is World Aids Day.) Mann was the founding director of the World Health Organization's Global Program on AIDS, and has just been named Dean of the School of Public Health at the Allegheny University of Health Sciences in Philadelphia. He also co-edited "AIDS in the World."
Novelist R.S. Jones. His first novel, Force of Gravity was published in 1991. One reviewer called it, "a moving, acutely intelligent story about going insane." He's just published his second novel, Walking on Air (Houghton Mifflin) about a man who is dying of AIDS. A reviewer for The New York Times writes, "The novel's power resides in its almost total refusal to do anything but starkly describe this process, to trace the effects of the disease on this suffering man and his two friends. It rings true from start to finish."
Poet Mark Doty's newest book of poems called Atlantis reflects back on the life and death of his longtime lover who died of AIDS last year. His last collection, My Alexandria (University of Illinois Press). won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle award. (Rebroadcast of 12/1/1994)
Essex Hemphill was a poet who's written about being black and gay and edited anthologies of black gay poets. He died this year. During our interview, last year, he read from his work "Vital Signs" which was written in 1993 after he discovered how low his T-cell count had fallen. Hemphill also wrote two poetry books Earth Life and Conditions and a collection called Ceremonies. He was also the editor of Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men. (Rebroadcast of 12/1/1994)