Podcast Special: The Power of Words with Sendak and Lithgow

June 1, 2012

As a bonus podcast this week, we take a break from politics and public affairs to enjoy and reflect on the creative talents of Maurice Sendak and John Lithgow.

Maurice Sendak is gone, but his work lives on. In this unexpectedly candid 2004 interview, Sendak reveals some of the early childhood memories and surprisingly dark influences behind his work. Shaped by immigrant parents and the tragedy of the Holocaust, Sendak provides frank insight into his complicated psyche and a rare window into the soul of an acclaimed artist. He also discusses how he shaped the character of Max, the mischievous lead in his blockbuster book, and what he might have been like as an adult.

“People often say, ‘What happens to Max?’ It’s such a coy question that I always say, ‘Well, he’s in therapy forever. He has to wear a straitjacket when he’s with his therapist,’” Sendak told Moyers.

Later on the program, Bill talks with celebrated actor John Lithgow, whose imagination and gift for metaphor try to make rhyme or reason of it all. The award-winning stage and screen star shares his favorite poems, insights into acting, and thoughts on the enduring power of art.

“I’m a performer. And an entertainer. Almost everything I do, in these areas, is using words,” Lithgow tells Moyers. “And there are these three aspects to a turn of phrase: the meaning, the emotion, and the music.”

The Power of Words with Sendak and Lithgow
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