Alex Espinoza is the author of The Five Acts of Diego León.
Before becoming a novelist and educator, I was a manager at a shop in Santa Monica, Calif., selling sofas and custom-framed art to movie stars and wealthy Angelinos. Eventually I grew frustrated and, determined to reinvent myself as a writer, I quit and went back to school.
Christina Baker Kline's new novel, Orphan Train, is partially set in 1929, mere months before the stock market crash that would trigger the Great Depression. A young Irish girl, Niamh (pronounced "Neeve"), has just lost her entire family after a fire ripped through their tenement building. She is turned over to authorities who put her on a train bound for the Midwest. The train is filled with dozens of other children who have lost their families in one way or another; they are now hoping that their journey will connect them with new parents and a new, better life.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, Weekend Edition is hearing from young poets about what poetry means to them. This week, they spoke with Harmony Holiday, a New York poet and dance choreographer who's spending this month archiving audio of overlooked and often misunderstood poetry for The Beautiful Voices Project.
In the coming weeks, the Obama administration plays host to the leaders of several Middle Eastern nations, including the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan.
They are coming, in part, to register their concerns about the ongoing violence in Syria and to nudge the Obama administration to do more to tip the balance in favor of the rebels trying to oust President Bashar Assad.