Former Shows & Episodes

Word Patriots

Mark Seinfelt

Word Patriots – Charnesky on Lowry

This week on Word Patriots, Jason Charnesky returns for one of our periodic shows devoted to past masters, heroic word patriots who overcame great obstacles, who wrote in new and innovative ways, or who defied convention by visiting formerly taboo topics and thereby opened new fields of exploration for literature. A poet and instructor of English, Jason Charnesky has written the lyrics and librettos for many works by composer Bruce Trinkley, including a trilogy of one-act comic operas: EVE’S ODDS, GOLDEN APPLE, and CLEO. A full-length opera, YORK: THE VOICE OF FREEDOM was filmed by PBS station WPSX. SANTA ROSALIA, a cantata based on a painting by Fernando Botero, was performed in Bogotá, Colombia in 2007. Jason and I will be discussing the works of Malcolm Lowry, one of the last century’s greatest writers, the author of “Under the Volcano,” and “October Ferry to Gabriola,” and the creator of one of modern fiction’s most memorable self-destructive characters, the Consul Geoffrey Firmin, the antihero of “Under the Volcano,” whose death is one of the saddest and dingiest in all literature. Most of the obstacles Lowry faced were of his own making, and in real life Firmin’s creator suffered an equally shabby death, an end every bit as preordained as the one he gave his alter ego and fictional stand-in and he was just as ripe for it. I still believe Lowry probably took his own life, but Jason cites new evidence suggesting that he might have been murdered. If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: To see and hear works by Bruce Trinkley and Jason Charnesky visit