• Summary

  • Interview with Poets about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/poetry
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Episodes
  • May 26 2022
    Walt Whitman knew a great deal about democracy that we don’t. Most of that knowledge is concentrated in one stunning poem, Song of Myself. In Song of Ourselves: Walt Whitman and the Fight for Democracy (Harvard UP, 2021), esteemed cultural and literary thinker Mark Edmundson offers a bold reading of the 1855 poem, included here in its entirety. He finds in the poem the genesis and development of a democratic spirit, for the individual and the nation. Whitman broke from past literature that he saw as “feudal”: obsessed with the noble and great. He wanted instead to celebrate the common and everyday. Song of Myself does this, setting the terms for democratic identity and culture in America. The work captures the drama of becoming an egalitarian individual, as the poet ascends to knowledge and happiness by confronting and overcoming the major obstacles to democratic selfhood. In the course of his journey, the poet addresses God and Jesus, body and soul, the love of kings, the fear of the poor, and the fear of death. The poet’s consciousness enlarges; he can see more, comprehend more, and he has more to teach. In Edmundson’s account, Whitman’s great poem does not end with its last line. Seven years after the poem was published, Whitman went to work in hospitals, where he attended to the Civil War’s wounded, sick, and dying. He thus became in life the democratic individual he had prophesied in art. Even now, that prophecy gives us words, thoughts, and feelings to feed the democratic spirit of self  Jonathan Najarian is Lecturer of Rhetoric in the College of General Studies at Boston University. He is the editor of Comics and Modernism: History, Form, Culture, a collection of essays exploring the connections between avant-garde art and comics. He is also at work on a biography of the visual artist Lynd Ward, titled The Many Lives of Lynd Ward. He can be reached at joncn@bu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/poetry
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    52 mins
  • May 19 2022
    Since the original airing of this episode in June 2021, Roger Reeves' second book Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. was published by W.W. Norton, and the paperback edition of David Ferry's translation of The Aeneid was published by the University of Chicago Press. The underworld, that repository of the Shades of the Dead, gets a lot of traffic from heroes (Gilgamesh, Theseus, Odysseus, Aeneas) and poets (Orpheus, Virgil, Dante). Some come down for information or in hopes of rescuing or just seeing their loved ones, or perhaps for a sense of comfort in their grief. They often find those they have loved, but they rarely can bring them back. Comfort they never find, at least not in any easy way. In conversation with Elizabeth for this episode of Recall this Book, originally broadcast back in 2021, poets Roger Reeves and David Ferry join the procession through the underworld, each one leading the other. They talk about David’s poem Resemblance, in which he sees his father, whose grave he just visited, eating in the corner of a small New Jersey restaurant and “listening to a conversation/With two or three others—Shades of the Dead come back/From where they went to when they went away?” Roger reads “Grendel’s Mother,” in which the worlds of Grendel and Orpheus and George Floyd coexist but do not resemble each other, and where Grendel’s mother hears her dying son and refuses the heaven he might be called to, since entering it means he’d have to die. Mentioned in this episode David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations, University of Chicago Press Virgil, The Aeneid, translated by David Ferry, University of Chicago Press Roger Reeves, Error! Hyperlink reference not valid., Copper Canyon Press Jonathan Culler, Theory of the Lyric , Harvard University Press. Read transcript of the episode here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/poetry
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    47 mins
  • May 17 2022
    This intricate, yearning work from award-winning poet Alison Calder asks us to think about the way we perceive and the ways in which we seek to know ourselves and others. In Synaptic (University of Regina Press, 2022) each section explores key themes in science, neurology, and perception. The first, Connectomics, riffs on scientific language to work with and against that language’s intentions. Attempting to map the brain’s neural connections, it raises fundamental questions about interiority and the self. The lyric considerations in these poems are juxtaposed against the scientific-like footnotes which, in turn, invoke questions undermining authority and power. The second section, Other Disasters, explores ways of seeing or and being seen, from considerations of folklore to modern art to daily life. Sine Yaganoglu trained as a neuroscientist and bioengineer (PhD, ETH Zurich). She currently works in innovation management and diagnostics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/poetry
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    47 mins

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