Tag Archives | Poetry

Harvard Critic Helen Vendler on Emily Dickinson

Note: This interview was broadcast on the WGBH sister stations WCAI/WNAN, Prairie Public Radio, WABE in Atlanta and on KUT in Austin, Texas.

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
When Helen Vendler was only 13, the future poetry critic and Harvard professor memorized several of Emily Dickinson’s more famous poems. They’ve stayed with her over the years, and today, she talks with ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh about one poem in particular that’s haunted her all this time.  It’s called I cannot live with You-
According to Vendler, whose authoritative Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries has recently been published, it’s a heartbreaking poem of an unresolvable dilemma, and ensuing despair.
Click here (18 minutes) to listen!

This interview is the first in a new ThoughtCast series which examines a specific piece of writing — be it a poem, play, novel, short story, work of non-fiction or scrap of papyrus — that’s had a significant influence on the interviewee, that’s shaped and moved them.

Up next – esteemed novelist and short story writer Tom Perrotta discusses Good Country People,  a short story by Flannery O’Connor that’s particularly meaningful to him.

Posted on February 3, 2011 in Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Literature, Poetry
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New England Poetry Club Prizewinner Richard Hoffman

Richard Hoffman

The New England Poetry Club is apparently the oldest poetry reading series in the country. It was founded in 1915 by Amy Lowell, Robert Frost and Conrad Aiken. This spring, it awarded its Sheila Motton Prize to Richard Hoffman for his book of poetry called Gold Star Road. Hoffman is the Chairman of PEN New England, the Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College, and the author of Half the House: a Memoir, Interference & Other Stories, and Without Paradise, his second book of poetry.
To listen to Richard read from “Gold Star Road” (42 minutes), click here!


Wendy Mnookin

A runner-up for the Sheila Motton Prize was Wendy Mnookin for her book of poetry The Moon Makes Its Own Plea. She teaches poetry at Emerson College and at Grub Street, a non-profit Boston writing center. Her previous books of poetry are What He Took, Guenever Speaks and To Get Here.

To listen to Wendy read from “The Moon Makes Its Own Plea” (28 minutes), click here!

Posted on April 4, 2010 in Poetry
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Poet Robert Pinsky takes on King David

Note: The WGBH sister stations WCAI and WNAN broadcast this interview, and it also received a 5 star review on PRX!

Robert Pinsky
Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky tackles King David of the Bible – the shepherd, poet, warrior and adulterer – in his “Life of David.”
Is David a legend? A real, flesh and blood warrior who killed Goliath, and united the 12 Jewish tribes into one nation? Robert Pinsky delves into these questions, and into David’s story, with relish.

David’s story has been told many times, and the tale has changed with each telling. There’s the David of the Hebrew Bible, and another version of his life in the Talmud. We know he slept with Bathsheba, but was this a sin? An act of love? Of violence? It depends on whom you ask.

David, who lived about 3000 years ago, was beloved of God, and as a result, he got away with more than his share. He was a seductive, wily politician, a doting father, a bitter old man. These contradictions in David’s character spur Pinsky on, and he adds his own twist to the tale, as you will hear, on ThoughtCast!
Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).
And click here to listen to a discussion with Robert Pinsky on Poetry and Democracy on the Forum Network.

Posted on March 22, 2006 in Literature, Poetry, Religion
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Virgil’s Georgics with award-winning Poet David Ferry

Note: This program was broadcast on April 8th 2007 on WGBH.

Click here to read a review of the interview on PRX.

David Ferry
Noted Cambridge poet David Ferry has recently translated Virgil’s Georgics, and on ThoughtCast he joins Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard’s Classics Dept., for a detailed examination of this beautiful and insufficiently known poem. It is said to have taken Virgil 7 years to write, from about 36 to 29 B.C.

 

Richard Thomas
As such, The Georgics was written during a period of political instability and chronic civil war, and inevitably reflects Virgil’s dark, often pessimistic outlook on human nature. But at the same time, The Georgics (which means “agriculture” in Greek), is a celebration of nature and its ceaseless beauty. As Virgil describes the cycles of crops, the seasons, the weather — the birth, death and rebirth that mark the natural world — he provides us with a complex, realistic, painful but enduringly uplifting poem.
Click here: to listen (29 minutes).


Click here  to listen to a lecture by David Ferry on his Georgics translation at the Harvard Book Store.

Posted on September 1, 2005 in Harvard Luminaries, History, Literature, Poetry
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