49 episodes

One poem. One guest. Each episode, Kamran Javadizadeh, a poetry critic and professor of English, talks to a different leading scholar of poetry about a single short poem that the guest has loved. You'll have a chance to see the poem from the expert's perspective—and also to think about some big questions: How do poems work? What can they make happen? How might they change our lives?

Close Readings Kamran Javadizadeh

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 65 Ratings

One poem. One guest. Each episode, Kamran Javadizadeh, a poetry critic and professor of English, talks to a different leading scholar of poetry about a single short poem that the guest has loved. You'll have a chance to see the poem from the expert's perspective—and also to think about some big questions: How do poems work? What can they make happen? How might they change our lives?

    Huda Fakhreddine on Hiba Abu Nada ("Pull Yourself Together")

    Huda Fakhreddine on Hiba Abu Nada ("Pull Yourself Together")

    What can a poem do in the face of calamity? This was an extraordinary conversation. Huda Fakhreddine [https://nelc.sas.upenn.edu/people/huda-fakhreddine] joins the podcast to discuss "Pull Yourself Together [https://wordswithoutborders.org/read/article/2024-01/pull-yourself-together-and-seven-skies-of-homeland-hiba-abu-nada-huda-fakhreddine/]," a poem that Huda has translated into English and that was written by the Palestinian poet, novelist, and educator Hiba Abu Nada. Hiba was killed by an Israeli airstrike in her home in the Gaza Strip on October 20, 2023. She was 32 years old. 

    In the episode, Huda describes watching a clip of Hiba reading the poem. You can find that clip here [https://youtu.be/G21gSWYWh4Y?si=I_bjrAZahNud5lhX].

    Huda Fakhreddine is Associate Professor of Arabic literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She works on modernist movements and trends in Arabic poetry and their relationship to the Arabic literary tradition. She is the author of Metapoeisis in the Arabic Tradition [https://brill.com/display/title/31773] (Brill, 2015) and The Arabic Prose Poem: Poetic Theory and Practice [https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-the-arabic-prose-poem.html] (Edinburgh UP, 2021) and the co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Poetry [https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Arabic-Poetry/Stetkevych-Fakhreddine/p/book/9780367562359] (Routledge, 2023). She is also a prolific translator of Arabic poetry: you can find another of her translations of HIba Abu Nada in Protean [https://proteanmag.com/2023/11/03/i-grant-you-refuge/]. Follow Huda on Twitter [https://twitter.com/FakhreddineHuda].

    Please follow the podcast if you like what you hear, and leave a rating and review. Share an episode with a friend. You can also subscribe to my Substack [https://kamranjavadizadeh.substack.com/], where you'll get occasional updates on the podcast and my other work.

    • 1 hr 30 min
    Emily Wilson on Sappho ("Ode to Aphrodite")

    Emily Wilson on Sappho ("Ode to Aphrodite")

    This is the kind of conversation I dreamed about having when I began this podcast. Emily Wilson [https://www.emilyrcwilson.com/] joins Close Readings to talk about Sappho's "Ode to Aphrodite [https://public.websites.umich.edu/~celueb/sappho-poems/single-page/]," a poet and poem at the root of the lyric tradition in European poetry. You'll hear Emily read the poem in the Ancient Greek and then again in Anne Carson's English translation. We talk about the nature of erotic desire, what it's like to have a crush, and how a poem can be like a spell. 

    Emily Wilson is Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she holds the College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor of the Humanities. She is a celebrated translator of Homer, having translated both The Odyssey [https://www.emilyrcwilson.com/the-odyssey] and, more recently, The Iliad [https://www.emilyrcwilson.com/the-iliad-sept-2023] (both from Norton). Wilson has also published translations of Euripides, Sophocles, and Seneca—and is the author of three monographs: The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca (Oxford, 2014), The Death of Socrates: Hero, Villain, Chatterbox, Saint (Harvard, 2007), and Mocked with Death: Tragic Overliving from Sophocles to Milton (Johns Hopkins, 2004). You can follow Emily on Twitter [https://twitter.com/emilyrcwilson].

    If you like what you hear, please follow the podcast and leave a rating and review. Share an episode with a friend! And subscribe to my Substack [https://kamranjavadizadeh.substack.com/], where you'll get very occasional updates on the podcast and my other work.

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Robert Volpicelli on W. H. Auden ("In Memory of W. B. Yeats")

    Robert Volpicelli on W. H. Auden ("In Memory of W. B. Yeats")

    "Poetry," according to this episode's poem, "makes nothing happen." But as our guest, Robert Volpicelli [https://www.rmc.edu/profile/robert-a-volpicelli/], makes clear, that poem, W. H. Auden's "In Memory of W. B. Yeats [https://poets.org/poem/memory-w-b-yeats]," offers that statement not as diminishment of poetry but instead as a way of valuing it for the right reasons.

    Robert Volpicelli is an associate professor of English at Randolph-Macon College and the author of Transatlantic Modernism and the US Lecture Tour [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/transatlantic-modernism-and-the-us-lecture-tour-9780192893383?cc=us&lang=en&] (Oxford UP, 2021). That book, which won the Modernist Studies Association's first book prize, will be out in paperback in April 2024. Bob's articles have appeared in journals like PMLA, NOVEL, Modernism/modernity, Textual Practice, and Twentieth-Century Literature. He and I co-edited and wrote a brief introduction for "Poetry Networks [https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/41709]," a special issue of the journal College Literature (a journal for which Bob has since become an associate editor). 

    As ever, if you like what you hear, please follow the podcast and leave a rating and review. Share an episode with a friend! And subscribe to my Substack [https://kamranjavadizadeh.substack.com/], where you'll get very occasional updates on the pod and my writing.

    • 1 hr 52 min
    Margaret Ronda on Walt Whitman ("This Compost")

    Margaret Ronda on Walt Whitman ("This Compost")

    How does life grow from death? When we taste a fruit, are we, in some sense, ingesting everything the soil contains? Margaret Ronda [https://english.ucdavis.edu/people/mronda] joins the podcast to discuss a poem that poses these questions in harrowing ways, Walt Whitman's  "This Compost [https://poets.org/poem/compost]."

    [A note on the recording: from 01:10:11 - 01:12:59, Margaret briefly loses her internet connection and I awkwardly vamp. Apologies! Rest assured the remainder of the episode goes off without a hitch!]

    Margaret Ronda is an associate professor of English at UC-Davis, where she specializes in American poetry from the nineteenth century to the present. She is the author of Remainders: American Poetry at Nature's End [https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=28109] (Post*45 Series, Stanford UP, 2018), and her articles have appeared in such journals as American Literary History [https://academic.oup.com/alh/article-abstract/34/4/1389/6833096?redirectedFrom=fulltext&login=false], Post45 Contemporaries [https://post45.org/2023/06/abortions-poetic-figures/], and PMLA [https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/pmla/article/abs/work-and-wait-unwearying-dunbars-georgics/58F494BAF1F14008449165A565E34966] (for which she won the William Riley Parker Prize). She is also the author of two books of poetry, both published by Saturnalia Books: For Hunger [https://www.ipgbook.com/for-hunger-products-9781947817999.php?page_id=32&pid=SIA] (2018) and Personification [https://www.ipgbook.com/personification-products-9780981859156.php?page_id=32&pid=SIA] (2010). You can follow Margaret on Twitter [https://twitter.com/mronda77].

    As ever, if you enjoy the episode, please follow the pod and leave a rating and review. Share an episode with a friend! And sign up for my Substack [https://kamranjavadizadeh.substack.com/], where you'll get occasional updates on the pod and my other work. 

    • 1 hr 49 min
    Michelle A. Taylor on Patricia Lockwood ("The Ode on Grecian Urn")

    Michelle A. Taylor on Patricia Lockwood ("The Ode on Grecian Urn")

    What is a poem worth? What does beauty do to the person who wants it, or to the person who makes it? Michelle A. Taylor [https://twitter.com/scriblerian] joins the pod to talk about Patricia Lockwood's poem "The Ode on a Grecian Urn [https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/143936/the-ode-on-a-grecian-urn]," a wild and funny and ultimately quite moving poem (which is also, obviously, a riff on Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn [https://poets.org/poem/ode-grecian-urn]").

    Michelle A. Taylor is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University's Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry [https://fchi.emory.edu/home/fellows/index.html]. Michelle is  a scholar of 20th century literature, and more specifically, literary modernism. She is currently finishing her first book, tentatively titled Clique Lit: Coterie Culture and the Making of Modernism. Her academic essays have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, Modernist Cultures [https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/mod.2023.0403], College Literature [https://muse.jhu.edu/article/746213/summary], Modernism/ modernity Print+ [https://modernismmodernity.org/forums/posts/discomfort], Literary Imagination [https://academic.oup.com/litimag/article-abstract/21/3/324/5583714], and Modernist Archives: A Handbook [https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/bloomsbury-handbook-of-modernist-archives-9781350450592/], and she has also written essays and reviews for The Point [https://thepointmag.com/author/mtaylor/], Post45 Contemporaries [https://post45.org/2021/05/come-slowly-eden/], The Fence [https://www.the-fence.com/author/dr-michelle-alexis-taylor/], Poetry Foundation [https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/158199/because-i-have-not-existed], the Financial Times Magazine [https://www.ft.com/content/1e1342ea-97ae-4816-aa6f-3b7158f72df2], and The New Yorker [https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-secret-history-of-t-s-eliots-muse]. She received her PhD in English from Harvard in 2021, and from 2021 to 2023, she was the Joanna Randall-MacIver Junior Research Fellow at St Hilda's College, Oxford.

    If you like what you hear, please follow the podcast and leave a rating and review. Share an episode with a friend! And subscribe to my Substack [https://kamranjavadizadeh.substack.com/], where you'll get the occasional update on the pod and on my other work.

    • 1 hr 56 min
    Sylvie Thode on Tim Dlugos ("The Far West")

    Sylvie Thode on Tim Dlugos ("The Far West")

    How might a poem map the passage from life to death? Sylvie Thode [https://english.berkeley.edu/people/sylvie-thode] joins the podcast to talk about a fascinating poem by Tim Dlugos, "The Far West [https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RvLedWDwYwdtdVOJQ3wh4yessLsitBlz/view?usp=drive_link]." 

    Sylvie is a graduate student in English at UC Berkeley, where she works on poetry and poetics, with particular interest in the poetry of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Though that focus roots her in the 20th century, she has written on poetry from a range of time periods. Her writing has appeared in Victorian Poetry [https://muse.jhu.edu/article/856456], Chicago Review [https://www.chicagoreview.org/drew-daniel-joy-of-the-worm/], Cambridge Literary Review [https://cambridgeliteraryreview.wordpress.com/issue-13/], and Jacket2 [https://jacket2.org/reviews/writing-trauma-silence-and-stillness]. You can follow her on Twitter [https://twitter.com/sylviethode].

    Please follow, rate, and review the podcast if you like what you hear. Share an episode with a friend! And subscribe to my Substack [https://kamranjavadizadeh.substack.com/], where you'll get an occasional update on the pod and my other work.

    • 1 hr 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
65 Ratings

65 Ratings

blast3blur4got ,

The Actual Rapper Cam'Ron ,

A Kitten in the Wilderness

a perfect podcast for we [who] can still love the world

poetryfan13 ,

So Good

I love this podcast. For listeners looking to find an approachable way to begin accessing conversations around poetry, this is the perfect program. Its host is insightful and his voice is very sexy. I would love for Kamran to do an episode based on a poem of his own choosing. Poetry fan been waiting for an H.D. episode!

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