8 episodes

The Belletrist podcast features classic poetry and short fiction read with commentary from a former English prof. who hates the way contemporary universities have abandoned the reading of Literature in favor of grievance studies. Pieces range from ancient literature to mid-20th century. Belletrist: A term for one who loves Literature for its intrinsic and aesthetic properties. It is often used as a derogatory term within English studies.

The Belletrist Podcast w/ Dave Stephens Dave Stephens

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 14 Ratings

The Belletrist podcast features classic poetry and short fiction read with commentary from a former English prof. who hates the way contemporary universities have abandoned the reading of Literature in favor of grievance studies. Pieces range from ancient literature to mid-20th century. Belletrist: A term for one who loves Literature for its intrinsic and aesthetic properties. It is often used as a derogatory term within English studies.

    Episode 8: The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

    Episode 8: The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

    In this episode we walk through one of the most heavily cited and plundered poems of all time. "The Second Coming" is an apocalyptic vision that vividly describes the chaos which accompanies the breakdown of human civilization. The poem is most often cited during times of war, or civil unrest. Countless novels and news articles have been titled after lines from this poem.

    Enjoy!

    Original Theme Music by Van Clifton

    • 21 min
    Episode 7: The Haystack in the Floods by William Morris

    Episode 7: The Haystack in the Floods by William Morris

    In this episode I read the unusual and haunting poem, "The Haystack in the Floods," by William Morris. This poem is a 19th Century work by a member of what was called "the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood." We discuss some of the interesting and culturally important elements of this movement, and how it translates in modern values such as the craftsmanship movement and Quentin Tarantino movies.

    Enjoy!

    Original Theme Music by Van Clifton

    • 29 min
    Episode 6: A Clean Well-Lighted Place by Earnest Hemingway

    Episode 6: A Clean Well-Lighted Place by Earnest Hemingway

    In this episode of the podcast I read the classic short story, "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" by Earnest Hemingway. We talk a bit about Hemingway's intensely interesting life, his mother's penchant for dressing him up as a little girl as a toddler, his suicide, and his life long obsession with exploring the concept of courage. I also read a poem of Philip Larkin's, "Aubade," in the way of contrast to Heminway's stance toward death. 

    Enjoy.

    Original Theme Music by: Van Clifton

    • 36 min
    Episode 5: Terence, This is Stupid Stuff by AE Housman

    Episode 5: Terence, This is Stupid Stuff by AE Housman

    In this episode I read AE Housman's poem, "Terence This is Stupid Stuff," which explores the role of dark-themed poetry and literature. I do a selected close reading to explain a few of the lines that may be obscure to the modern ear. I also provide you with interesting and tragic details of Housman's life and unrequited love. Finally, I discuss the ways in which poetry and literature can help armor your soul for tragedy, and obtain "Asch-Milgram Negative" resilience. 

    I hope you enjoy it.

    Original theme music by Van Clifton

    Edit: Do you know the real problem with reading? It is this: One can read an author for decades. One can read analysis of their work from others. One can write papers on the author's work. You can do all of this. Yet one can still learn, to one's shrinking and cringing horror,  that you have been mis-pronouncing their silly, lacking-an-E-where-it-should-be, name in your brain for all this time! HOUSE-MAN. Not HOOS-MAN. Sigh. Every time you think you're Yoda, you fall face-first into the swamp and realize you're still Luke with a sunken X-Wing fighter that someday needs to be lifted. 

    This will happen again. I'm sure of it. 

    • 28 min
    Episode 4: Dolce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    Episode 4: Dolce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    In this episode I read Wilfred Owen's gut-wrenching poem, "Dolce Et Decorum Est," which he wrote to describe his experiences in the trenches of World War One. We discuss the way in which war poetry contrasted with official government propaganda and began to kindle public awareness of the horror of modern warfare. 

    This is not the easiest poem to get through, but it's worth having in your brain.

    Original Music by Van Clifton

    • 15 min
    Episode 3: Breakfast by John Steinbeck

    Episode 3: Breakfast by John Steinbeck

    In this episode I read Steinbeck's very short story, "Breakfast," from his collection The Long Valley. We discuss the importance of imagery, or sensory descriptions, in vividly imagined fiction and how the subconscious brain cannot distinguish between vividly imagined events and reality. I also read an example of 20th century Marxist literary theory to demonstrate the anemia of such "analysis" when it comes to elucidating the actual worth of Literature (with an unapologetic capital 'L'). 

    I hope you enjoy it.

    Original Music by Van Clifton

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Dos Gatos Forge ,

My newest addiction

I had never heard this poem before, at least not that I can remember. Not that I’ve read much poetry mind you. It made me feel somewhat bolstered in that I found the pagan imagery at the end quite refreshing for what started out seemingly as a Christian themed vision. The discussion and dissection by Dave was enlightening as always.
I will forever cherish the phrase “the duct tape of figurative language”.

cpmunden ,

I am Belletrist

I was looking for a reading of one of my favorite stories and most enjoyed the Belletrist’s voice. Listened to the analysis that followed and he read one of my favorite poems too. Have since enjoyed the criticism and readings of other works I know and love and the introduction to more great poems. Somewhat fearful that his center-right politics will creep more into the podcast, but I now know that I too am a Belletrist.

PythonPython ,

A gem

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this podcast. Dave Stephens delivers insightful analysis coupled with his fabulous oration. Your life will be the richer for listening!

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