439 Poets’ Guide to Economics (with John Ramsden)

Sure, we know poets are experts in subjects like love, death, nightingales, and moonlight. But what about money? Isn’t that a little…beneath them? (Or at least out of their area of expertise?) In this episode, Jacke talks to author John Ramsden (The Poets’ Guide to Economics) about the contributions made by eleven poets to the field of economics. What did men like Defoe, Swift, Shelley, Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott, de Quincey, Ruskin, William Morris, George Bernard Shaw, Hilaire Belloc, and Ezra Pound get right? Where did they go wrong?

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Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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437 A Million Miracles Now – “A Bird, came down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson

Responding to a listener email, a heartbroken Jacke takes a close look at Emily Dickinson’s astonishing poem “A Bird, came down the Walk.”

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Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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431 Langston Hughes

Very few writers have had the influence or importance of Langston Hughes (1902?-1967). Best known for poems like “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “I, Too,” and “The Weary Blues,” Hughes was also a widely read novelist, short story writer, and essayist – and his promotion of Black people and culture became central to the cultural explosion known as the Harlem Renaissance. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Hughes’s early years, including his childhood, adolescence, and the poems Hughes wrote in his teens and twenties, as he forged his identity as a writer in the face of often intense criticism.

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Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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426 Matsuo Bashō – Haiku’s Greatest Master

In addition to being what is probably the most widely used poetic form, haiku is almost certainly the most often misunderstood. In this episode, Jacke examines the life and works of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), haiku’s greatest master, as he sorts through his thoughts on the uses (and potential misuses) of the haiku form. What makes much of it so bad? And how does that differ from what is truly great?

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Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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419 Christina Rossetti

It’s the Christina Rossetti episode! Jacke finally musters up the energy to finish what he started, and takes a look at one of the great poets of the Victorian era (and the creator of “Goblin Market,” one of the strangest poems he has ever read. How did this seemingly prim, even matronly woman, known for her religious devotion and for rejecting three suitors on mostly religious grounds, come to write such a bizarre and hedonistic poem? What did she say about posing for the pre-Raphaelites and their paintings? What did John Ruskin and Virginia Woolf say about her? Let’s find out!

Additional listening suggestions:

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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418 “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson

Because Jacke could not stop for the scheduled episode topics, a certain poem kindly stopped for him. Luckily it’s one of the greatest poems of all time! It’s by the 19th-century American genius Emily Dickinson, and it packs into seven short stanzas a journey through life, death, and the cosmos.

Read a copy of the poem here:

Because I could not stop for Death – (479)

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Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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416 William Blake vs the World (with John Higgs)

In his lifetime, the Romantic poet and engraver William Blake (1757-1827) was barely known and frequently misunderstood. Today, his genius is widely celebrated and his poems are some of the most famous in the English language – and yet we still struggle to comprehend his unique way of seeing the world. In this episode, Blakean biographer John Higgs, author of the new book William Blake vs. the World, joins Jacke to discuss Blake’s life, art, and visions.

Additional listening suggestions:

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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415 “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti

As a devout and passionate religious observer, Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) lived a life that might seem, at first glance, as proper and tame. Even some of her greatest works, devotional poems and verses for children, strike us as just the kind of art a fine upstanding moralist might generate. But there was more to Christina Rossetti than that – and in fact, she produced some of the most passionate and idiosyncratic poems of her era. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at her long narrative poem Goblin Market (1859-1862), about two sisters seduced by the fruits being sold by a pack of river goblins, which is one of the most sensationally bizarre poems Jacke has ever read.

Additional listening suggestions:

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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413 Walt Whitman – “Song of Myself”

In this episode, we resume our look at Walt Whitman’s life and body of work, focusing in particular on the years 1840-1855. Did Whitman’s teaching career end with him being tarred and feathered by an angry mob, as has long been rumored? What happened during his three months in New Orleans? And how did this printer and hack writer wind up writing the twelve poems in Leaves of Grass (1855), thereby becoming the “true poet” that Ralph Waldo Emerson had been searching for?

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Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

 

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411 Walt Whitman – A New Hope

In 1844, Ralph Waldo Emerson called for a new poet who would reflect the spirit and potential of America. In 1855, a then-unknown poet named Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass, his attempt to fulfill Emerson’s wish. In this episode, Jacke looks at Whitman’s early life and career, contrasting Leaves of Grass with the works of a pair of poets that Emerson may have had in mind when he railed against “men of poetical talents…of industry and skill in meter” who nevertheless failed to be what Emerson called “true poets.”

Additional listening suggestions:

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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