KGOU

poetry

Achy Obejas On Cuba, Rupture And Literature

Feb 16, 2018
Achy Obejas
Kaloian

Even though Achy Obejas’s family left Cuba when she was very young, the island nation has an enormous influence on her work.

Poet Valzhyna Mort reading at the 2015 Neustadt Festival opening night, October 21, 2015.
Tyler Christian / World Literature Today (Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Valzhyna Mort grew up in Belarus as the Soviet Union collapsed, and she’s spent her entire career using poetry to dispel misconceptions and bring her country out of Russia’s shadow.

“A great myth was that it was a really big reading nation, and I don’t know if it was really true, in terms of how much reading was done,” Mort told KGOU’s World Views. “But it’s certainly true that every household had a library. No matter what your parents did, how educated they were, you had a library.”

Poet Mahtem Shiferraw’s collection of poetry Fuchsia examines personal displacement and nomadism from the perspective of immigrants.

Shiferraw, who grew up in Eritrea and Ethiopia before moving to Los Angeles, says she was inspired by poetry as a child. She attended an Italian school in Ethiopia, where she was immersed in a culture that embraced poetry.

Poet Sasha Pimentel at the KGOU studios.
Storme Jones / KGOU

Even though she doesn’t speak Arabic and is not a Muslim, poet Sasha Pimentel says the call to prayer in Saudi Arabia has influenced her work.

World Views: August 15, 2014

Aug 15, 2014

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about the first woman to win math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, and North Korea’s missile test this week as Pope Francis visits South Korea.

Later, a conversation with classical Persian scholar Austin O’Malley. He says the language’s stability drew him to study centuries-old Near Eastern poetry.

Khayyam And Rumi: How Ancient Persian Poems Resonate In Modern Culture

Aug 15, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

When Austin O’Malley decided to take a Persian class during his last year of college, he had no idea it would become his life-long passion.

“I got a taste for it,” O’Malley says. “And that was very exciting on a personal level, and also sort of enlightening when you start seeing how language or literature works.”

World Views: July 25, 2014

Jul 25, 2014

It’s been a busy month for U.S. foreign policy, and Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise talk about how the United States has responded to multiple crises - from the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, to the situation in Gaza.

Later, a conversation with Venezuelan poet Arturo Gutierrez-Plaza about the literature of Latin America. His work explores the small scenes of everyday life.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Venezuelan poet Arturo Gutierrez-Plaza has spent his career crafting poems exploring the scenes of everyday life. He told KGOU’s World Views he views poetry as a way to maintain the experience of childhood discovery as you learn new words, and how to use those words to unfold the tapestry of language.

World Views: January 31, 2014

Jan 31, 2014

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss the 2014 State of the Union address and some of the foreign policy objectives President Obama outlined in Tuesday night’s speech.

Later, a conversation about migration and identity with Iranian-American novelist Laleh Khadivi, and Palestinian-American poet and physician Fady Joudah.

Iranian, Palestinian Authors Reflect On Migration And Identity In Literature

Jan 30, 2014
Laleh Khadivi reading from her work during the 2013 Neustadt Festival - October 30, 2013.
Jen Rickard Blair / World Literature Today

Novelist Laleh Khadivi grew up with a Kurdish father, and was raised in a “household full of stories” about that experience, even though she identifies more with her Iranian heritage.

She’s in the process of completing a trilogy of novels exploring Kurdish migration. Khadivi’s research examines the challenges the modern state system places on diaspora communities.

World Views: December 27, 2013

Dec 27, 2013

Joshua Landis, Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot revisit the global predictions they made this time last year, and also look ahead to their expectations for politics, economics, culture, and society in 2014.

Later, a conversation with poet Lauren Camp and author Deji Olukotun about technology’s effect on literature.

illuminated keyboard
Jeroen Bennink / Flickr

Author and attorney Deji Olukotun compares the growth and development of digital technology over the last decade to a spectrum, with highly-polished published work on one end, and tweeting and texting on the opposite.

“It’s making writing and communicating and expressing yourself more democratic, and that includes repressive countries,” Olukotun says. “At the same time, there’s still a value for quality and for craft.”

Olukotun works on digital freedom cases for the PEN American Center in New York.