Close Readings

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford discuss the lives and works of 20th-century poets through the lens of pieces written about them in the LRB. Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley consider the lives and voices of women in medieval literature.

Among the Ancients: Aristophanes

Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones, 8 December 2021

7 December 2021 · 50mins

In this sample episode from their forthcoming Close Readings series, starting next year, Emily Wilson talks to Thomas Jones about the comedies of Aristophanes, in particular Clouds and Lysistrata.

Encounters with Medieval Women: Firebrand

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley, 8 December 2021

9 November 2021 · 57mins

In the fourth and final episode in their miniseries, Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley look at the life and work of pilgrim, entrepreneur and visionary mystic Margery Kempe, who dictated what is thought to be the first autobiography in English.

Encounters with Medieval Women: Anchoress

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley, 7 December 2021

8 October 2021 · 46mins

In the second episode in their series on medieval women, Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley look at the work of the mystic and anchoress Julian of Norwich, who wrote the first work in English that we can be sure was authored by a woman.

Encounters with Medieval Women: Repentant Sinner

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley, 7 December 2021

28 September 2021 · 58mins

In the first episode of their new podcast miniseries looking at the lives and voices of medieval women, Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley encounter Saint Mary of Egypt, who (if she existed) lived sometime between the 3rd and 6th centuries, and led a wild and licentious youth before serving penitence in the desert, and going on to teach the value of living an imperfect life.

On Emily Dickinson

Seamus Perry, Mark Ford and Joanne O’Leary, 7 December 2021

1 June 2021 · 1hr 03mins

Seamus Perry, Mark Ford and Joanne O‘Leary discuss the life and work of Emily Dickinson, her dashes, death instinct and obliquity.

On Derek Walcott

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

16 March 2021 · 56mins

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford discuss the life and work of the Saint Lucian poet, playwright and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott.

On Louis MacNeice

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

24 November 2020 · 57mins

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford discuss the life and work of Louis MacNeice, the Irish poet of psychic divisions and authoritative fretfulness.

On Adrienne Rich

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

29 September 2020 · 55mins

In the latest episode of Close Readings, Seamus Perry and Mark Ford turn to the life and work of Adrienne Rich, the great poetic interrogator of the American family home as a site of trauma for daughters and wives.

On Robert Frost

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

4 August 2020 · 57mins

In the latest episode in their series of Close Readings, Seamus Perry and Mark Ford look at the life and work of Robert Frost, the great American poet of fences and dark woods.

On Gerard Manley Hopkins

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

23 March 2020 · 1hr 02mins

In the first episode in a new series of Close Readings, Seamus Perry and Mark Ford take on Gerard Manley Hopkins: Victorian literature’s only anti-modern proto-modernist queer-ecologist Jesuit priest.

On Robert Lowell

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

20 August 2019 · 1hr 05mins

In the concluding episode of their acclaimed series, Seamus Perry and Mark Ford confront Robert Lowell.

On Seamus Heaney

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

30 May 2019 · 1hr

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford discuss the work of Seamus Heaney

On Sylvia Plath

Seamus Perry, Mark Ford and Joanna Biggs, 7 December 2021

5 March 2019 · 1hr 06mins

Mark Ford, Seamus Perry and Joanna Biggs consider the balance of biography and mythology in Plath’s work, situating her as a transatlantic, expressionist poet of the Cold War.

On Wallace Stevens

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford, 7 December 2021

21 December 2018 · 59mins

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford look at that great poet of winter and snow, Wallace Stevens, and the pieces about him in the LRB archive.