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The Deerfield Public Library Podcast

Thoughtful, in-depth conversations with authors of all genres and other notable people from Chicagoland and around the world. A monthly program from the Deerfield Public Library in Deerfield, IL, hosted by Dylan Zavagno. Our archives include episodes from the Library's John Cotton Dana Award-winning series, The Fight to Integrate Deerfield: 60 Year Reflection; our Pride Month series, Queer Poem-a-Day; and our local history audio tours.
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Jun 28, 2023

Amanda Gunn reads a poem by Judy Grahn and the poem "Like This" from Amanda's new book Things I Didn't Do With This Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2023). 

Quick Note: for today’s episode, Amanda Gunn chose a long poem by the living poet Judy Grahn as her lineage work—while Judy Grahn is not a “poet of the past” Amanda’s passion about this poem and this great figure of our current age was irresistible, so we end our Lineage series by reopening the present. 

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Amanda Gunn is a poet, teacher, and doctoral candidate in English at Harvard where she studies poetry, ephemerality, and Black pleasure. Raised in Connecticut, she worked as a medical copyeditor for thirteen years before earning a master of fine arts degree in poetry from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. She is a 2021-23 Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford, the inaugural winner of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize honoring Jack Adam York, the recipient of a writing fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize.

"Like This" was first published in Things I Didn't Do With This Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2023). 

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 26, 2023

Megan Fernandes reads a poem by Federico García Lorca and "Paris Poem Without Clichés" from Megan's just-released book, I Do Everything I'm Told (Tin House, 2023)

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Megan Fernandes is a poet living in NYC. She has been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, among many others.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 23, 2023

Randall Mann reads a poem by Karl Tierney and ""Wi-Fi" from Randall Mann's new book Deal: New and Selected Poems (2023, Copper Canyon Press).

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own.

A queer poet, critic, and medical writer, Randall Mann is the author of five poetry collections: Deal: New and Selected Poems (2023, Copper Canyon Press), Complaint in the GardenBreakfast with Thom GunnStraight RazorProprietary, and A Better Life. He is also the author of a book of criticism, essays, and interviews, The Illusion of Intimacy: On Poetry. His writing has appeared in The Adroit JournalLit HubKenyon ReviewParis ReviewPoetry MagazineSan Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry and the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry, and his books have been shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award, California Book Award, and Northern California Book Award. Mann lives in San Francisco.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 22, 2023

Jameson Fitzpatrick reads a text by Gertrude Stein and a poem "The Genius of Wives I Have Sat With" from Jameson's chapbook Mr. & (Indolent Books, 2018).

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Jameson Fitzpatrick is the author of the poetry collection Pricks in the Tapestry (Birds, LLC, 2020) and the chapbooks Mr. & (Indolent Books, 2018) and Morrisroe: Erasures (89plus/LUMA Publications, 2014). She is a 2023 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow in Creative Writing and teaches first-year writing at New York University.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 21, 2023

Alicia Mountain reads a poem by Pat Parker and "Rewinding the Lesbian Sex Scene on a Flight to Denver" originally published in American Poetry Review.

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Alicia Mountain is the author of Four in Hand (BOA 2023). Her debut collection, High Ground Coward (Iowa 2018), won of the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Guernica, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and American Poetry Review. Mountain was a Clemens Doctoral Fellow at the University of Denver and the 2020-2021 Artist in Residence at the University of Central Oklahoma. She serves on the board of Foglifter, a LGBTQIA+ journal based in the Bay Area. Mountain lives in New York City, where she is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writer’s Foundry MFA program at St. Joseph’s University in Brooklyn. 

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 19, 2023

Chen Chen reads a poem by Justin Chin and "The World's Italianest Resturant" from Chen's new book, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022); the poem first appeared in bath magg (bathmagg.com/chenchen2/). In this special longer episode, Chen Chen shares (in conversation with Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno) his reflections on the importance of libraries being for everybody and standing against censorship.

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own.

Chen Chen’s second book, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, has been selected as a best book of 2022 by the Boston Globe, Electric Lit, NPR, and others. It has also been named a 2023 Notable Book by the American Library Association. His debut, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, was long-listed for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. A 2022 United States Artists Fellow, his work appears in many publications, including The New York Times and three editions of The Best American Poetry. 

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at:
deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 16, 2023

K. Iver reads a peice by David Wojnarowicz and their poem "Central Park" originally published in Bat City Review, Spring 2023. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

K. Iver (they/them) is a nonbinary trans poet born in Mississippi. Their book Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco won the 2022 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Their poems have appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. Iver has received fellowships from The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. They have a Ph.D. in Poetry from Florida State University. For more, visit kleeiver.com.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 14, 2023

Tara Skurtu reads a poem by Elizabeth Bishop and "Morning Love Poem" from from her debut collection The Amoeba Game (Eyewhere Publishing, 2017), and first published in the Minnesota Review.

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Tara Skurtu is the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania, the full poetry collection The Amoeba Game, and the upcoming collection Faith Farm. A two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, the Marcia Keach Poetry Prize, and two Academy of American Poets prizes, she is the founder of International Poetry Circle and a national steering committee member of Writers for Democratic Action. Tara is based in Brooklyn, where she is a writing coach for clients worldwide.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 12, 2023

Armen Davoudian reads a poem by James Merrill and "The Yellow Swan" from Armen's chapbook Swan Song (Bull City Press, 2020), originally published in Literary Matters, 11.3. 

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Armen Davoudian is the author of The Palace of Forty Pillars, forthcoming from Tin House Books in in Winter 2024. His poems and translations from Persian appear in Poetry magazine, the Hopkins Review, the Yale Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Swan Song, won the 2020 Frost Place Competition. Armen grew up in Isfahan, Iran, and is a PhD candidate in English at Stanford University.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 9, 2023

Rachel Mennies reads a poem by Muriel Rukeyser and "Feburary 26, 2017" from Rachel's book The Naomi Letters.

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Rachel Mennies is the author, most recently, of THE NAOMI LETTERS (BOA Editions, 2021). Her poetry has appeared, or will soon, at Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Believer, and elsewhere. An editor for AGNI, she lives in Chicago.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 7, 2023

Maggie Millner reads a poem by Adrienne Rich and Section 2.9 from Millner's new book Couplets.

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Maggie Millner is the author of Couplets (FSG, 2023). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Nation, BOMB, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is currently a senior editor at The Yale Review and a lecturer in writing at Yale.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 5, 2023

Derrick Austin reads a poem by Robert Hayden and "Black Docent."

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness (BOA Editions, 2021), winner of the 2020 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions, 2016) selected by Mary Szybist for the A. Poulin Jr, Poetry Prize. His first chapbook, Black Sand, is recently out from Foundlings Press. Tenderness was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, a Golden Poppy Award, and a Northern California Book Award. He is a 2022-2023 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholar.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission

Jun 2, 2023

Richie Hofmann reads a poem by Walt Whitman and “Reconciliation.” 

Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition is our new format for year three! Featuring contemporary LGBTQIA+ poets reading a poem by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past, followed by an original poem of their own. 

Richie Hofmann is the author of two books of poems, A Hundred Lovers (2022) and Second Empire (2015). His poetry appears recently in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, and The Yale Review, and has been honored with the Ruth Lilly and Wallace Stegner fellowships. Work from a new manuscript is forthcoming in Poetry and The Paris Review. He lives in Chicago.

Text of today’s original poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/ Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

Jun 1, 2023

For this third season of the program, we are shaking things up with a new format: Queer Poem-a-Day Lineage Edition. In each podcast episode, we asked a contemporary queer poet to read a work of influence by an LGBTQIA+ writer of the past followed by an original poem of their own. Our participating poets also discuss the poem they chose and how their own work responds, offering an educational opportunity to consider how today’s vibrant living voices are in conversation with the voices of the past that live on library shelves. Our new semi-daily format (shared Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), combined with additional educational programs, adds a new, enriching dimension to the Queer Poem-a-Day project.

Queer Poem-a-Day is founded and co-directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Library and host of the Deerfield Public Library Podcast.  Music for this third year of our series is AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. We are once again grateful to have received generous support from both the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

To kick off season three of our series, Lisa and I had a short conversation reflecting on lineage, the threats to public libraries surrounding LGBTQIA+ programming and collections and the backdrop of new specifically anti-trans, and broadly anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, including book and curriculum bans. Our music has changed again as well: our Chicago-based pianist, Daniel Baer, chose the rarely performed AIDS Ward Scherzo by Robert Savage. He joins us for this introductory episode to think through our re-imagined series in the context of classical piano.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio.

Read our intro blog and see related programs at deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

May 10, 2023

Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet (W. W. Norton & Company, 2022) is the new memoir by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky. Robert is the author of numerous poetry collections. Robert Pinsky is a celebrated poet, essayist, translator, teacher, and speaker. He served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000, during which time he founded the popular Favorite Poem Project. He is the author of many poetry collections, including the anthology The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966-1996, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently the collection At the Foundling Hospital (FSG, 2016). He’s also the translator of the best-selling The Inferno of Dante. Robert is a professor of English and creative writing in the graduate program at Boston University. In the words of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, “No other living American poet—no other living American, probably—has done so much to put poetry before the public eye.” 

Jersey Breaks is a fascinating memoir, not least because Robert Pinsky’s poetry and essays often play with the expectations and confines of autobiography and poetry itself. In kaleidoscopic, essayistic chapters, Robert Pinsky considers the experiences that make up his life and voice, while sharing a deep wisdom about how the places and words that make up our identity are always in motion. 

You won’t want to miss this beautiful conversation in which Robert Pinsky tells us that including everything means including our questions about everything, too.

You can check out Jersey Breaks and other books by Robert Pinsky here at the library, or check out his website

The Library is hosting a Favorite Poem Project Reading at the Library on Thursday, June 1, from 7:00—8:00 pm. If you are interested in being considered as a reader, please email me at favoritepoem@deerfieldlibrary.org with a favorite poem and why you chose it.  Or, sign up to attend as an audience member.

We hope you enjoy our 60th interview episode! Each month (or so), we release an episode featuring a conversation with an author, artist, or other notable guests from Chicagoland or around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page. You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org.

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is hosted by Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the library. We welcome your comments and feedback--please send to: podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org. More info at: http://deerfieldlibrary.org/podcast

Follow us: Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube TikTok

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include Adult Language. 

Apr 25, 2023

We're sharing the recording of the special in-person interview we held earlier this month with New York Times bestselling author—and Deerfield resident—Lisa Barr. Our conversation was recorded live in front of an enthusiastic audience of fans, family, friends, book clubs, book bloggers, and neighbors. 

Lisa Barr’s novel Woman on Fire (2022) tells the story of the contemporary pursuit of a single Nazi-looted painting and the many lives it touches. Lisa shares how her own family history and her fascinating career as a journalist inspires her fiction. 

We take a local angle on this popular novel and discuss our own identity in the Village of Deerfield and surrounding areas as places where Holocaust survivors and their children made their lives. Weaving in themes from Lisa’s previous novels, The Unbreakables (2019) and the award-winning Fugitive Colors (2013), our conversation is both delightful and deep, considering painting and writing as sites for the expression of rage, passion, and escape.

Find out how the Art Institute of Chicago’s 1991 exhibit Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany started Lisa on a path that led to the creation of her character Ernst Engle, a German Expressionist painter who features in both Fugitive Colors and in Woman on Fire. We even uncovered a local connection to that 1991 exhibit and a painting that hangs in our Library! 

You’ll also hear how actress and producer Sharon Stone came to option the film rights to Woman on Fire among many other stories from a bestselling author at her hometown library. 

You can check out books by Lisa Barr here at the Library or find out more on her website.

We hope you enjoy our 59th interview episode! Each month (or so), we release an episode featuring a conversation with an author, artist, or other notable guests from Chicagoland or around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page. You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org.

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is hosted by Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the library. We welcome your comments and feedback--please send to: podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org. More info at: http://deerfieldlibrary.org/podcast

Follow us: Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube TikTok

Mar 22, 2023

This month on the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, I am very pleased to share a conversation with acclaimed critic Merve Emre on the beloved Italian writer Italo Calvino, known for his genre-defying stories and novels like Invisible Cities and If on a winter’s night a traveler. Merve Emre is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, associate professor of English at Oxford University, and currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Wesleyan University.

 

In a recent essay in The New Yorker, “The Worlds of Italo Calvino,” Merve Emre calls Calvino, “word for word, the most charming writer to put pen to paper in the twentieth century.” It is an enthusiasm we both share. Indeed, we learn that for both of us, reading Calvino novels set us on a path of making a career out of talking to people about books. 

 

Emre’s essay on Calvino was occasioned by the new publication in English of a book of his essays, The Written World and the Unwritten World, translated by Ann Goldstein. 2023 also marks the centenary year of Calvino’s birth and here at the Library our Classics Book Discussion celebrated with a recent series on his work. 

 

Whether you are already a Calvino-obsessive or new to his work, you will hear a passionate consideration of how an author creates communications and desires so wonderful (and so thwarted!) that you can not help turning page after page. Appropriately for a discussion of this metafictional novelist, this episode also becomes a conversation about literary conversation itself. Another recent New Yorker piece by Emre considers the fate of literary studies today. I could not help asking her if Calvino’s utopian vision of a world of self-appointed readers might  help us revive the literary world itself. 

You can check out books by Merve Emre and titles by Italo Calvino here at the library. Or check out The New Yorker, physical copies or through our ebook/emagazine service Libby.

Emre is the author of Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America (University of Chicago Press, 2017), The Ferrante Letters (Columbia University Press, 2019), and The Personality Brokers (New York, 2018). She is the editor of Once and Future Feminist (MIT, 2018), The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway (Liveright, 2021), and The Norton Modern Library Mrs. Dalloway (Norton, 2021). Her essays and criticism have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and the London Review of Books to American Literature, American Literary History, PMLA, and Modernism/modernity. Merve is on Twitter @mervatim

We hope you enjoy our 58th interview episode! Each month (or so) we release an episode featuring a conversation with an author, artist, or other notable guests from Chicagoland or around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page. You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org.

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is hosted by Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the library. We welcome your comments and feedback--please send to: podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org. More info at: http://deerfieldlibrary.org/podcast

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Feb 28, 2023

We have the honor of presenting a fascinating conversation with world-famous pianist Seymour Bernstein. You may know Seymour as the subject of the widely acclaimed 2015 documentary Seymour, an Introduction, directed by Ethan Hawke. The film tells Seymour’s inspiring story of abandoning his solo concert career at age 50, and, at the end of the documentary, performing again in his 80s. Yet, as we discuss in this interview, there are other ways to tell this story. Now in his mid-90s (he turns 96 this April), Seymour reflects on his decision to leave solo performing as a necessary refocusing, following his creative impulse to compose, write his books, and study music. 

In his 90s, Seymour has been busy making new recordings, continuing to teach, and even becoming a viral YouTube sensation, releasing videos with the music education streaming service ToneBase, as well as on his channel. He shares with us deep reflections on following your intuition in musical interpretation and in life. 

Seymour Bernstein is also the author of several books, including With Your Own Two Hands: Self-Discovery Through Music (1981), as well as a memoir, Monsters and Angels: Surviving a Career in Music (2002). In addition to Seymour’s reflections on interpreting Beethoven, Chopin, and Schubert we hear some of the under-explored stories from his long career. You’ll hear memories of TV appearances with the singer Kate Smith (of “God Bless America” fame), his Army service in the Korean War, State Department tours around the world, Leonard Bernstein, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and his line of teachers, Alexander Brailowsky, Sir Clifford Curzon, and Clara Husserl. Finally, Seymour reflects on what he feels has supported his continued long and productive life in the arts.

You can check out and watch Seymour, an Introduction through the Library streaming service Kanopy or find the DVD here on the Deerfield Public Library shelves.

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is hosted by Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the library. We welcome your comments and feedback--please send to: podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org. More info at: http://deerfieldlibrary.org/podcast

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Nov 17, 2022

Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil (University of Chicago Press, 2017) by Deborah Nelson, the Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of English and chair of the Department of English at the University of Chicago.

Deborah Nelson’s fascinating book Tough Enough looks at a group of challenging 20th century writers (and a photographer)—Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Diane Arbus, and Joan Didion—who were all committed in various ways to moral and aesthetic “toughness.” Our conversation was occasioned by the death of Joan Didion in December 2021. Her passing also prompted the Classic Book Discussion at the Library to take on a recent three part career-retrospective series on Didion, from her early essays in the collections Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, to the political reporting and novels of her middle period, through to her bestselling memoirs of grief The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue NightsDeborah Nelson and Tough Enough help us put Didion in context. These women, Nelson writes, were self-consciously “unsentimental” in their approach to addressing the suffering and horrors of the 20th century and critics were often scandalized by the extremity of their tone or positions because they were women. Our conversation uses the thinking of these writers (and the example of Joan Didion in particular) to examine unsentimental sensibilities and the “costs and benefits of these alternatives” to common ideas about literature, art, empathy, feeling, and suffering. Whether you are a fan of Joan Didion, a member of our book discussion, or one of our many listeners near or far, this conversation is a fascinating resource for thinking anew. 

You can check out Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil here at the Library, or find many other books by and about these writers. You can also find the book through The University of Chicago Press. Tough Enough won the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize for Best Book of 2017 and the Gordan Laing Prize in 2019 for the most distinguished contribution to the University of Chicago Press by a faculty member.

If you liked this episode, you may enjoy our 2019 conversation with cartoonist Ken Krimstein on his book The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is hosted by Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the library. We welcome your comments and feedback--please send to: podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org. More info at: http://deerfieldlibrary.org/podcast

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Aug 18, 2022

Chicago-based poet and writer Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué is the author most recently of the poetry collection Madness (Nightboat Books, 2022). Gabriel was one of our Queer Poem-a-Day poets earlier this year.

Madness takes the form of a book of selected poems by a fictional poet named Luis Montes-Torres (1976-2035) and contains academic and biographical introductions, diaries, and, of course, poems. Remarkably, Ojeda-Sagué simulates the development of a poet over a lifetime (and into the future), through various styles and themes in response to histories both real and imagined, personal and political. Both drawing from and commenting on poetic traditions that explore Latino and queer identity, as well as “eco-poetics” in response to the extraordinary realities of climate change, Madness presents a dizzying variety of artistic gestures. To take a line from one of Montes-Torres’ last poems, this is a project that “implies ambivalence drowned in light.” 

Gabriel is also the author of An Excess of Quiet: Selected Sketches by Gustavo Ojeda, 1979-1989 (Soberscove Press, 2020), which presents the work of his uncle, who was a painter in the New York City 1980s scene, exhibiting with artists like Keith Haring and David Wajnarowicz. In Gabriel’s words, Gustavo Ojeda’s work often blurs the lines “between real and imagined, ordinary and supernatural, the quiet and the loud, the formal and the amatuerishly sentimental” — descriptions which could be applied to Gabriel’s project in Madness

We invite you into this very fun conversation about the trap doors and freedoms of poetry, art and mental health, and our shared obsession with the poet John Asbhery, among many other topics. 

You can check out books by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué here at the library and find out more about his work at ojedasague.com. Gabriel is also the author of Losing Miami (The Accomplices, 2019), which was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry. He is currently a PhD student in English at the University of Chicago where he works in the study of sexuality. 

The Deerfield Public Library Podcast is hosted by Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the library. We welcome your comments and feedback--please send to: podcast@deerfieldlibrary.org. More info at: http://deerfieldlibrary.org/podcast

Follow us: Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube 

Jun 30, 2022

Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, THROWN IN THE THROAT, won the National Poetry Series and the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, in addition to being a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where he received the Jill Gonzalez Health Educator Award recognizing contributions to HIV treatment and prevention. A CantoMundo and Lambda Literary fellow, he serves as core faculty at Alma College’s low-residency MFA program. His poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in: AGNI, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and New England Review. His video poem “Ode to the Peacok” is available for viewing at the Broad Museum’s website as part of El Poder de la Poesia: Latinx Voices in Response to HIV/AIDS.

Copyright © 2018 by Benjamin Francis. This poem first appeared in Nimrod International

Text of today’s poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Jun 29, 2022

Aerik Francis is a Queer Black & Latinx poet based in Denver, Colorado, USA. Aerik is the author of the recently published chapbook BODYELECTRONIC (Trouble Department 2022). Selected by Dorothy Chan as the winner of the 2022 chapbook contest, Aerik's second chapbook MISEDUCATION is forthcoming from New Delta Review in 2023. Aerik is the recipient of poetry fellowships from Canto Mundo and The Watering Hole, as well as a poetry reader for Underblong poetry journal and an event coordinator for Slam Nuba. Aerik's work can be found on their website phaentompoet.com

Copyright © 2021 by Aerik Francis. This poem first appeared in HAD

Text of today’s poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Jun 28, 2022

Madeleine Cravens is a 2022-2024 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She received her M.F.A from Columbia University, where she was a recipient of the Max Ritvo Poetry Fellowship. She was the first-place winner of Narrative Magazine’s 2021 Poetry Contest and 2020 30 Below Contest, a semifinalist for the 92 Street Y’s 2021 Discovery Prize, and a finalist for the 2022 James Hearst Poetry Prize.

Copyright © 2022 by Madeleine Cravens. This poem is originally published on Queer Poem-a-Day. 

Text of today’s poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Jun 27, 2022

Julian Gewirtz is the author of YOUR FACE MY FLAG (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming October 2022 (https://www.coppercanyonpress.org/books/your-face-my-flag-by-julian-gewirtz). His poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Lambda Literary, The Nation, The New Republic, PEN America, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. He is also the author of two books on the history of modern China, Never Turn Back: China and the Forbidden History of the 1980s and Unlikely Partners (“a gripping read” –The Economist). He co-edited an issue of Logic Magazine on China and technology and has written essays and reviews for publications including the New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s, Foreign Affairs, Prac Crit, and Parnassus: Poetry in Review.

Copyright © Julian Gewirtz, 2014. A version of this poem was originally published in Conjunctions.

Text of today’s poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

Jun 26, 2022

Jim Whiteside is the author of a chapbook, Writing Your Name on the Glass (Bull City Press, 2019) and is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His poems have appeared in The New York Times, POETRY, Ploughshares, Boston Review, and Best New Poets 2020. The recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, he earned his MFA from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He works as a copywriter and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Copyright © Jim Whiteside 2021. Originally published in Black Warrior Review, Fall/Winter 2021, No. 48.1

Text of today’s poem and more details about our program can be found at: deerfieldlibrary.org/queerpoemaday/

Find books from participating poets in our library's catalog

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission. Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

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