• Christopher Spaide

    April 24, 2024


    Poet and critic Christopher Spaide joins managing editor and poetry editor Eric Smith for a conversation about criticism, contemporary poetry, and Garrett Hongo, whose work Spaide lectured on for the 2022 Aiken Taylor Award ceremony. The two consider how the work of a critic is to deepen one’s relationship with art, and what that kind of investment looks like as a reader and an artist.

    Spaide begins by talking about Garrett Hongo’s place in American poetry, as well as his own relationship with Hongo’s work. This then develops into a longer examination of how writers talk to one another through their art and through the interpretation of each other’s art: “Maybe that’s still the way I think about poetry. I want someone’s take on it. I respond to recommendations and insults and pans of poems—I guess I just follow wherever people are enthusiastic about poetry.” The sheer wealth and amount of poetry being published today makes reading everything impossible, but such circumstances also make critical consideration even more vital to finding the most important work. And that brings the discussion to Spaide’s own poetry and how he envisions his work as a poet and a critic. The conversation concludes with Spaide reading from his own work, which exemplifies the intricacies of form and the playfulness of ideas that he’s drawn to as a poet and critic.

    Christopher Spaide is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows; for the 2023–24 academic year, he will be the Postdoctoral Fellow in Poetics at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University. His essays, reviews, and poems have appeared in Contemporary Literature, the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, the Sewanee Review, and the Yale Review, and he reviews for the Poetry Foundation at Harriet Books.

    The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Carlos Zayas-Pons and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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