I was delighted when Louise Glück, one of the great poets of our age, won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I wrote about one of my all-time favorite poems, "Ithaca," for this week's episode, "Why Poetry Matters," with Louise as guest!
When we are grieving, is it a good idea or a bad idea to engage with art that takes grief to be its subject? Does this help us to cope, or does it rip out whatever stitches we have managed to sew in while we try to bear an unbearable loss?
What can neuroscience tell us about novels, poems, and plays? Can fiction help us develop real-world cognitive skills? And can writers exploit our mental weaknesses—for our own good? These are some of the questions we'll be asking on this week’s show, “Your Brain on Literature.”
Should artists make artworks that are easy to understand? Or should there be challenging artworks out there, but free education to help us understand them? What, if anything, is the value of difficult paintings, poems, and novels? This week we’re thinking about “The Arts for All.”
We are months into a global crisis that has claimed at least 300,000 lives around the world and left many others feeling isolated and alone. Can the arts and humanities help us find comfort, connection, and a sense of common purpose in these difficult times? In particular, can philosophy?