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Lynne Thompson on the Role of Poetry in Democracies

October 19, 2023

Lynne Thompson on the Role of Poetry in Democracies
“There is an understanding that between humans we have this one thing called language and it brings us - or can bring us - together.” Writer and poet Lynne Thompson talks with hosts Aida Baghernejad and Tom Zoellner about her journey to becoming a poet, the role of “truth“ in poetry and its meaning for democracy. Lynne Thompson is the 2021-2022 Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles, and her poetry collections include Beg No Pardon (2007), Start With A Small Guitar (2013), and Fretwork (2019). Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry, Poem-A-Day (Academy of American Poets), New England Review, Colorado Review, Best American Poetry, to name a few.




Tom Zoellner (host) is the New York Times bestselling author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire, Uranium Train, and The Heartless Stone. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. A former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he is the politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Aida Baghernejad (co-host) is an award-winning journalist and culture critic based in Berlin. Her work appears in national and international media outlets, among them the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, the TagesspiegelZeit Online and Deutschlandfunk Kultur, as well as the German podcast series Pasta & Politik, featuring leading female politicians and thinkers in Germany. In 2021, she received the International Music Journalism Award as Music Journalist of the Year. She has previously taught at King’s College London and the Humboldt University Berlin.

Lisa Bartfai (producer) is an award-winning independent radio journalist, podcast producer, and translator. She is the producer and editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books podcast 55 Voices for Democracy, and the producer, editor, and host of Bowdoin Presents, a podcast by Bowdoin College. Bartfai’s own reporting was included in the Columbia Review of Journalism’s “Best journalism of 2020: Covering racial justice,” and has been awarded second place in the Society for Features Journalism 2021 Excellence-in-Features, in the Best Podcast category. Bartfai is a mentor with Report for America, and a proud alumni of the KALW Audio Academy.





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