It’s Lit!

Shirley Wang and Jenna Fleischer sit down with Tufts professors as they read their favorite literary works and meditate on their meaning.

Grace Talusan Reads Joanne Diaz

English Professor Grace Talusan reads three of Tufts Alum Joanne Diaz’s poems: “Metastasis, Boracay”, “Larry David and Corregidor”, and “77 Porter Street.”

Joanne is a self-described poet of politics, culture and history. In this interview, Grace uses Joanne’s poems to talk about post – WWII Filipino conflict remnants, gaps in U.S. history, and what it means to grow old after you graduate college.

My favorite part of this interview is the last poem when Grace reads “77 porter street”, a piece about her and Joanne’s apartment they rented together during their time at Tufts. Listen for the smile in Grace’s voice as she recalls their “days of fire” and the way they “burned to touch” as young people with little responsibility and hope/uncertainty about their futures.

Produced by Shirley Wang

Tom Ozden-Schilling Reads John McPhee

Anthropology Professor Tom Ozden- Schilling reads John Mcphee’s “North of the C.P. Line,” a non-fiction piece published in the New Yorker in 1984.

John McPhee is a journalist whose book Annals of the Former World won a Pulitzer Prize for its geology-centered explorative stories and his unflinching sense of sympathy for his interviewees. In our podcast today, Tom uses John’s piece to talk about this characteristic, and expands the narrative to discuss the constructions of the masculinity with nature, and how John situates himself as the writer in the piece. We also talk about how Tom relates to John as an anthropologist who sometimes wishes he was doing what he’s writing about, instead of always only writing.

“North of the C.P. Line” is about John McPhee meeting another John McPhee, one who works in Maine as a bush pilot. He basically has the job that writer John McPhee wishes he has, and he writes with amazement and well researched interjections that help us understand the natural environment surrounding them.

Note – Tom does not read the entire piece “North of the C.P. Line”, only an excerpt. The rest can be read here:…-of-the-c-p-line.

Produced by Shirley Wang

Nate Wolff Reads Edgar Allen Poe

Producer Annika Leybold sits down with Tufts Professor Nate Wolff to read Poe’s Dark Mirror discuss the master of American Gothic literature. Why has he remained so popular throughout the years? Why did he enjoy alienating his contemporaries? How is he still relevant in the modern day?

Produced by Annika Leybold

Lisa Lowe Reads lê thị diễm thúy

English Professor Lisa Lowe reads lê thị diễm thúy’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For, a memoir-esqe novel published in 2004.

Back in 1978, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, lê thị diễm thúy escaped her hometown on just a small fishing boat with her father and her siblings. Eventually, they were picked up by an American naval ship and were sent to Southern California, along with other refugee immigrants.

Today she is a poet/performance artist/ researcher of French colonial picture postcards, in Northhampton, MA. As a result, her novel reads like a series of poetry, with narratives shaped around images, objects and scenes. The structure, too, is very non-linear, with a jumpy timeline and the absence of the traditional plot development.

Lowe is not only an English professor, she has written several books on Asian American immigration and taught my Decolonization/Colonialism class at Tufts University. I know that part of the point of It’s Lit is to interview non-English professors, so that the conversation can stay more conversational… but I promise that our interview won’t feel like a lecture, even if Lowe did used to teach this book in literature classes back at UC San Diego.

Produced by Shirley Wang