A Plague of Gratitude

BBC Radio 4

A new work from Kaveh Akbar, the Iranian-American poet described as “one of the most exciting voices in American contemporary poetry,” recorded with him at home in Indiana.

Akbar’s prizewinning debut collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, was published by Penguin earlier this year. It focused, with shocking honesty, on his recovery from alcohol addiction, on desire, God and his Iranian heritage.

But Kaveh has a new preoccupation. Gratitude. His collection is a resounding success both in the US and UK, he’s married, owns a house, he has a professorship at Perdue University. We follow Kaveh as he grapples with this question – how can he, as a poet, write about gratitude and joy when there is so much sadness and anger in the world? He feels overwhelmed by this ‘Plague of Gratitude’ as he calls it.

Produced by Victoria Ferran

Broadcast Date: 5th January 2020