Short Fuse Podcast #58: Breath, Suspended

By Elizabeth Howard



Episode Summary

In this installment of the podcast, Elizabeth Howard is in conversation with poets Diane Alters and Edward Hirsch. Both used poetry to work through the death of their sons, Armando Alters Montaño and Gabriel Landay Hirsch. Grief is an emotion we have all experienced, particularly over the last few years. We have grieved for children killed in school shootings, for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Trayvon Martin, among many others whose murders resulted from the systemic racism that threads through our society. As COVID swept across the globe we all had difficulty getting our heads around the the enormity of this virus. Similarly, we are confronted daily with images and sounds of wars, famines, and the refugees who are left to languish in border disputes. Anger among American citizens has led to violence, leaving us to grieve for our democracy. How do we think about grief, publicly and privately?

Episode Notes

Diane Alters

Diane Alters is a lecturer in journalism at Colorado College. She has worked as an editor or reporter for several publications, including the Boston Globe, the Sacramento Bee and the Denver Post and is co-author of Media, Home and Family (Routledge 2004). Her exquisite book of poetry, Breath, Suspended, (Finishing Line Press 2022.) was described by a critic as, “What it means to write at the aperture of grief.”

Edward Hirsch

Edward Hirsch is a beloved American poet. Gabriel: A Poem, published in 2014, is a book-length elegy for his son. He has written 10 volumes of poetry and is the author of five prose books. His most recent book is 100 Poems to Break Your Heart. Edward Hirsch has taught creative writing and is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a position he has held since 2002.

Sarah J. Purcell — Author of Spectacle of Grief, Public Funerals and Memory in the Civil War Era and L. F. Parker Professor of History at Grinnell College.

The Short Fuse Podcast is hosted and produced by Elizabeth Howard. Learn more at Elizabeth Howard.

The Arts Fuse was established in June 2007 as a curated, independent online arts magazine dedicated to publishing in-depth criticism, along with high quality previews, interviews, and commentaries. The publication’s over 60 freelance critics (many of them with decades of experience) cover dance, film, food, literature, music, television, theater, video games, and visual arts. Our core belief: that there is a robust readership for arts coverage that believes that culture matters.

Alex Waters is the technical producer, audio editor and engineer for the Short Fuse Podcast. He is a music producer and a student at Berklee College of Music. He has written and produced music and edited for podcasts including The Faith and Chai Podcast and Con Confianza. He writes, produces and records music for independent artists, including The Living. He lives in Brooklyn and can be reached at with inquiries.

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