Five On It- with Jennifer Michael Hecht
A year ago this time I was in the New School’s MFA poetry program, and one of my favorite professors was poet, historian, philosopher, author and world famous skeptic, Jennifer Michael Hecht. She taught me a lot in her classroom, you know about poetry and history and interpretation and all that scholastic learnin’– but she also taught me something really special, something that I will never forget, something that was weirdly reiterated to me last weekend by my good friend Jess Paps: Allow yourself to be moved by things.
It’s something you learn by reading her work, if you are lucky enough to hear Jennifer read it in person, or by just being around her. Lesson of a lifetime. You can catch up with JMH in her column on the Best American Poetry blog, “The Lion and the Honey Comb,” listen to this podcast on American Public Media, or pick up one of her many fabulous, critically acclaimed, award winning books of poetry and prose, and this week she’s agreed to answer our five lil birdsong questions!
1) What’s the last song you listened to?
“Come and Get Your Love,” Redbone. It also happens to be “our” song, which means husband and I danced to it at our wedding and when it comes on the radio we look at each other and say, hey, it’s our song.
2) What did you want to be when you were ten?
Elsewhere. Astronaut. Poet.
3) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I guess you’re going to have to start thinking for yourself.
4) What’s the last thing you were obsessed with?
5) What are you afraid of?
Being caught out as unrequited. Though all I do is confess it.
Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry. Her Doubt: A History (HarperOne, 2003) demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt from the origins of written history to the present day, all over the world. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism and Anthropology (Columbia University, 2003), won the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s 2004 prestigious Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”
Hecht’s first poetry book, The Next Ancient World won the Poetry Society of America’s 2002 Norma Farber First Book Award. Her most recent poetry book, Funny, won the University of Wisconsin’s 2005 Felix Pollak Poetry Prize, and Publisher’s Weekly called it “one of the most original and entertaining books of the year.”
Her book reviews appear in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Her newest book, The Happiness Myth, was published by HarperOne in 2007.
Hecht earned her Ph.D. in the History of Science and European Cultural History from Columbia University in 1995 and now teaches at The New School University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband John, and their two children.
Tommy was born and raised on the Viejas Reservation of the Kumeyaay Nation, near San Diego. Now he lives and eats in Brooklyn. twitter.com/pitstainsView all posts by Tommy → This entry was posted in Five On It and tagged academia, Jennifer Michael Hecht, philosophy, poetry. Bookmark the permalink.
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