Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast

US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith says her true self comes out in her work. Poetry, she says, helps her wrestle with dark, sometimes unresolvable questions. In this episode she reads new and old work that examines subjects like death, the afterlife, nature, and African American history. Smith is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light, and three books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars. Her book Wade in the Water is due out this spring. She was appointed the 22nd US Poet Laureate in 2017. She’s the first laureate appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 17:00

If you’re white and middle class, you were probably raised thinking that discussing race was impolite. Color blindness was seen as a virtue. But in truth, color blindness is an insidious form of racial oppression, says Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. In this episode, Walker and Jeff Raikes, former CEO of the Gates Foundation, speak with Michele Norris, director of The Bridge at the Aspen Institute, about how color blindness affects social policy.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 10:15

Norman Lear is the prolific television writer and producer of stories about diverse American life—among them “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” and “Maude”—as well as a lifelong political and social activist. Khizr Khan is a Pakistani American lawyer, speaker at the 2016 Democratic Convention, and parent of US Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War. Born 28 years and 7,000 miles apart in Connecticut and Pakistan, today they are united as American citizens, friends, and agents of change. Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson joins them to discuss pressing questions of our time.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 17:45

Trust in civic, religious, and academic institutions is at an all-time low in America. But this phenomenon did not, as some Americans might believe, begin when President Trump was elected. It has been on the decline for decades, and while it has been falling, individualism and tribalism have been on the rise. And these tribes — tied to each other with ever fewer common threads — are moving farther and farther apart in almost every measurable way, from geography to politics to economic and educational achievement. Where do we go from here? Can any of this trust be restored, and what does this all mean for our communities and our democracy? Author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart Bill Bishop speaks with former Congressman Mickey Edwards. Edwards is a vice president of the Aspen Institute.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 16:45

New York Times best-selling author Susan Orlean says ignorance about a subject is a powerful ignitor of curiosity. As someone who has written about bullfighters, orchid fanatics, and an African king who drives a taxi in New York City, she knows a thing or two about delving into far-flung topics. How can we learn to take in the world as an enthusiast and as a curious person? It’s especially important for writers, she says, but it’s more a state of mind than a professional tool. And in this heightened state of other, approaching people unlike ourselves with curiosity rather than judgement could serve us well in getting along and finding commonalities. Orlean joins radio host and “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” veteran Pete Dominick for a lively conversation.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 12:00

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