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Word S11.4 – Poetry with Craig Santos Perez and evangelical politics with NPR’s Sarah McCammon

On this episode of “Word,” we offer a frank discussion about the intersection of evangelicalism and politics with NPR’s Sarah McCammon, whose new book explores such.

We also chat with Prof. Craig Santos Perez, winner of the 2023 National Book Award for Poetry.


Our first guest is poet  Hiromi Yoshida, who’s based in Bloomington, Indiana.  

The 2023 poem, “Father of Icarus,” is part of her upcoming collection, “Green Roses Bloom for Icarus.” 

Yoshida's poem is steeped in classical mythology, and is reminiscent of a famous poem by W.H. Auden called, “ Musée des Beaux Arts.” His is a kind of commentary on the painting “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” by celebrated Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Bruegel's work depicts the demise of the boy whose wax wings melted when he flew too close to the sun, and plunged into the ocean.

KBAQ classical host Greg Kostraba offers a reading of the poem. Yoshida follows up with some brief insight about writing it.

“Father of Icarus” (reprinted with permission by the author)

He sees his son soaring sunward,

while he himself flies steadily parallel with the horizon—observing the middle ground.


Glimpse of gold in the corner of his

weary eye—suddenly green and frothy, and


a dappled splash below,

the coin-sized sun’s reflection rippling, blooming into a sea green rose—

that sad place where his son




The boy had slipped from his cunning, dexterous hands

like Pasiphaë’s loose-limbed doll.      Icarus was


the jointed, anointed one, a

vague smudge on an oily canvas, his

pasty white feet its paintless speck—that waxy residue in bloodshot eyes.        Daedalus 

                               lands on the sunless coast, folding away his makeshift

wings, stroking his briny beard, dreaming of gathering the green roses that bloomed where his            

                                son had made that big splash                  without his consent.  

NPR national political correspondent and co-host of NPR’s "Politics Podcast"  Sarah McCammon has a new book titled, “ The Exvangelicals.”

It’s memoir mixed with investigative reporting and research which examines the intersection of evangelicalism and politics, as well as McCammon’s own faith journey growing up in an evangelical community.

Listeners should note that the sentiments and opinions expressed in the discussion with McCammon do not reflect those of KJZZ, its editorial staff, management, nor the Maricopa County Community College District — which holds the license for KJZZ.

Therefore, McCammon does most of the talking in an “In Her Own Words” style with brief questions by me.

As we close out our celebration of National Poetry Month, we welcome poet Craig Santos Perez. He’s a professor and the winner of the 2023 National Book Award for Poetry, which was presented to him late last year by the National Book Foundation.

From Unincorporated Territory [åmot]” is the winning title and the fifth poetry collection by Perez, originally from Guam — the unincorporated U.S. territory in the Western Pacific.


We also wanted to tell folks that  Isabel Teran of Sahuarita High School is the state's finalist for the 2024 Arizona Poetry Out Loud recitation contest conducted by the Arizona Poetry Center at the University of Arizona. Teran will compete in the National Finals,  April 30-May 2, 2024, in Washington, D.C.


We’re back in May with more entertaining and thought-provoking literary convos.

Thanks for listening to KJZZ’s “Word” podcast about literature, and also for supporting public radio!

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.