Poetry News

NPR Spends Time With Kaveh Akbar

By Harriet Staff
Kaveh Akbar

At NPR, Jeevika Verma introduces readers to Kaveh Akbar and his interview website, DiveDapper. A way for Akbar to meet and converse with established poets while his writing was emerging, DiveDapper "grew out of Akbar's own life in poetry, and his struggles with addiction," Verma explains. Let's pick up there: 

"The oldest recognizable poem in my book ranges back to when I got sober," Akbar says; his debut collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, came out this past September. "I suddenly had 16 hours a day to fill with something new. My entire life up to that point was predicated on the pursuit of this or that narcotic experience. When that was uplifted, I had to find something else."

Writing became his path out of that old life. "I was so hungry to be having conversations about the poetry that was exciting me, so starved for that sort of dialogue" as he worked towards an MFA and split 60 hours a week between different jobs all while beginning his recovery. "DiveDapper became a way for me to manufacture those dialogues directly with the sources."

When Akbar started out, he says, he was worried that if he cold-called someone like the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds, she'd be rightfully confused. Now, DiveDapper has become the way Akbar approaches great poets — but what he didn't expect was that the interviews would turn into real, substantial friendships.

Learn more at NPR.

Originally Published: January 16th, 2018