Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who listens to Swedish podcasts?

One of the blog's readers turned to me quite some time ago recommending a podcast from the Göteborg University in Sweden, En akademisk kvart från Göteborgs universitet, in short En Akademisk Kvart (feed). Ever since, I have been on the look out for a Swedish reader who'd be able to tell some more about this podcast. I'd love to host a guest blog containing a review of En Akademisk Kvart or any other intellectual Swedish podcast for that matter.

En Akademisk Kvart is part of the popular science effort at the university and contains short podcasts (around 15 minutes, a 'kvart') about mostly historic issues. From what I can figure out from the titles, among others, there is a talk about early globalization, looking at the trade in sugar and slaves as an example. Another is about the Swedish migration to the US (over the centuries, I presume). This is the kind of podcast that would fit in this blog and considering the amount of Swedish hits on the blog, there should be enough readers who'd appreciate to be informed about it.

The reason I do not do the reviews myself, in case you had not yet guessed: I do not understand Swedish. I can figure some basic stuff out when reading it, but that is really not worth mentioning.

Who knows Russian podcasts?

Classic Poetry Aloud

I asked for recommendations to podcasts with poetry and got them immediately. The most simple and straightforward of those is Classic Poetry Aloud (feed). In this podcast each episode consists of a classic poem from English literature read to the listener.

The podcast description of each episode contains the name of the poet, the year of his birth and death (or hers for that matter), the name of the poem and the text of the poem. The episodes will also, usually carry the portrait of the poet. And so, one can look, listen and read and contemplate. The choice is tasteful and the reading done quite well, although a tad too fast for this non-native speaker. I also felt that the reader had a better connection with some poems more than with others, but it surely is far from easy to read poetry.

This formula in its simplicity seems complete and evident (though I'd appreciate if the date of the poem could be added). Nevertheless I entertained thoughts of additional material. Why not add an introduction to the poem, why not let some discussion of the poem follow? But that would alter the nature of the show from pure poetry experience to a cerebral literature show. So what about music, just to get you in the mood? Same problem actually; it would influence the listener's reception of the work. And so, as pure as it is, it should stay. And the listener should be aware, should prepare for listening. And perhaps loop the episode. All in all this is quite the podcast experience.