THE RADICAL: Lola Ridge, Modernist Poet

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Lola Ridge

Rose Emily Ridge was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1973. After spending her childhood in Australia and New Zealand, she fled an abusive husband for California in 1907. Arriving in America, she promptly changed her name, her age, her nationality and her marital status and launched her new life as Lola Ridge, radical poet, anarchist organizer, and editor of the influential avant-garde magazine Broom. At her popular Greenwich Village salons she welcomed the country’s most influential artists and thinkers and challenged them to define a uniquely American style of poetry and art. Her unconventional life, radical activist work and influential writing should have placed her alongside literary giants (and friends) William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Jean Toomer, but the shifting political climate and her first would-be biographer’s failure to produce any actual writing meant that for decades she has been almost completely forgotten.

Our guest, Guggenheim-award-winning writer Terese Svoboda, is working to remedy this tragic erasure. Her critically acclaimed biography, Anything that Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet is bringing Lola Ridge back into our American narrative.





Terese Svoboda is one of those writers you would be tempted to read regardless of the setting or the period or the plot or even the genre.”–Bloomsbury Review. Along with Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, A Radical Poet, Terese Svoboda has published 6 books of fiction, 7 books of poetry, a memoir, and a book of translation from the Sudanese. Winner of a Guggenheim, a Bobst Prize in fiction, an Iowa Prize for poetry, a NEH grant for translation, an O. Henry Award for the short story, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, 3 NYFA fellowships, a Pushcart Prize for the essay, a Bellagio Fellowship for libretto, and the Jerome Foundation Award in video, she also wrote the libretto for the opera WET that premiered at L.A.’s RedCat Theater. Great American Desert (stories) is forthcoming next year.


Music featured in this episode included

“Niel Gow’s Lamentation for the Death of His Second Wife” performed by Half Pelican

“Tulluchgorum” performed by Half Pelican

“Shlof mayn kind” performed by Trialogo: Faye Nepon, Ivano Battiston and David Bellugi

“Farvos Veynstu” performed by Trialogo: Faye Nepon, Ivano Battiston and David Bellugi

“12th Street Rag” performed by The New Hot Five

“Royal Garden Blues” performed by The New Hot Five

“The Cricket Marches Over the Salt Box/The Silver Spear/Contradiction” performed by Killarney

“Garret Berry’s/Ringing the Bell” performed by Killarney


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