Winter Issue 10
“Fun with Content:”
Octavio Talks about Season 2 of the Regent Podcast
By Jolene Nolte
Some of you may not know, but in the basement of Regent lies a podcast studio. In it, I chatted with Octavio Fernandez y Mostajo Saavedra about the new season of the Regent College Podcast.
What is your role with the podcast series?
I’m the new producer of Season 2 and co-host with Claire Perini.
What does putting a podcast together from start to finish involve?
Planning, meeting with Amy Anderson, uploading, interviewing, editing, sending emails, coordinating. And keeping in mind the podcast is an open door to Regent College, to what Regent is all about.
Do you plan questions in advance or come up with them on the spot?
Plan questions. If we’re interviewing Mariam Kovalishyn on the Gospel of John, for example, I’ll go look at some commentaries first. Sometimes we ask follow up questions on the spot.
Any highlights for you?
Our main goal for the podcast is to make it conversational and accessible. Alumni still want deep and meaningful content, but it’s got to be in words that anyone can understand. Or for people who are interested in what Regent is about, we want to keep it accessible for that. It’s feeling more conversational; that’s one of the reasons we have two hosts. We really try to get the prof from lecture mode. And for current students, we hear lectures; we don’t need more of that. My highlight is that we’ve done this.
Any behind-the-scenes fun facts you can reveal?
A lot of the profs we’ve interviewed have mentioned that they felt that the Lord took the wheel.
How do you go about finding interviewees?
It’s a mix of profs we have and topics we want to engage.
Do you have editing powers?
Yes. Normally we record for an hour-ish, and episodes come in at 45 minutes. That makes it more comfortable for them to think.
Anything else you’d like your Regent public to know?
That we’re back, and it’s not going to be more lecturing. It’s not about that. It’s a lot more relaxed, more fun, more grounded. It’s not meant to be heady at all. The questions we ask are about real life.
It’s fun but with content. We have new audio equipment—the audio has improved a lot.
We plan to do podcasts with all visiting profs over spring and summer who are willing. Plan is not to stop until the Lord returns.
To listen to the Regent College Podcast, visit https://www.regent-college.edu/lifelong-learning/podcast, or search Regent College at iTunes, SoundCloud, Castbox.
If you have ideas or questions or memes for the Regent Podcast, send them to [email protected]
Righteous Legacy, Part 7
By Peter Cheung
Righteous Legacy is Peter's attempt to tell his interpretation of the story of Dr. Ho Feng-shan, better known as the Chinese Schindler, on stage. In the last installment (visit etcetera.regent-college.edu for previous scenes), Dr. Ho started giving out Shanghai visas for Jews who wants them, helping them to escape the Holocaust. Please note that international calling only became commercial after WWII, but for dramatic effect, this scene depicts it as a phone call.
13 | Consequences
Shan continues to work on visas in the consulate. He is visibly tired. The phone rings and Shan picks up. Chen enters, spotlight, also on the phone.
SHAN: Chinese consulate in Vienna.
CHEN: Ho Feng-shan, this is Ambassador Chen calling from Berlin.
SHAN: Yes, Ambassador Chen, what’s the matter for you to call this late?
CHEN: What’s the matter? You should know very well why I am calling. You think now that you have lesser people at the consulate, you can do what whatever you want late at night?
SHAN: Ambassador Chen, I don’t know what you are talking about.
CHEN: Let me guess, you are making visas to Shanghai right now, aren’t you?
CHEN: You see, I have my sources. According to them, you are selling these visas to Shanghai and make a killing for your own profit!
SHAN: (surprised, but calm) Ambassador Chen, wait a minute. That’s odd. I am not charging anyone for these visas. Anyone in the world can enter Shanghai without one, I am do this to help the Jews, which is in accordance to the direction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs!
CHEN: Currently the Ministry of Foreign Affairs doesn’t have a consistent policy regarding Jewish visas, so you see, we who are in German territory as diplomats should seek to do our job and uphold the good relations between China and Germany. You understand what I am saying?
SHAN: Ambassador Chen, but you see, these visas to Shanghai do nothing other than for the Jews in German territory. I think China has every reason to do this simply based on humane reasons, not to mention the values of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China)!
CHEN: Now, Ho Feng-Shan, there will be consequences in the act of selling visas!
SHAN: Ambassador Chen, if under my open policy with Jewish visas any one can get a visa. Anyone. I see to it that everyone who wants one can get one. If there’s so much supply, who would even pay for it? Of course, if our visas are as restricted as the American ones, or if Shanghai is as desirable as America for the Jews, then someone may pay for it. I don’t think there is a case for bribery or corruption.
CHEN: (angry) There will be consequences! I say one more time, you let me take care of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and just follow my orders!
Lights out. Shan and Chen exit.
Some Confessions & Invitations
By Jolene Nolte
I have a confession: I love poetry. Actually, it’s much worse than that. I am a poet. I do not say whether I am a good one, simply that I am one. It’s an admission that carries the risk of sounding at once pretentious and vaguely juvenile. When the topic of poetry comes up in conversation (as it inevitably does lately given how I spend my days), I receive mixed responses. For all its rich history and even its presence at the heart of our canon, others respond with distant admiration as if I said I was an astrophysicist. Sometimes there’s the dismissive, “Oh, I used to write poetry in my emo phase,” as if poetry is something we’re meant to outgrow. More often responses convey honest bewilderment: “Poetry is not my thing.”
After so many of these responses from intelligent people, I’ve noticed people are scared of poetry. “I just don’t get it,” the common refrain. It’s ok not to understand poetry. Part of the problem is it’s not a central part of our cultural or even educational bloodstream, so in all likelihood, you haven’t been taught how to enter poetry on its own terms.
Here my confession deepens, however: I believe poetry can help us recover some important aspects of our humanity. As William Carlos Williams wrote, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably everyday / for lack / of what is found there.” I don’t think poetry is the only thing that can help us, but I do think it has important things to teach us if we’ll slow down and let it. I realize this is a big claim I won’t even endeavor to substantiate here. Instead, I encourage you to test it out for yourself by experiencing some poetry.
Poetry is not a secret code. Just like any art form or academic discipline, there are things you learn to look for, questions you learn to ask. Billy Collins, a delightfully unpretentious poet, likens the poem to a house. You enter, you walk around and explore, but you don’t access it all at once. Here are some guidelines that may help orient you:
Slow down. Don’t be anxious. Read slowly, out loud if you can. If you’re somewhere you can’t read aloud, read it slowly enough that you pronounce each word in your mind rather than skimming it over. Read the whole poem through once. Expect not to understand everything the first time.
Observe. Go back and ask, “What is going on?” What do you notice? What questions do you have? If it’s a good poem, what you notice is something the poet has done intentionally. This where you start to discover connections. You may need to look up an unfamiliar word. Again, you probably will not understand everything, and that’s ok.
Come back to it later. If you’re reading from a collection or anthology, you can go on to the next one or just put the poem down. The poem isn’t going anywhere, and your experience of it should not be rushed. A house is something to be lived in and returned to, not digested and discarded.
Get a guided tour. A huge part of what got me hooked on poetry was learning from others as they engaged with poems. It helps to see what sorts of questions they ask, observations they make, and quite simply, how excited they get. Where will you find such a guide? Well, good news: Malcolm Guite oozes poetry and is an articulate advocate for its possibilities. He has walked around in poetry for many years, and he’s coming to Regent next week for the Laing Lectures.
Now for one last confession: As your editor in the waning days of her office, given that April is National Poetry Month and in light of the upcoming Laing Lectures on poetry and the imagination as truth-bearing faculties, I’ve decided it seems only fitting to celebrate in the Et Cetera with a greater volume of poetry than normal. If you have some you’d like to share, or if you’d like to write a short article about a poem that has been meaningful for you, send them over to [email protected]
By Alice Hodgkins
If I saw a poem with that title, I would not read it.
So already you and I have less in common
Since you have got as far as line three.
I would consider the topic too large for a poem.
Poems are for that which fits in your palm:
Pen caps, flower petals, house keys,
Batteries, Monopoly pieces, aspirin,
The off-hand comment a friend made last night—
Those are poems.
But Being is a vast cloudscape reaching past the aching edges of our sight.
And like a cloud squeezed small into a poem is suddenly a raindrop
—which is quite different—
So Being scrunched up and stuffed into a poem becomes just Be
—a mere insufficient action.
I cannot do that and I will not try.
Here you are, though—still reading!
Eager with your box full of ontological hardware,
Wanting this poem to perform the great Being-in-itself,
Praying your mind and heart will gain,
But you cannot get better at Being.
I cannot either. (That’s a thing we have in common.)
So kick down the walls of this poem and just carry on.
Carry on with whatever you left behind under the blue-grey heavens
So you could enter these six cramped stanzas.
Pick up your hammer, your nothing, your long-handled vacuum,
And get back to humming.
You were Being this morning and you’ll be Being tonight,
You made thing, you!
by liz fischer
the tiny upright leaves
flicker in a warm and stilling breeze
tiny tongues flaming green
on spring's bare branch
the wonders of God
in holy translation
from beholding eye