From an episode of Literati GlitteratiPresented by Mel Fulton


Literati Glitterati: Kaveh Akbar on Martyr! and Internal Contradictions

Kaveh Akbar is an award-winning Iranian-American poet, and he joins Mel for a long-form chat about his first novel Martyr! which follows Cyrus Shams, who is lost and searching for meaning in life and death. The novel's characters emanate from much of Akbar's own lived experiences and internal contradictions: with 'the pathologisation of cognitive dissonance in the 21st century and performances of certainty [...] people only think one thing about a thing, but that has never really been my experience of cognition.' In writing Cyrus and fiction, he likens it to putting your hands in a sock puppet and having your character say one thing you believe, and having your other character say an oppositional thing you also believe.

'I can love my friends and still not want to be alive', or what Mel calls the literary edition of 'fuck around and find out'.

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Listen to Literati Glitterati: Kaveh Akbar on Martyr! and Internal Contradictions45:488 May 2024