S02E03 – Jenna Lê (Whales, Language, and Returning)
The new season of The Lit Fantastic is now airing on KBOO 90.7 Portland Community Radio (we’ve moved from podcast to radio, but will still have old and new episodes archived online at KBOO.fm and on iTunes).
Our third episode in season 2 is an hour-long conversation with poet and physician Jenna Lê in which we dive deep into a sea of obsessions, ranging from the Bronte Sisters to whales, with an odd assortment of topics along the way. We touch on languages lost and found, the cultural importance of names, Taiwanese melodramas from the 80s, and return again to “returning” – the biological and psychological need to find our way home. As always, the episode closes with poetry.
A Minnesota-born daughter of Vietnam War refugees, Jenna Lê earned her B.A. in mathematics before obtaining her M.D. She lives and works as a physician and educator in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire. She is the author of two full-length collections of poems, Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011), which was a Small Press Distribution Poetry Bestseller, and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2018; first edition: Anchor & Plume Press, 2016), which won Second Place in the 2017 Elgin Awards. Her poetry, fiction, essays, book criticism, and poetry translations have been published widely. Le has been a Minnetonka Review Editor’s Prize winner, a two-time Alpha Omega Alpha Pharos Poetry Competition winner, a William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition finalist, a Michael E. DeBakey Poetry Award finalist, a Pamet River Prize semifinalist, a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a Best of the Net nominee, and a Rhysling Award nominee. Since 2014 (after her Pharos Poetry Competition wins), Le has also served on the editorial board of the Pharos, the journal of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Her hobbies include drawing and painting. Visit her online at https://jennalewriting.com