101 Early Wallace Stevens Poems on Free Audio

Here’s a quick little find for the poetry lover: A slew of early poems by Wallace Stevens, the great American poet, can now be downloaded as podcasts (iTunes). They include many classics — Anecdote of the Jar, The Emperor of Ice Cream, Peter Quince at the Clavier, Sunday Morning, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, and many others. Recorded for LibriVox by Alan Drake, all poems are in the public domain.

Speaking of Wallace Stevens, you may want to give a listen to a podcast that we highlighted here once before. It features the great literary critic Harold Bloom (see bio) teaching a seminar at Yale on “The Art of Reading a Poem” (iTunesmp3). Here, Bloom takes his students through a poem by Wallace Stevens, Parts of a World,and moves between interpretation and intriguing personal anecdotes. If you want to hear a master at work, give a good listen.

If you like what we’re doing here, please help spread the word and let others know what they can find on Open Culture.

The Podcast Library

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Einstein’s E = mc2 Explained

E = mc2. It’s hands-down the most well known equation out there. But how many have the faintest idea what the equation really means? Not too long ago, PBS’ NOVA put together a “docudrama,” called Einstein’s Big Idea, which took a close look at how Einstein arrived at the equation and what it means. Along with the program, NOVA produced some related media resources, among which you’ll find a series of podcasts (iTunesFeedmp3) featuring 10 top physicists (including two Nobel Prize winners) who briefly explain the meaning and importance of E = mc2. In addition, and perhaps even better, they’ve posted an audio clip of Einstein himself explaining what the equation is all about. You’ll find many good resources here, so have a good look around.

If physics intrigues you, you should also check out a new Stanford course that’s being distributed for free via video podcast. The course, Modern Theoretical Physics: Quantum Entanglement, is presented by Leonard Susskind, whom many consider the father of string theory, a controversial innovation in physics that squares quantum theory with relativity and explains the nature of all matter and forces. Now, when Susskind discusses quantum entanglement, he is surely getting into some heady, cutting-edge stuff. But the good thing is that the very popular course was presented through Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program (where I work, just to put my cards on the table), and was geared toward the general public. The course is expected to last a full year, and it should result in 30 free two-hour lectures, which will all be gradually posted online. You can find a more detailed course description here.

The Big Picture: Who Won and Lost in Iraq


Open Source
, an always insightful public radio program, aired last week a show that took a broad look at the winners and losers of the Iraq war. Taking up a theme that was also recently explored in an edition of Foreign Policy magazine, the host, Christopher Lydon, spoke with a panel of experts from respected think tanks, universities, and newspapers, and, together, they drew conclusions about winners and losers, some of which aren’t so obvious. Here’s a quick recap, but we recommend giving the show a listen (iTunesFeedMp3) and taking a look at its well-done blog.


  • Iran & Shiism: With Iraq, its traditional rival, in chaos, Iran is now free to project its power across the Middle East and tilt the balance of regional power in favor of Shiite Islam. It’s partly because Iran is making such a strong showing that the hawks in Washington may feel the strategic need to eventually use military force against Iran. In this sense, the US is playing out a more extreme version of the strategy it used during the Iran-Iraq War that dragged on through the 1980s. Weaken one power, then the other.
  • China:  No one is noticing it now, but down the road, we might be writing a history that talks about how the US adventure in Iraq gave China the room to emerge rapidly as a new superpower — a superpower that could plausibly present itself to the international community as more diplomatic and peaceful than the US alternative.
  • al-Qaeda: The Iraq war has helped al-Qaeda’s recruitment efforts, precisely as many warned, and, if the US eventually abandons Iraq, they’ll feel emboldened no doubt.
  • Arab Dictators: The heat had been ratcheted up against many Middle East dictators, but with everyone distracted by Iraq, they are able to perpetuate their corrupt rule for yet a while longer.
  • Multi-Lateralism, Old Europe & the UN: They were all dismissed by the Bush administration in the run up to the war, but they’re all looking better and more worthwhile with each passing day.


  • Iraq & The United States: Two obvious picks.
  • Unilateralism & The Neo-Cons: The neo-con approach has splendidly discredited itself, but the rub is that neo-cons still sit in power and they may unilaterally force their way into Iran before the people get to the ballot box again.
  • Tony Blair & the Special Relationship between the US and England: Tony Blair is saying his long goodbye. He’ll be gone before too long, and, with him, may go the only other substantial member of the "Coalition of the Willing."
  • The Price of Oil: It’s a loser if you’re a consumer … but not if you’re an executive at Exxon.

See Open Culture’s podcast collections:

Arts & CultureAudio BooksForeign Language LessonsNews & InformationScienceTechnologyUniversity (General)University (B-School)

Stanford Online Writing Courses: Now Open for Registration


Here’s a quick heads up: Starting today, you can
register for online writing courses at Stanford. Offered by Stanford
Continuing Studies and the Stanford Creative Writing Program (which is
one of the most distinguished writing programs in the country), these online
courses give beginning and advanced writers, no matter where they live,
the chance to refine their craft in a high-caliber writers’ workshop. Here are the courses being offered this quarter:

Classes begin on/around April 9 and last 10 weeks. The last time we offered these courses they sold out within the first week.  So, if you’re interested, you may want to give them a look sooner than later. For more information, click here, or separately check out the FAQ.
(Full disclosure: I helped set up these courses and think they’re a
great educational opportunity. But nonetheless take my opinion with a
grain of salt.)

The New Yorker Magazine’s Famous Cartoons Now Available on Podcast

Here’s a different kind of podcast: You can now find on iTunes a new video podcast that features animated versions of The New Yorker’s famous cartoons. A venture called RingTales has apparently been given an exclusive license to animate and distribute The New Yorker’s library of over 70,000 cartoons. Each week, they’ll issue three new video animations, which you can access on iTunes as well as by rss feed. They’ll also be available on The New Yorker website. For more details, see this press release.

More Free Classical Music Podcasts: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner and Some Yo-Yo Ma


MozartipodWe spent some time this weekend overhauling our Arts & Culture Podcast Collection (plus creating a

new Science Podcast Collection), and, along the way, we dug up several good free podcasts for classical music fans. Here’s a quick overview of what we found:

With last year being the 250th anniversary of Mozart‘s birth, there was no shortage of podcasts dedicated to Mozart’s masterpieces. First, Radio Sweden (iTunes  Feed  Web Site) reissued a digital archive of Mozart recordings by the Royal Swedish Opera from the 1940s and 1950s. And, along very similar lines, Danmarks Radio (Feed  Web Site) issued podcasts of nine Mozart symphonies recorded by the Danish Radio Symphony
Orchestra. (You’ll find here symphonies numbers 15, 17, 23, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, and 41.) Since the web site is in Danish, we’d recommend accessing
these high quality MP3’s through the rss feed listed above. Lastly, we should mention here that, as part of last year’s festivities, The International Mozart Foundation published online for the first time the entirety of of Mozart’s musical scores.

Along with Mozart, you can find plenty of Beethoven. We have highlighted here before, but it’s worth noting again, Deutsche Welle’s podcast collection called Beethovenfest (iTunes  Feed  Web Site). You’ll want to give it a look, and also see the podcast collection put together by the Boston Symphony Orchestra Conservatory (iTunes  Feed  Web Site). This educational series offers an extensive overview and recordings of Beethoven’s work, as well as that of Arnold Schoenberg. You can also catch more Beethoven (as well as a little Mozart and Bach) with the podcast series called The Concert (iTunes  Feed  Web Site), which features recordings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Speaking of Bach, you may want to give some time to these two podcasts: Bach Festival of Philadelphia (Feed  Web Site) and Bach Podcast from Magnatune.com  iTunes  Feed  Web Site).

Let’s now leave you with a few other good finds. Wagner Operas Podcast (iTunes  Feed  Web Site) lets you listen in on recordings from the annual Bayreuth Festival, plus more. The Gramophone Podcast (Feed  Web Site) offers "a monthly window into the world’s most authoritative classical
music magazine, featuring an overview of the best releases, news,
exclusive interviews with leading figures from the music world, and
lots of great music." An Intimate Tour Through the Music of Yo-Yo Ma (iTunes  Feed  Web Site) offers essentially what the title says. Finally, we’d recommend Classical Performance (iTunes  Feed  Web Site), which consists of classical music performances from WGBH’s Studio One in Boston. Hope this fills your weekend (and your iPod).

Get more classical music podcasts here.

See Open Culture’s podcast collections:

Arts & CultureAudio BooksForeign Language LessonsNews & InformationScienceTechnologyUniversity (General)University (B-School)


Science Podcast Collection


  • All in the Mind iTunes Feed Web Site
    • An Australian podcast that explores the mental universe – neuroscience really – and takes a clear look at everything from addiction to artificial intelligence
  • Astronomy Cast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Take a weekly facts-based journey through the cosmos with Astronomy Cast.
  • Cambridge University Science Festival (Video) iTunes Web Site
  • CBC Quirks & Quarks Feed Web Site
    • Covers every aspect of science, from the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom…and everything in between.
  • Discovery Channel Space Podcast iTunes Web Site
    • Video podcasts that take you inside the world of NASA and deep space.
  • Discovery Channel Video Podcasts iTunes Web Site
    • A trove of video podcasts from Discovery.
  • Earth & Sky Clear Voices Feed Web Site
    • Earth & Sky reporters interview scientists from around the world. Interviews are generally 7 to 15 minutes in length.
  • Einstein and the Mind of God
  • Exploring Environmental History Feed Web Site
    • A podcast about human societies and the environment in the past. The periodic programmes feature interviews with people working in the field, reports on conferences and discussions about the use and methods of environmental history.
  • Groks Science Radio Show and Podcast iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Dr. Charles Lee and Dr. Frank Ling take an in-depth look at recent events in the world of science and technology, and examine the effects of recent discoveries on our daily lives.
  • Hmmm…. Krulwich on Science iTunes Feed Web Site
    • NPR Science Correspondent Robert Krulwich demystifies what’s dense and difficult — even if you feel lost when it comes to science. Coverage that can be delightful, moving, funny, perhaps even upsetting.
  • Jet Streaming iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Every week Jet Streaming brings an insider’s look at the weather and climatology. It’s everything you wanted to know about the weather, but were afraid to ask.
  • National Geographic Magazine (The Best of) iTunes Feed Web Site
    • National Geographic needs no particular introduction.
  • National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles iTunes Feed Web Site
    • “See the natural world like never before through the eyes of National Geographic adventurers, scientists, researchers, and the extraordinary Crittercam.”
  • NASAcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A series of videos from NASA.
  • Nature Podcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Nature, a highly respected peer-reviewed science journal, offers well produced podcasts that feature scientists talking about their cutting-edge research.
  • New Scientist Podcast Feed Web Site
    • New Scientist’s weekly podcast on all the latest science and technology news and features, including guests from the world of science.
  • NOVA iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A series of short videos (“vodcasts”) from the world of science.
  • NOVA Science Now iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Irreverent stories and intriguing personalities from the world of science.
  • NOVA e = mc2 iTunes Web Site
    • Hear how 10 top physicists describe Einstein’s equation in a few minutes or less.
  • RadioLab Site, iTunes, Website
    • An hour-long science show from WNYC — each episode tackles a particular issue through several stories.
  • Science and Society iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A host of distinguished thinkers speak about innovations in science — nanotechnology, space explorations, life sciences and more.
  • Science Friday Podcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • From the well known NPR program hosted by Ira Flatow.
  • Science Friday Video iTunes Web Site
    • From the well known NPR program hosted by Ira Flatow.
  • Science Magazine Podcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Audiocasts from Science Magazine.
  • Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American iTunes Feed Web Site
    • The host, Steve Mirsky, explores the latest developments in science and technology through interviews with leading scientists and journalists.
  • Science Times iTunesRSS
    • Want to know more about black holes? Or progress in the cure for cancer? Learn about the latest news and trends in science, medicine and the environment from the reporters and editors of the popular Science Times section of The New York Times. David Corcoran is your host.
  • Slacker Astronomy:iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Lots of slacking and astronomy.
  • The Engines of Our Ingenuity: iTunes Feed Web Site
    • The story of technological progress is one of drama and intrigue, sudden insight and plain hard work. Explore technology’s spectacular failures and many magnificent success stories.
  • The Missing Link Podcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A podcast on the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine put out by Prof. Elizabeth Green Musselman.
  • The Naked Scientists iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Dr. Chris Smith, of Cambridge University, takes an interactive look at different aspects of science, medecine and technology.
  • The Science Show iTunes Feed Web Site
    • One of the longest running and well-regarded science shows on Australian radio.
  • The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A weekly podcast that explores the world of the paranormal and fringe science. It’s hosted by Dr. Steven Novella is an academic neurologist on full-time faculty at Yale University School of Medicine.
  • This Week in Science Feed Web Site
    • Self describes as: “A weekly science and technology radio show presenting a humorous and irreverent look at the week in science and tech. Each week TWIS discusses the latest in cutting edge science news on topics such as genetic engineering, cybernetics, space exploration, neuro science, and a show favorite Countdown to World Robot Domination.”
  • This Week in Virology iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A weekly podcast hosted by two Professors from Columbia University. “We talk about viruses – the kind that make you sick. The podcast covers how viruses work, how they make you sick, and the latest in news about viruses.” You can find it at
  • USGS CoreCast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • From the US Geological Survey, CoreCast brings you straight science insight on natural hazards; climate change; satellite imagery and monitoring; water quality; human health and wildlife disease; and much more. Tune into CoreCast. It’s natural science from the inside out.
  • 60 Second Science iTunes Feed Web Site
    • From Scientific American, leading science journalists offer a brief commentary on the latest developments in the world of science. Presented by Scientific American.
  • 60 Second Psych iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Leading science journalists provide a weekly one-minute commentary on the latest developments in the science of brain and behavior. Presented by Scientific American.
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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.