Are you religious?
Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Doubt and Stay, talks about religion, the complexity of a higher power, and the secrets and sanctity of poetry.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It. Stay is a book that has meant a lot to me personally. It’s about what we owe the people we love and why it’s worth it to stay alive. Then, we recorded this “secret” conversation. It’s a conversation that we did not release on time (by mistake!), but that feels more timely than ever to release now. It is one of my absolute favorite interviews of 2021. In it, we discuss religion, what we’re missing out on when we’re not religious (not a judgement, just an idea about what spirituality and sacredness bring to our lives), and how poetry can hold secrets and unlock meaning for atheists and agnostics (and literally everyone, actually). I hope you enjoy it, and thanks again, Jennifer.
Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, historian, and commentator. She is the author of the bestseller Doubt: A History, a history of religious and philosophical doubt all over the world, throughout history. Her newest book is Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It (Yale University Press, 2013). Her The Happiness Myth (HarperOne, 2007), brings a historical eye to modern wisdom about how to lead a good life. She is now writing, The Wonder Paradox (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), a guide to using poetry to find meaning, invoke awe, and rest in some clarity of mind.