3.10. Pandemic Poetics (with Leigh Stein)

Listen to the episode!

Jo and Adam are joined by returning guest, poet/novelist/journalist/satirist Leigh Stein for a discussion of her new collection of satire-inflected pandemic poetry, What To Miss When (Penguin, 2021). In a wide-range discussion, Adam and Jo also talk about: the power and purpose of poetry and its potential as an effective medium for satire; the challenges that confront anyone hoping to represent the first year of Covid-19; and what kind of satirical poem they themselves would write if ever they were required to do so. Tune in again tomorrow for part two of this interview with Leigh, in which everyone talks about cancellation, Karens and Bo Burnham.

“‘What To Miss When’ is a strikingly effective melee of the literary and the very relatable, which is a really difficult balance to nail in trying to represent the pandemic in literary form. Remarkable, skilful, and wonderful.”

– Dr. Jo Waugh, Senior Lecturer, English Literature, York St John University

Buy What to Miss When in the UK

Buy What to Miss When in the US

In this episode, Jo and Adam and Leigh talk about:

Alfred Tennyson

Alison Roman

Allen Ginsberg

Amazon Prime

A Modest Proposal (by Jonathan Swift)

Andrew Doyle/Titania McGrath

Anne Sexton


Boris Johnson

Brontë sisters

Cancellation/Cancel Culture

Chrissy Teigen

Confessional/Post-confessional poetry

COVID-19 pandemic

David Bowles

Don Juan (Gordon George Byron)

Emily Dickinson




Gwyneth Paltrow


James Montgomery

Joan Didion

Joe Rogan

John B McLemore

Jo Jo Rabbit (dir. by Taika Waititi, 2019)


Marie Kondo

Matthew Arnold


New York Magazine

Pandemic drinking

Parasite (dir. by Bong Joon-ho, 2019)


Richard Herring

Self-Care (by Leigh Stein)

S-Town podcast

Sylvia Plath

The Second Coming (by W B Yeats)

The Decameron (by Giovanni Boccaccio)

Tiger King

Together (dir. by Stephen Daldry, 2021)

Tote bags

YA Fiction