The History of Literature Episode 35 – A Conversation with Ronica Dhar


In this episode, Jacke welcomes special guest Ronica Dhar, who presents Five Books (or actually Four Books and a Movie) To Lower Your Blood Pressure. Highlights include a poem by Ronica’s former teacher and mentor, letters to a samurai written by a zen master who invented a type of pickle, and a fourteenth-century Kashmiri mystic who wrestled with God and her in-laws with a fierceness that would have made Beyoncé proud.

Ronica Dhar graduated from the University of Chicago and was a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan where she received the Meijer award and the Hopwood award.  Her first book, Bijou Roy, was called a “thoughtful, elegant novel” by the author Ann Patchett. After years spent living in Washington D.C. and New York City, Ronica recently returned to Detroit, the city of her childhood.

Works Discussed:

Bijou Roy (Ronica Dhar)

Praise Song for the Day (Elizabeth Alexander)

Aleutian Sparrow (Karen Hesse)

I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (tr. Ranjit Hoskote)

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman  (Takuan Soho)

Samsara  (directed by Ron Fricke)