Featured Audio: “Flea Wars,” a reading by Richard Peabody

Richard Peabody reads “Flea Wars”

 “Not only is he a good writer, he is very entertaining and funny. And very  sexy, too.” Michael Dirda

When Richard Peabody came in-studio to record this excerpt from an absurd and frustrating story in The Reader, I was still in disbelief I hadn’t read it in The New Yorker or The Atlantic or some other pedigree publication firstBut, from the moment he uttered, almost farcical in his expressionlessness, “just dip the cats they say,” he had me: I knew it belonged to Richard and to Richard alone.

We recorded “Flea Wars” on the heels of recording “The Forgiveness Device“, a poem which, to this day, he struggles to finish at readings because of its deeply personal content. But, even after he’s endured several takes of heart wrenching poetry, he proves that nobody can recount frustration with as much relatability as Richard Peabody. I have a theory: that this story is so absurd and Hellerian, it must be parabolically approaching a salve to speak or read. That recounting it is like one long “Well, it could be worse.” And though such words have caused more frustration than absolution, I could almost see a grin formed of relief and meta-schadenfreude on Richard’s face right around when “Louise is sponging the cats with lemon water.” “‘This works!’ she says.'” It doesn’t, of course.

Hear Richard read “Flea Wars”

Flea Wars

The Richard Peabody Reader by Richard Peabody (cover)
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The Poem, “The Forgiveness Device,” mentioned above, is explored in detail in Richard’s essay, Poetry Can Save Your Life,  first published here at ASP.
Read “Poetry Can Save Your Life”