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CIA: The Contagious Influencers of America Podcast. Meet the Gamechangers, the Influencers and those who are not afraid to show up with a shovel if that's what it takes to move a mountain. Go inside the minds of true American trailblazers who are making a difference by sharing their stories of personal triumph, overcoming obstacles, defeating fear, fighting addiction, and rejecting failure. Hosted by 9-time Emmy winner David Sams with TV personality Victoria Robinson and author, speaker and ...
 
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New York Times best-selling author (Love Does), speaker and "recovering lawyer" Bob Goff has an infectious way of helping people dream big no matter their rank and status and he's been at it for decades. He tells 9-time Emmy winner David Sams that one of his favorite ways to do this is allowing others to be vulnerable by being their authentic self.…
 
Connor and Jack discuss the newly resonant poem "[By the road to the contagious hospital]" by the great William Carlos Williams, which is the first poem in Williams' iconic Spring and All. They explore the now-emergent "pandemic in spring" sub-genre, which this poem is surely canon. They also talk about the poem's modernist context, its grounded at…
 
Most do not understand how the Bible fits together - even people of faith. Many Christians accept half an inheritance in that they are content to embrace merely the New Testament. On the flip side, Jews often experience this by embracing only the Old Testament. Enter Rabbi Jason Sobel, author of "Mysteries of the Messiah" who tells 9-time Emmy winn…
 
Life on the road is second nature for Country music mega-star Wynonna Judd who has lived much of her days performing for millions all over the world. But this past year it came to a screeching halt with the pandemic and like many, her family and faith have been her saving grace. One thing she's done to help overcome the anxiety and promote healing …
 
Former NFL quarterback & pro-baseball player Tim Tebow is very familiar with life in the limelight. But it's what he does to shine the light on others that brings his life true fulfillment & meaning. Tim tells 9-time Emmy winner David Sams about his passion to help others know their God-given worth, how his foundation pulled off the special needs p…
 
Connor and Jack are joined by special guest (and Close Talking social media manager) Corey China for this discussion of Marilyn Chin's devastating poem "Blues on Yellow." In the conversation they discuss the history of anti-Asian hatred and violence in the United States, the struggles for cross-community solidarity, and the resonances of the poem's…
 
Ben Higgins may be the hunk that America fell in love with from ABC's hit series "The Bachelor," but now, in real life he's on a mission to make a difference through his generouscoffee.com and with his new book "Alone in Plain Sight." He opens up to 9-time Emmy winner David Sams about the differences between dating on "The Bachelor" and in the real…
 
When you're sitting in a tough season of life, discerning the truth from lies, what do you do? For Harry Connick Jr., the answer is easy: arrange, record, play every instrument, & sing each vocal on a new album, of course! He shares with 9-time Emmy award winner David Sams about his unconventional childhood faith, how trust in God got him through d…
 
Connor and Jack discuss Zaffar Kunial's elegant sonnet, "The Word." They marvel at the poem's seemingly effortless meditation on being between two cultures—particularly in a postcolonial context—and how it evokes so much through one simple word: "the."Check out Kunial's latest collection, here: https://www.faber.co.uk/9780571337651-us.html.You can …
 
Connor and Jack explore the poem "In Youngsville" by Tyree Daye. They discuss the way the poem creates a sense of place, its connections to the blues form, and even dive deep into how it plays with using stressed and unstressed syllables.You can buy Daye's latest book, Cardinal, here: https://www.coppercanyonpress.org/books/cardinal-by-tyree-daye/Y…
 
Got an entrepreneurial spirit? Listen & learn from Jonathan Gibbs who started his first company when he was just 21 and has been rolling with the punches ever since. His companies have sold over 1 billion dollars in products over the last 22 years and currently his solar company is aiming to do the same in sales in 2021 alone. He's a son, husband, …
 
Content Warning: SuicidalityConnor and Jack think through Diana Khoi Nguyen's remarkable poem "Family Ties," part of her haunting debut collection Ghost Of. They discuss the complex emotional textures Nguyen evokes in the poem, the challenges of representations of suicide, and ideas of family, self, and metaphorical webs.More on Nguyen here: https:…
 
Actress and author Candace Cameron Bure has lived much of her life in front of the camera on hit shows from TV's "Full House" to Netflix's "Fuller House" to co-hosting ABC's "The View" and a slew of beloved Hallmark movies. But it's her family and faith that have grounded her and given her that sparkle. She shares with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams…
 
Ready to pivot and have a little fun? If you don't know where to begin, meet Annie F. Downs. Annie is a best-selling author, speaker and podcaster with over 42 million downloads of her "That Sounds Fun" podcast show. As she releases her new book of the same title, she and 9-time Emmy winner David Sams delve into the joys and heartbreaks of 2020, th…
 
Connor and Jack discuss a deceptively simple poem full of interwoven contradictions - Humberto Ak'abal's "The Altar." They discuss the multiple layers of linguistic conquest implicit in a poem that has moved from K'iche' to Spanish to English, the history of Guatemala and US involvement in the country's political affairs, and ponder the big questio…
 
NFL lineman Jason Brown had everything in the world. He was the highest-paid center in the game living in luxury. Then in 2012, Jason walked away from it all when he heard a call from God that changed everything from his career to his marriage and family. He pursued a life he knew nothing about: farming. It was only the beginning of his journey to …
 
Recorded before the attempted coup at the US Capitol, Jack and Connor discuss the poem "Fuck Your Lecture On Craft, My People Are Dying" by Noor Hindi. They discuss the history of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the way the poem engages with the tensions of being both Palestinian and American, and how to do craft without talking about craft.Fu…
 
The first ever Close Talking episode to drop on Christmas day is a fittingly wintery pick - Connor and Jack contemplate the many layers of meaning in the classic poem "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden. They cover everything from the five love languages, to the lifelong impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, and the limits of the sonnet.More…
 
Whether it's recently battling the coronavirus or thyroid cancer a few years back, award-winning artist Natalie Grant has learned to face her fears. She shares with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams about how she and her producer husband Bernie Helms chose to give the gift of music throughout 2020 with one song a day on social media garnering over 33 m…
 
When your whole life is one miracle after another, it’s fitting that your name is MIRACLE! Miracle Pelayo is an actor, but didn’t take the traditional route getting there. She was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheel chair. But even that is a miracle. When her mom and dad found out they were expecting, there were many physical issues & doctors…
 
What is the best way of getting on with people at home and at work? Psychologists Emily and Laurence Alison have spent their careers working with the police as they build rapport with suspects, sometimes terrorism suspects or perpetrators of domestic violence. And their conclusions about how best to do it have lessons for the rest of us too. They d…
 
Country music star & actress Jana Kramer dazzled us on "Dancing with the Stars." Her life may have looked picture perfect then but she & her husband Michael Caussin, former NFL player, have opened up about overcoming infidelity. They share about their new book, "The Good Fight: Wanting to Leave, Choosing to Stay, and the Powerful Practice for Lovin…
 
You may catch Brooke Burns in your favorite Christmas Hallmark movie this season or as the host of “Master Minds” on the Game Show Network but she's survived and thrived for decades in Hollywood as she began her career with breakout roles in “Ally McBeal,” “Baywatch,” and “Melrose Place.” Brooke shares how her faith has always been her guiding ligh…
 
American Idol finalist Colton Dixon quickly became a household name as a fan favorite & his music now boasts over 100 million streams across all platforms. Today he & wife Annie are about to celebrate their first Christmas with their newborn twins, Athens and Dior. But that is nothing short of a miracle. Colton shares how after an emergency c-secti…
 
Claudia Hammond asks why there is little research in the UK into whether childhood racism can cause mental health problems in the future. She is joined by BBC Broadcaster, Rajan Datar, psychiatrist Kam Bhui and Professor Craig Morgan to discuss the importance of investigating racism and its effects and how recent findings are pointing towards the k…
 
Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. With her novels under development as major motion pictures and her Baxter Family books being developed into a TV series, she carved out time to give 9-time Emmy winn…
 
Receiving Grammy nominations and winning American Music Awards are sure nice when you are Billboard’s Hot Christian Songwriter of the Year, but even Matthew West has discovered in this year of sleepless nights, social unrest & the pandemic that what matters most are the simple things. And the profound ones too like the hope of Christmas. He examine…
 
Connor and Jack get meta and lose both the forest and the trees while dancing with Robert Hass' poem, "The Problem of Describing Trees." They discuss the poem's use of self-reflexivity, scientific language, and tango with a Yeats allusion.More on Robert Hass here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/robert-hassThe Problem of Describing TreesBy: …
 
With over two million social media followers, best-selling author & speaker Lysa TerKeurst is one of the most prominent female Christian voices today. Lysa faced a devastating public betrayal & as she chose to reconcile with her husband, she invested more than 1,000 hours in a biblical study of forgiveness. Lysa shares with 9-time Emmy winner David…
 
What really works when it comes to preventing and dealing with mental health difficulties? Can a world exist in which no one is held back by mental health problems.? That’s the vision of Professor Miranda Wolpert Head of the Mental Health Priority Area at the Wellcome Trust. With £200million to spend over five years, Miranda Wolpert and her team ar…
 
Four-time GRAMMY award winning duo for KING & COUNTRY began nearly a decade ago and brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone had no idea what a ride it would be! Highlights like singing with the incomparable Dolly Parton and creating the unifying hit "Together" featuring Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin have brought them worldwide recognition. Joel shares with…
 
Have you ever lost a loved one who was still a part of your life in some way? Did it leave you feeling confused or frozen about how to continue with life? Claudia Hammond examines the distressing phenomenon known as ambiguous loss – the enormous challenge of dealing with a loss when you aren’t sure what’s happened, leaving you searching for answers…
 
Connor and Jack amble through the enchantingly twisting Richard Siken poem "Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors." They discuss the responsibility of artists, the ways that culture both creates and is created, and how the poem flows to the logical extremes of its subject.Get "War of the Foxes" here: https://bookshop.org/books/war-of-the-foxes/978155…
 
Dolly Parton has always been a big believer that God is in everything and having faith is a key to making it through life. Perhaps that's how her iconic career has spanned 6 decades. She shares what she is thankful for this year, what her personal plans are for this Christmas in the midst of the pandemic, and why she decided to bring us some holida…
 
The millions of people who have read his books or watch him on TV after SNL know that best-selling author and pastor Andy Stanley has insight that people crave. He tells 9-time Emmy winner David Sams that his latest book, "Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets" will help you write the chapters of your story one good decision at a time - even in the middl…
 
Claudia Hammond launches the 2021 All in the Mind Awards – a chance for anyone who has received help for a mental health problem to recognise the people and organisations who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.1 in 3 of us will experience problems with our mental health at some time in our lives. Help and support from people around us can …
 
In a world full of anxiety, trusted mommy blogger and best-selling author Becky Thompson (1M followers on her Midnight Mom Devotional Facebook) brings rest to a weary soul. Her latest book, "Peace: Hope and Healing for the Anxious Momma's Heart" strikes a nerve and says her fear is not a faith issue. She sits down with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams…
 
As a linebacker in the NFL, earning an MBA isn't exactly the norm. Just ask Sam Acho, author of the new book, "Let The World See You: How to be Real in a World Full of Fakes." Sam hid behind a mask as he quietly pursued a higher education. He shares with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams the challenges he faced being a preacher's kid and son of Nigeria…
 
Can one person’s story of their struggle with, and recovery from, mental health difficulties help other people with their own mental health difficulties? Claudia Hammond talks to Mike Slade from Nottingham University who is running the Neon trial into recovery stories to find out. Are you more open, less conscientious or more neurotic than you used…
 
Connor and Jack go back to the roots of Close Talking for a literary reflection on a consequential election. The first episode of Close Talking, which came out just over four years ago, was a reckoning with the 2016 election. Now, with references to Adrienne Rich, James Baldwin, Shakira and more, Connor and Jack offer a significantly more uplifting…
 
Levi Lusko, author of the new book "Take Back Your Life" and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church encourages you to breathe, think and live! With the pandemic, political and racial division defining this year, he shares incredible tools to help you find strength for each day from the practical side of life to the spiritual. He knows the pain of losing …
 
Fake news can travel faster and lodge itself deeper in the mind than the truth. Fact-checking comes too late and lies have already spread like a virus. Claudia Hammond investigates a new approach to pre-bunking misinformation via social media by inoculating the mind through exposing people to a mild dose of the methods used to disseminate fake news…
 
Multi-platinum selling country superstar Sara Evans is no stranger to the stage. She's been performing since she was a child and shares with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams the heartbreaks and highlights that make up her memoir "Born To Fly"; from the pain of divorce to her multiple near death experiences. She's battled anxiety too and these are the …
 
More than two-thirds of adults in the UK have reported feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect Covid-19 is having on their life. The most common issues affecting well-being are worry about the future, feeling stressed or anxious and feeling bored. So what does the data say about what has really happened to the nation’s mental health durin…
 
Singer/Songwriter Joy Villa has shocked the masses while expressing her support of President Trump in recent years at the Grammys with her MAGA inspired couture. While she is known for turning heads and topping the charts, she shared with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams why she is so passionate about her conservative stance and how to dodge the hater…
 
Connor and Jack revisit Louise Glück after she won the Nobel Prize in Literature, discussing Part 2 of the poem "October." They explore the poem's haunting and brilliant use of repetition, its idea of "balm after violence," and the poem's connection with the myth of Persephone, 9/11, and the current American moment.OctoberBy: Louise Glück2.Summer a…
 
The “Queen of Clean", female comedian Chonda Pierce, has been taking safety precautions by quarantining like many of us, but there is no containing her brand of funny as she hits the road on her drive-in, stand-up comedy show "Chonda Pierce Live." She stops by the homestead for a hilarious rant with 9-time Emmy winner David Sams about Zoom dating, …
 
Got a confession of guilt? You're not alone. Maybe it's guilt about sending your kids back to school in the middle of the pandemic or guilt about not struggling financially because you haven't lost your job. If the expectations put on you have led you to feeling like you're not doing enough, best-selling author/life coach/speaker Valorie Burton say…
 
Connor and Jack dive into the briny depths of one of Herman Melville's non-aquatic poetic works, "The Apparition." They talk about its contemporary applicability, their love of Brian Jacques' Redwall books, and share some thoughts on how many avenues there are into the poem. It's a spooky episode for the Halloween season!The Apparition(A Retrospect…
 
With all the fear and uncertainty of 2020, we could all use a miracle right about now! Radha Mitchell (Man on Fire, The Shack) stars in the new movie, "2 Hearts" in theaters only October 16 and it tells a love story for the ages! Based on a true story, it's the romantic journey of two couples in two decades that celebrates life, love and the genero…
 
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