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Kaveh Akbar's debut novel asks what makes a 'Martyr!'

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

In the novel Martyr!, Cyrus Shams is an Iranian American, the survivor of many hardships, a poet and a young man looking for meaning in his life. Shams shares many of those characteristics with his creator, Kaveh Akbar. Akbar is a well-known, award-winning poet, the director of the English and creative writing major at the University of Iowa and the poetry editor for The Nation. Martyr!, his debut novel, explores addiction, loss, sexuality, racism, the search for purpose and, as the title implies, martyrdom.

Later in the show, wildlife rehabilitators discuss lead poisoning in Iowa's wild birds, and what Iowans can do to help.

Kaveh Akbar, author
Kay Neumann, executive director of SOAR
Jenni Boonjakuakul, founder and executive director of Iowa Bird Rehabilitation

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio