Poetry For All

Finding Our Way Into Great Poems

About the show

This podcast is for those who already love poetry and for those who know very little about it. In this podcast, we read a poem, discuss it, see what makes it tick, learn how it works, grow from it, and then read it one more time.

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  • Episode 66: Katy Didden, The Priest Questions the Lava

    November 21st, 2023  |  Season 5  |  26 mins 10 secs
    climate change, ecopoetics, erasure, global warming, iceland, lava, persona poem, spirituality, visual poetry, volcano, word and image

    In our discussion of "The Priest Questions the Lava," Katy describes her interest in the sentience of the natural world, her erasure of documentary texts, her interest in visual poetry, and the importance of poems that examine ethical and spiritual questions in an era of climate change.

  • Episode 65: Du Fu, Facing Snow

    October 19th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  23 mins 57 secs
    chinese poetry, du fu, poetry in translation, tang dynasty

    In this episode, Lucas Bender guides us through his translation of Du Fu's "Facing Snow," one of the most famous poems in the Chinese language.

  • Episode 64: Shakespeare, Sonnet 29

    September 22nd, 2023  |  Season 5  |  19 mins 51 secs
    comparison, disgrace, friendship, joy, loneliness, shakespeare, social media, sonnet 29, surgeon general

    Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 opens a world of comparison and despair, but also the deep joy of a dear friend that lifts one from disgrace. In our discussion, we consider present-day concerns about social media, the Surgeon General's warning about an epidemic of loneliness in this country, and a long-term Harvard study of happiness.

  • Episode 63: Rumi, Colorless, Nameless, Free

    August 29th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  29 mins 56 secs
    couplets, divine, ghazal, islam, persian poetry, rumi, sufism, translation

    In this episode, poet and translator Haleh Liza Gafori joins us to closely read and discuss a poem by Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (1207-1273 CE), one of the greatest of all Sufi poets. We discuss the poetic constraints of the ghazal form, Rumi's encounters with the divine, and the significance of his friendship with Shams, a man who transformed his life and poetic practice.

  • Episode 62: Kobayashi Issa, Haiku

    August 11th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  17 mins 19 secs
    adverbs, haiku, japanese poetry, kireji, kobayashi issa, robert hass

    What makes haiku "the perfect poetic form"? This episode reads three wonderful haiku by Kobayashi Issa and explores what makes them so moving and fun.

  • Episode 61: Ada Limón, "The Raincoat"

    May 11th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  18 mins 34 secs
    ada limon, body, children, gratitude, insight, love, mothers, music, narrative, pain, poet laureate, poetic line, protection, surprise, the raincoat, wonder

    With her quality of attention and focus on vivid, specific images, Ada Limón brings us to a moment of surprising insight in "The Raincoat."

  • Episode 60: Li-Young Lee, From Blossoms

    May 2nd, 2023  |  Season 5  |  19 mins 7 secs
    from blossoms, incantation, joy, li-young lee, peaches, repetition, rose

    In this episode, we explore the poetry of joy in a world of shade and death, looking to sounds and repetitions while examining how "From Blossoms" speaks back to the poem that immediately precedes it in Lee's great book "Rose."

  • Episode 59: Tichborne's Elegy

    April 7th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  21 mins 25 secs
    catholicism, elegy, english renaissance, execution, paradox, queen elizabeth i, repetition, tichborne

    In this episode, we read the elegy of Chidiock Tichborne, written the night before his execution, and contemplate the power of repetitions, the balanced precision of a man facing his end, and the drumbeat of monosyllables that takes his imagination beyond the moment of his death.

  • Episode 58: Richie Hofmann, Things That Are Rare

    February 27th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  23 mins 57 secs
    art, beauty, c.p. cavafy, desire, environment of feeling, eros, james merrill, lyric, presence and absence, richie hofmann, sonnet, still life, vibrant matter
  • Episode 57: Edna St. Vincent Millay, She had forgotten how the August night

    February 14th, 2023  |  Season 5  |  23 mins 46 secs
    desire, eros, formalverse, imagery, lineation, new woman, pulitzer prize, repetition, sonnet

    Edna St. Vincent Millay was the emblem of the "New Woman" and one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century. In this episode, we focus on a sonnet that showcases how Millay approached desire and eros in her poetry.

  • Episode 56: Queen Elizabeth, On Monsieur's Departure

    January 31st, 2023  |  Season 5  |  18 mins 46 secs
    duke of anjou, iambic pentameter, petrarch, portraiture, queen elizabeth i, renaissance poetry, rhymed verse, selfhood

    Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was one of the longest-reigning monarchs in all of British history, but she was also a gifted poet. In this episode, we discuss "On Monsieur's Departure," a poem that is inspired by Petrarchan conventions and gives insight into the public and private selves of a powerful queen.

  • Episode 55: Kay Ryan, Crib

    December 19th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  17 mins 17 secs
    assonance, christmas, etymology, innocence, kay ryan, recombinant rhyme, rhythm, theft, wit

    In this episode, we discuss Kay Ryan's "Crib," a brief poem that begins with an interest in the deep archaeology of language and shifts to a powerful meditation on theft, innocence, and guilt.

  • Grant Writing Break

    December 5th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  2 mins 59 secs

    This week, Joanne and Abram take a break to write a grant for the podcast. We very much hope you enjoy Poetry For All. And if you do, please leave us a review, share it with a friend, and let us know! Thank you all for listening.

  • Episode 54: Carl Phillips, To Autumn

    November 21st, 2022  |  Season 5  |  24 mins 47 secs
    carl phillips, hopkins, horace, intimacy, keats, ode, pindar, restlessness, shakespeare, sonnet, to autumn

    In this episode, we talk with David Baker about "To Autumn" by Carl Phillips, exploring the way Phillips masterfully achieves a sense of intimacy and restlessness in a lyric ode that tosses between two parts while incorporating the sonnet tradition.

  • Episode 53: Carter Revard, What the Eagle Fan Says

    November 7th, 2022  |  Season 5  |  25 mins 38 secs
    accentual verse, anglo saxon poetry, contrapuntal poetry, native american poetry, osage nation

    In this episode, we focus on the life and work of Carter Revard, an Osage poet whose medieval scholarship informs the structure of "What the Eagle Fan Says." Jessica Rosenfeld, a professor of medieval literature at Washington University in St. Louis, joins us for this discussion.

  • Episode 52: Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

    October 24th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  19 mins 18 secs
    aging, autumn, shakespeare, sonnet 73, twilight, volta, writing process

    This sonnet reflects on the autumn of life and an intimate love, and it turns on that love growing stronger in and through its age, even as the body decays.