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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Episodes

  • Episode 50: Rafael Campo, Primary Care

    September 26th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  22 mins 24 secs
    argument, blank verse, caesura, enjambment, iambic pentameter, illness narratives, insight, medical humanities, primary care, rafael campo, refrain

    In this episode, we discuss how Rafael Campo, a practicing physician, uses blank verse to explore the experience of illness and suffering.

  • Episode 49: Lisel Mueller, When I am Asked

    September 12th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  19 mins 57 secs
    ars poetica, elegy, lisel mueller, nature, when i am asked

    In this episode, we closely read Lisel Mueller's "When I am Asked" in order to better understand grief as a deep source of artistic expression.

  • Episode 48: Joy Harjo, An American Sunrise

    April 28th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  21 mins 47 secs
    american sunrise, golden shovel, indigenous literature, joy harjo, poet laureate, survivance

    In this episode, we examine The Golden Shovel form and discuss the idea of "survivance" through the work of Muscogee (Creek) poet Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States.

  • Episode 47: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

    April 22nd, 2022  |  Season 4  |  26 mins 39 secs
    america, christopher hanlon, civil war, crossing brooklyn ferry, death, democracy, emerson, leaves of grass, patterns of repetition, prophecy, slavery, song of myself, whitman

    In this episode, Christopher Hanlon joins us to discuss an excerpt from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. We discuss the poem's prophetic voice, its patterns of repetition, the connective tissue that binds his ideas and invites readers in, and the cultural context in which Whitman produced his work.

  • Episode 46: Lucille Clifton, spring song

    April 13th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  17 mins 35 secs
    black poetry, easter, lucille clifton, resurrection, spring, spring song

    Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was one of the most powerful poets of the twentieth century. This joyful poem caps a sequence of sixteen poems called "some jesus," which walks through biblical characters (beginning with Adam and Eve) and ends on four poems for Holy Week and Easter.

  • From Talk Easy: Claudia Rankine’s Just Us: An American Conversation

    April 3rd, 2022  |  Season 4  |  15 mins 33 secs
    claudia rankine, sam fragoso, talk easy

    We’re sharing a special preview of a podcast we’ve been enjoying, Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso, from Pushkin Industries. Talk Easy is a weekly interview podcast, where writer Sam Fragoso invites actors, writers, activists, and musicians to come to the table and speak from the heart in ways you probably haven't heard from them before. Driven by curiosity, he’s had revealing conversations with everyone from George Saunders and Cate Blanchett to Ocean Vuong and Gloria Steinem. In this preview, Sam talks with poet Claudia Rankine about her book Just Us: An American Conversation, how history remains present for black people, and why we must repeatedly unpack what privilege looks and sounds like in America. You can listen to Talk Easy at https://podcasts.pushkin.fm/tepoetryforall.

  • Episode 45: Ben Jonson, On My First Son

    March 23rd, 2022  |  Season 4  |  21 mins 18 secs
    apostrophe, ben jonson, elegy, epigram, grief, heroic couplets, loss, plague

    In this episode, we look at Ben Jonson's elegy for his son who died of the plague at the age of 7. This poem is so brief, and yet, it manages to cross a lot of emotional terrain as Jonson struggles to understand the profundity of his loss.

  • Episode 44: Ann Hudson, Soap

    March 16th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  23 mins 19 secs
    assonance, beauty, couplets, marie curie, museum of science and industry, narrative poetry, progress, radiation, radium, radium girls, research, science, technology, teresa leo

    In this episode, Ann Hudson joins us to read her poem “Soap” and discuss how its narrative structure allows her to explore the history of science, technology, and our notions of progress and beauty, even when those notions do great harm to ordinary workers.

  • Episode 43: Margaret Noodin, What the Peepers Say

    March 2nd, 2022  |  Season 4  |  24 mins 22 secs
    anishinaabemowin, climate change, great lakes, indigenous poetry, landscape, nature, onomatopoeia, peepers, spring, translation

    In this episode, Margaret Noodin joins us to discuss her poem "What the Peepers Say." In our conversation, we talk about Margaret's writing in both Anishinaabemowin and English, her attention to sounds and rhythms, and what the peeper--a tiny springtime frog--can teach us about presence and listening.

  • Episode 42: Robert Hayden, Frederick Douglass

    February 23rd, 2022  |  Season 4  |  17 mins 58 secs
    african american, anaphora, david blight, fred fetrow, frederick douglass, patrick rosal, prophecy, robert hayden, sonnet, trochee

    In this episode, we offer a close reading of "Frederick Douglass," a poem in which Hayden channels the prophetic energies of his subject in order to imagine what freedom might one day mean.

  • Episode 41: F.E.W. Harper, Learning to Read

    February 16th, 2022  |  Season 3  |  23 mins 27 secs
    ballad meter, black poetry, f.e.w. harper, frances ellen watkins harper, learning to read, literacy, narrative poetry

    Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a prolific writer and activist of the nineteenth century. In this episode, Professor Janaka Bowman Lewis joins us to discuss her power, influence, voice, and work. "Learning to Read" foregrounds the ballad style in a narrative poem designed to keep alive the memories of fighting for both literacy and liberation.

  • Episode 40: William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

    February 9th, 2022  |  Season 3  |  25 mins 58 secs
    great vowel shift., homoeroticism, love, meter, rhyme, sonnet, sonnet sequence, volta

    In this episode, we provide a close reading of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, which allows us to consider the poem's definition of a love that is enduring. In addition, though, we consider a reading of the poem which foregrounds a disappointed poetic speaker who can see the love's transience, too. We also pay special attention to rhythm and sound, and we even get to learn a bit about the Great Vowel Shift from Professor Kristin Van Engen, a linguist at Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Episode 39: Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear The Mask

    February 2nd, 2022  |  Season 3  |  22 mins 9 secs
    african american poetry, paul laurence dunbar, rafia zafar, rondeau, we wear the mask

    This week, Rafia Zafar joins us to discuss "We Wear the Mask" by the great poet and writer Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906). Rafia leads us in a discussion of Dunbar's fame and influence while opening up broader themes of African American history and literature.

  • Episode 38: Laura Van Prooyen, Elegy for My Mother's Mind

    January 26th, 2022  |  Season 3  |  29 mins 16 secs
    assonance, couplets, dementia, elegy, image, lineation, memory loss, metaphor, mothers

    In this episode, our guest Laura Van Prooyen reads "Elegy for My Mother's Mind," a poem that navigates the complexities of memory, loss, and familial relationships. Laura's poem gives us an opportunity to think about the deep sources of poetic inspiration, the revision process, and the power of metaphor.

  • Episode 37: Why Poetry For All

    January 19th, 2022  |  Season 3  |  14 mins 31 secs
    creative writing, overview, poetry for all, poetry podcasts

    Joanne and Abram launch the fourth season of Poetry For All with a short discussion about what this podcast is all about and how it relates to all the other great poetry podcasts in the world.

  • Episode 36: Denise Levertov, On the Mystery of the Incarnation

    December 21st, 2021  |  Season 3  |  16 mins 42 secs
    contemplation, incarnation, incarnational poetics, levertov, meditation, mystery, organic form

    In this episode, we discuss Denise Levertov's powerful meditation on the horrors of the twentieth century, and how the mystery of the incarnation might provide humanity with hope.