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 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.

  • Episode 51: Martín Espada, Jumping Off the Mystic Tobin Bridge

    October 10th, 2022  |  Season 4  |  30 mins 20 secs
    advocacy, boston, charles stuart, lawyer, lineation, migration, narrative poetry, patterns of repetition, poetic swerve, poetic turn, poetry, poetry as advocacy, poetry of place, poetry of witness, rhythm, social justice, swerve, tenant lawyer, tobin bridge, volta

    In this episode, we talk with the 2021 winner of the National Book Award, Martín Espada, about narrative poetry, poetry of engagement, and the witness of poetry as a work of advocacy.

  • 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.