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 12: James Merrill, Christmas Tree

    December 2nd, 2020  |  Season 1  |  21 mins 37 secs
    aids, christmas, concrete poems, elegy, illness, literary friendships, visual poems
  • Episode 11: Alberto Ríos, When Giving Is All We Have

    November 17th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  15 mins 46 secs
    alberto ríos, gift economy, giving, when giving is all we have

    In this episode, we read and discuss a poem about giving by Alberto Ríos, the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona.

  • Episode 10: Mary Jo Bang, The Head of a Dancer

    November 10th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  22 mins 22 secs
    bauhaus, ekphrasis, head of a dancer, lotte jacobi, lucia moholy, mary jo bang, prose poetry, voice

    This week Mary Jo Bang joins us! We learn about the Bauhaus movement and a photographer named Lucia Moholy. And we look at both ekphrastic poetry (poetry about an image) and prose poetry (poetry with no line breaks).

  • Episode 9: Anne Bradstreet, In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet

    October 27th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  14 mins 52 secs
    anne bradstreet, doubt, elegy, faith, in memory of my dear grandchild elizabeth bradstreet, multiple voices, puritan, repetition, sonnet

    This week we read Anne Bradstreet's elegy for her grandchild Elizabeth and draw out the multiple voices (both faith and doubt, both grief and consolation) and the tensions and deep emotions in the work of this talented Puritan poet--the first woman from British North America to publish a book of poems.

  • Episode 8: Toi Derricotte, "The Minks"

    October 20th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  20 mins 18 secs
    african american poetry, captivity, carl phillips, narrative poetry, stanza, the minks, toi derricotte

    This week, with special guest Carl Phillips, we take a close look at "The Minks" and consider the art of narrative poetry and the movements of a single-stanza poem.

  • Episode 7: John Donne, Holy Sonnet 14

    October 14th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  15 mins 54 secs
    batter my heart, holy sonnet, john donne, religious poetry, religious struggle, sonnet

    This week we look at one of John Donne's Holy Sonnets from the seventeenth century. This famous poem (#14, "Batter my heart") turns a poetic tradition of love and longing to religious ends, earnestly seeking God and questioning whether union with God will ever be achieved.

  • Episode 6: Jen Bervin, Nets

    October 6th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  19 mins 13 secs
    erasure, jen bervin, nets, palimpsest, shakespeare, solmaz sharif, sonnet

    In this episode we learn about erasure poetry and poetic tradition by looking at Jen Bervin's incredible book NETS, created from the sonnets of Shakespeare.

  • Episode 5: Claude McKay, "America"

    September 29th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  14 mins 40 secs
    america, claude mckay, harlem renaissance, race, sonnet

    In this episode, we discuss Claude McKay, an influential poet of the Harlem Renaissance, taking a close look at his incredible sonnet "America."

  • Episode 4: Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

    September 22nd, 2020  |  Season 1  |  16 mins 12 secs
    shakespeare, sonnet, sonnet 18

    In this episode we introduce listeners to one of the most resilient forms in English-language poetry: the sonnet. And we do it with one of the most famous sonnets Shakespeare wrote.

  • Episode 3: Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa to America

    September 15th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  14 mins 9 secs
    african american literature, early american literature, on being brought from africa to america, phillis wheatley

    This episode examines a short, incredible, difficult and important poem by one of the founding figures of African American literary traditions, Phillis Wheatley.

  • Episode 2: Emily Dickinson, Tell all the truth

    September 10th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  14 mins 13 secs
    analysis, ars poetica, emily dickinson, poetry, tell all the truth

    What does it mean to tell the truth "slant"? Is this a ballad, a hymn? What is "ars poetica" and is this an example? Join us for a discussion of this great, short, fun, rich poem by Dickinson.

  • Episode 1: Seamus Heaney, Digging

    August 31st, 2020  |  Season 1  |  14 mins 44 secs
    ars poetica, digging, heaney, poetry

    We begin Poetry for All by teaching and talking about a great poem on poetry itself: Seamus Heaney's "Digging."