In this episode we talk with Christian Wiman about the arc of a book of poetry, the structure of an individual poem, the desire for openness and accessibility, and the surprising shifts from levity to seriousness that take even the writer by surprise. The episode considers how poets construct and organize their poems, and it also touches on differing approaches poets take across their career.
Christian Wiman is the Clement-Muehl Professor of Communication Arts at Yale Divinity School, the former editor of Poetry magazine, and the author, editor, and translator of multiple books. He has won countless awards for his poetry and also has extraordinary books of prose, including My Bright Abyss and He Held Radical Light. Today, we talk with him about his poem “I Don’t Want to be a Spice Store” from his latest book of poetry, Survival is a Style.
For more on Christian Wiman, please see The Poetry Foundation.
This poem comes from Survival is a Style.