Abram Van Engen is an English professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.