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.

Introducing our brand new Poetry For All website: https://poetryforallpod.com! Please visit the new website to learn more about our guests, search for thematic episodes (ranging from Black History Month to the season of autumn), and subscribe to our newsletter.

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  • Episode 13: Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb

    January 25th, 2021  |  Season 2  |  18 mins 48 secs
    21st century, black history month, free verse, hope, social justice and advocacy

    In this episode, we discuss Amanda Gorman's "The Hill We Climb," the poem that she recited at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. We discuss how well suited the poem is to its occasion, Gorman's powerful use of sound, and the conversation that she engages in--with John Winthrop, the Constitution, the Bible, George Washington, Maya Angelou, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Like everyone else in America, we are in love with this poem and hope you enjoy the discussion.

    For the full text of "The Hill We Climb," please see this page: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/amanda-gorman-inaugural-poem-transcript/index.html

    For more on Amanda Gorman, please see personal website: https://www.theamandagorman.com/

  • Episode 12: James Merrill, Christmas Tree

    December 2nd, 2020  |  Season 1  |  21 mins 37 secs
    20th century, advent/christmas, aging, body in pain, elegy, friendship, grief and loss, guest on the show, intimacy, lgbtqia month, love, science and medicine, visual poetry
  • Episode 11: Alberto Ríos, When Giving Is All We Have

    November 17th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  15 mins 46 secs
    21st century, free verse, friendship, gratitude, hispanic heritage month, joy, repetition or refrain, thanksgiving

    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
    21st century, ekphrasis, free verse, guest on the show, intimacy, visual poetry, word and image

    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
    17th century, anger, children, christianity, elegy, grief and loss, repetition or refrain, rhymed verse, sonnet, surprise, women's history month

    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
    21st century, black history month, free verse, guest on the show, narrative, surprise, wonder

    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
    17th century, christianity, intimacy, restlessness, rhymed verse, 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
    21st century, erasure, eros and desire, grief and loss, intimacy, women's history month

    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
    20th century, anger, black history month, harlem renaissance, modernism, rhymed verse, social justice and advocacy, 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
    17th century, eros and desire, love, rhymed verse, sonnet, summer

    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
    18th century, anger, black history month, christianity, hope, rhymed verse, social justice and advocacy, surprise

    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
    19th century, ars poetica, rhymed verse, spirituality, surprise, women's history month

    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
    20th century, ars poetica, free verse, laborers, wonder

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