Rank #1: Kaveh Akbar vs. Bewilderment
Danez and Franny dive deep with Divedapper creator, poet, professor, and voracious reader Kaveh Akhbar. The squad talks Twitter, trees, memorizing poems while in love, and the Milwaukee Bucks, plus much more.
May 01 2018
Rank #2: Natalie Diaz vs. the Lexicon
Natalie Diaz joins Danez and Franny to talk the talk on love, language, and words creating worlds on episode 5 of VS.
Sep 05 2017
Rank #3: Safia Elhillo vs. Shame
Safia Elhillo is a goshdarn timespace-suspending poet. She’s also this week’s guest. Danez, Franny, and Safia talk unraveling shame, opening the door to a queer Muslim literary community, caesuras and contrapunctals, and much much more!
May 15 2018
Rank #4: Jamila Woods vs. The Remedy
Can we fanperson out for a goshdarn second? We have the one and only Jamila Woods in the building! She talks about her family’s penchant for healing, sampling loopholes, lactose tolerance, bad interviews, and more.
Dec 13 2018
Rank #5: Angel Nafis vs. Observation
Angel Nafis is paying attention. She talks with Danez and Franny about learning to rescale her sight, getting through grad school with some new skills in her pocket, activated charcoal, and her two Franks (Ocean and O’Hara).
May 29 2018
Rank #6: Julian Randall vs. Forgiveness
On our next dispatch from our visit to Oxford, Missisippi, our fearless hosts get into it with poet Julian Randall. Julian talks about wrestling with forgiveness, searching for records of his family in the nearby town of Water Valley, and how a workshop prompt got him to come out to his parents.
Jun 11 2019
Rank #7: José Olivarez vs. Grownups
Poet, educator, and Young Chicago Authors Marketing Director José Olivarez explores adulting and gives some podcast-veteran advice to Danez and Franny.
Jul 18 2017
Rank #8: Hanif Abdurraqib & Angel Nafis vs. AWP Live!
VS gets live at AWP, where Danez and Franny hosted a packed show featuring the magnificent Hanif Abdurraqib and Angel Nafis. Hear some poems, some nipple-related discussion,and some rooftop giggles on this episode, recorded in front of a live audience on March 8th, 2018.
Mar 20 2018
Rank #9: Fatimah Asghar vs. the People
Fatimah Asghar is a poet and creator of the hit web series Brown Girls, which received a development deal from HBO. She talks about the show's evolution, finding her people, and loving her mediocrity.
Aug 01 2017
Rank #10: Aimee Nezhukumatathil vs. the Garden
Get your hands in the dirt on this wonderful episode with Aimee Nezhukumatathil. The brilliant poet and Ole Miss professor gives a status update on her garden, her son’s sock budget, writing without a veil, and literary friendships. Plus, a tattoo callback to an earlier episode!
Jun 25 2019
Rank #11: Ilya Kaminsky vs. The Republic
Ilya Kaminsky can weave beautiful sentences out of thin air, then build a narrative tapestry from them that is unlike any story you’ve ever read. The author of Dancing in Odessa and new book Deaf Republic talks with Danez and Franny about how narrative can help when poetics are limited, poets from around the world we should be reading, writing between countries as a refugee, and more.
Aug 20 2019
Rank #12: Nate Marshall vs. Fear
VS hosts Danez and Franny chop it up with poet, editor, professor, and bald-headed cutie Nate Marshall. They discuss the terror of a new book, white supremacist Nate Marshall, masculinity and hero narratives, Voldemort vs. the Joker, and much more. Be sure to subscribe to VS, and leave us a wonderful review on iTunes to help the show grow!
Aug 28 2018
Rank #13: Camonghne Felix vs. Romance
Camonghne Felix is our president, a damn good poet, and a wonderful human. She sits down with Franny and Danez to talk about romance, heartbreak, flowers and phalanges, and her BRAND NEW collection Build Yourself a Boat, which is in stores now!
NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Apr 02 2019
Rank #14: Jamaal May vs. The Multiverse
Jamaal May blasts off into hyperspace on this episode of VS. Danez and Franny run with the poet, MC, professor, and thinker as they talk waves, matter, neurology, future, and even a few poems.
Apr 03 2018
Rank #15: Raych Jackson vs. the Good Books
Raych Jackson swings through the VS studio to talk her win at NUPIC (The National Poetry Individual Competition), the brilliant kidlets in the third grade class she teaches, and remixing biblical tales in her first book, which is in the works. Plus, a new segment makes its debut, with a poem from a VS alum!
Oct 03 2017
Rank #16: VS Live with Fatimah Asghar, José Olivarez, and Paul Tran
Happy new year y’all! VS returns with a special bonus episode to tide you over until Season 3 drops in February. In the meantime, savor and enjoy this live episode with the squad Fatimah Asghar, José Olivarez, and Paul Tran, recorded as part of the Chicago Podcast Festival. Season 3, on the way!!!
Jan 29 2019
Rank #17: Daniel Borzutzky vs. the Desert
Daniel Borzutzky isn’t afraid of the fire–he’s determined to call it what it is. The poet, professor, and translator talks about the links between Chicago and Chile, the desert as a site of incarceration, how translating shapes his poetry, and facing the violence of our moment head-on.
Apr 30 2019
Rank #18: Diana Khoi Nguyen vs. Silence
Diana Khoi Nguyen is tackling silence. The poet and multimedia artist talks with Danez and Franny about writing into the spaces left by her late brother, splicing family videos, teaching MBA students to codeswitch, and interviewing the Vietnamese diaspora across generations. Plus, a very existential This vs. That, and a FANTASTIC pun to end the show.
Also–VERY IMPORTANTLY–follow her dog on IG at https://www.instagram.com/waitingforbeckett/.
Aug 06 2019
Rank #19: Tasha vs. the Nest
If you don’t fall head over heels with Tasha by the time you finish this episode, run this pod back and give it another shot because she is to die for. The singer, guitarist, songwriter, poet, and organizer stops by to talk nest-building, badass moms, and more with our fearless, kvelling hosts. Plus TWO in-studio musical performances from Tasha!
Apr 16 2019
Rank #20: Morgan Parker vs. Now
Morgan Parker has some through-lines. The poet, editor, and YA novelist has been making and shaping literary work since third grade, when she launched her own publishing house (and hilarity ensued). She talks about follow-through, trying to do everything, being a millenial who isn’t very millenial, escaping to the ‘70s, and much more.
Jul 23 2019