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New Books in Poetry

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Interview with Poets about their New Books

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Interview with Poets about their New Books

iTunes Ratings

15 Ratings
Average Ratings
9
2
1
0
3

Plum

By MurasakiFloof - May 22 2019
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The guests are wonderful, wonderful ways to wage the hours of my days.

Too much chatter.

By OaklandEd - Nov 18 2013
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The interviews are sloppy and informal with a good deal of meaningless chatter. It takes forever to get to meaningful content. I listened to two podcasts and felt I was wasting my time.

iTunes Ratings

15 Ratings
Average Ratings
9
2
1
0
3

Plum

By MurasakiFloof - May 22 2019
Read more
The guests are wonderful, wonderful ways to wage the hours of my days.

Too much chatter.

By OaklandEd - Nov 18 2013
Read more
The interviews are sloppy and informal with a good deal of meaningless chatter. It takes forever to get to meaningful content. I listened to two podcasts and felt I was wasting my time.
Cover image of New Books in Poetry

New Books in Poetry

Latest release on Sep 14, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 days ago

Rank #1: Dorothea Lasky, “Rome” (Liveright, 2014)

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Dorothea Lasky‘s Rome (Liveright, 2014) is a collection that will catch you off guard. Lasky lures the reader in with familiar language and imagery only to have them suddenly realize they’ve been brought to room where the walls wobble and collapse, eternally revealing darker passageways.


She is undoubtedly a language poet but also one who sees language as a roadblock. The communication is in the sound. Just as with Hemingway, words are merely an entry point to meaning. Stripped of even punctuation, these lines hurl themselves at the reader.


Do not take this economy of language as simplicity. Within it are the layers of desire, grief, betrayal, and rage. Lasky’s speakers embody everything that is human yet alien, familiar and foreign. Emboldened by their own savage humanity, they assert themselves into landscapes and consciousness.


But this is not easily won– Lasky lets us into her process, revision, and search for obsession. If she cannot lose herself in the poem then she will not offer it up to the world.


When at sixty it might hit you


What you’ve given up


When your sentimental heart


Might let its hair down and see


The sun for the first time


When you pick up this book, read the lines aloud, impose your will on them, and see where they take you.

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Jul 30 2014

53mins

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Rank #2: James Franco, “Directing Herbert White” (Graywolf Press, 2014)

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Every poet has their obsessions and for James Franco they are childhood, gender, sex, innocence, and the work place he knows best: the film industry. Within these poetic frames we’re introduced to various voices, landscapes nearly worn out with elegy, and a repertoire of imagery that is both tender and violent. Franco is our poet of earnest grotesquerie, favoring clarity to vagueness as he depicts the bizarre zones of early experience that crash against poems of adulthood that occupy spaces most readers do not have access to: film and celebrity. However, Franco’s poems seem to argue that a kinship exists between the world of the adolescent and the world of a movie set. In his poems, we see the intersection of both and the distinctions between sincerity and artifice are blurred and complicated by a speaker who seems simultaneously anchored in both of these perceptual districts. In addition to Franco’s fidelity to the bramble of childhood memory and glittering industrial complex of show business, his poems are deceptively musical, employing internal rhymes and capturing the tiny voltage of music inside every syllable, creating a sonic landscape one might miss if you don’t read the poems aloud. When the book Directing Herbert White (Graywolf Press, 2014) was first published, it made a big splash in the otherwise small pond of the poetry world, and it reminded me of what Franco does best: challenges society’s notions of the artist and the dynamic – and at times rigid communities – they inhabit. During out chat we talk about the relationship between childhood and violence, the creative writing workshop as a site of instruction, his various poetic influences, and so much more.

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Dec 21 2015

1hr 26mins

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Rank #3: Paul Rouzer, “On Cold Mountain: A Buddhist Reading of the Hanshan Poems” (U. of Washington Press, 2015)

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Paul Rouzer‘s new book offers a Buddhist reading of a famous collection of poems and the author associated with them, both of which were called Hanshan, or Cold Mountain. On Cold Mountain: A Buddhist Reading of the Hanshan Poems (University of Washington Press, 2015) presents and proposes what it calls a “Buddhist approach to poetry”: rather than focusing on the intentions of the author in reading poetry, it offers a way of thinking about the importance of the way a poem is read. Pt. 1 of the book introduces readers to the history of, and some of the technical issues surrounding, the Hanshan poems: its prefatory material, later debates about its authenticity, arguments in Chinese scholarship about the life and dates of the poet. It also proposes a way that we might think about a “Buddhist poetics.” Pt. 2 of the book looks closely at the overarching themes and rhetoric of the poems themselves, looking at the ways that meaning is made through internal and external juxtapositions, and tracing the tensions between moving and staying, residence and travel, and motifs of “blasted trees,” moons, jewels, beautiful women, and more through the poems. The same year that Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums appeared – 1958 – American poet Gary Snyder published his first translations of Hanshan, and Pt. 3 of Rouzer’s book considers resonances between the Beat and post-Beat writers and the Buddhist rhetoric, imagery, and themes of the Cold Mountain poems. It’s a fascinating book that’s a pleasure to read for both specialist and general readers.

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Mar 14 2016

1hr 4mins

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Rank #4: Makalani Bandele, “Hellfightin'” (Willow Books, 2012)

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There is no better description of poet Makalani Bandele‘s debut book Hellfightin’ (Willow Books, 2012) than the one found on his comprehensive website: “Derived from the nickname the French Army gave the all-Black 369th Infantry Regiment in World War I, the Hellfighters . . . is a tour de force of lyricism, mysticism, jive philosophy, and discursive narrative as blues lick. The title of the book, Hellfightin‘, as a term is best understood in the context of the critical framework of the Blues …” Bandele’s Hellfightin‘, then, is a poetic education in the African American musical, cultural and historical traditions, and one of the latest installments from the famous creative ensemble known as the Affrilachian Poets. Bandele couldn’t be among better company than those poets who seek to bring attention to the black literary tradition within the Appalachian territories. Hellfightin‘ does all that and more. Listen to how Bandele tells us how.

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Mar 19 2012

55mins

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Rank #5: Emily Skaja, "Brute" (Graywolf Press, 2019)

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Winner of the Walt Whitman Award, Emily Skaja’s Brute (Graywolf Press, 2019) is a stunning collection of poetry that navigates the dark corridors of trauma found at the end of an abusive relationship. “Everyone if we’re going to talk about love please we have to talk about violence,” writes Skaja in the poem “remarkable the litter of birds.” She indeed talks about the intersections of both love and violence, evoking a range of emotional experiences ranging from sorrow and loss to rage, guilt, hope, self discovery, and reinvention. These poems reflect the present moment — ripe with cell phones, social media, and technologies that shift the way humans interact with each other — while maintaining a mythic quality, with the speaker feeling like a character struggling to survive in a surreal fairytale world.

Skaja recommends: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russel, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden, and Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

Emily Skaja was born and raised in rural Illinois. Her first book, BRUTE, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets (and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019). She holds an MFA from Purdue University and a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Cincinnati. Emily is the recipient of a 2019 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her poems have been published in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. She is also the Poetry Co-Editor of Southern Indiana Review, and she lives in Memphis.

You can join New Books in Poetry in a discussion of this episode on Shuffle by joining here.

Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. She is the author of Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch (2018) a collection of erasure poems created from the pages of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers, and coauthor of Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press, 2018), a collaborative chapbook written with Laura Madeline Wiseman. She is a cohost of the New Books in Poetry podcast and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and the Horror Writers Association. Learn more at: www.andreablythe.com

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Nov 15 2019

50mins

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Rank #6: Brad Gooch, “Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love” (Harper, 2017)

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Ever since their composition in the 13th century the poems of the Persian writer Rumi have enthralled millions of readers around the world. In Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love (Harper, 2017), Brad Gooch describes the life of their author and the path that took him from scholarship to poetry. The son of a scholar and cleric, Rumi traveled extensively as a child and enjoyed a wide-ranging education that prepared him for a life as a teacher and jurist. His meeting with the traveling mystic Shams of Tabriz transformed Rumi’s life, as he soon abandoned his education and responsibilities in favor of immersion into a life of aestheticism. As Gooch explains, it was this relationship which sparked Rumi’s development into the poet he became, as his deep and passionate relationship with Shams created a wellspring of emotions that were subsequently embodied in some of the most enduring verses ever written.

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Jun 08 2017

48mins

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Rank #7: Nancy Hargrove, “T.S. Eliot’s Parisian Year” (University of Florida Press, 2010)

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When it comes to writers and artists, biography plays a provocative role–yielding insight into both artistic influences and origins. This is especially true with the modernists, in particular T.S. Eliot. After graduating from Harvard University in 1910, the young Eliot spent a year in Paris, a year that had a lasting and profound effect upon his work that has gone largely unexamined until now.


In her riveting intellectual biography, T.S. Eliot’s Parisian Year, Nancy Duvall Hargrove, the William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English at Mississippi State University, revisits that single year in the poet’s life to mine it for later influences.


While this period is often interpreted to be typical of the early 20th century post-graduate foreign study experience, Hargrove invites us view it as extra-ordinary. Linking Eliot’s work to the Ballets Russes, the music of Stravinsky and the intellectual tension ofLaNouvelle Revue Francaise, she demonstrates the rare coming together of an artist and the art of his time to form “un present parfait.”


It was a year that influenced not only his poetry but also his prose. As Hargrove writes, the theater Eliot encountered while in Paris “may have been the inspiration for the difficult dramatic goal which Eliot later set for himself: to write verse drama in an age conditioned to prose and to write of spiritual and moral concerns in an age largely devoid of and unsympathetic to them.”


But perhaps most impressive- especially to any lover of Paris- is Hargrove’s meticulous recreation of the city as it was then. Through chapters on sport, popular entertainment, transportation, etc., she elegantly situates the young poet amid a city so alive it seems to strain against the page. The end result is a book that leaves the reader longing for both the poetry and Paris.

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Jun 15 2012

1hr 1min

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Rank #8: Christopher Grobe, “The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV” (NYU Press, 2017)

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Christopher Grobe’s The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV (New York University Press, 2017) traces the ways the performance of confession permeated and transformed a wide range of media in postwar America. Grobe explores how confession—from the confessional poets of the 1960s to contemporary reality TV—is both constructed and authentic, artful even in its ostensible artlessness, and always on the move between and across media. The work’s archive is expansive, placing in conversation poetry, performance art, comedy, legal confession, film, and reality TV, genres whose conventions transform and whose boundaries blur when confronted with artists impulses to confess, to stage what Grobe calls “breakthroughs” out of both generic and sociocultural containment. Laying bare the ways confessional performances are stylized and mediated to elicit “a satiety of experience which can be taken as reality” while taking seriously artists’ attempts to reveal and perform an authentic self, Grobe demonstrates how confession energizes new ways of being, forms of collectivity, and political mobilization.

Christopher Grobe is an Assistant Professor of English at Amherst College where he teaches a wide range of courses on drama, poetics, performance, and performance culture and theory.

Petal Samuel is a postdoctoral fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. She is completing Polluting the Soundscape: Noise Control and Afro-Caribbean Women’s Decolonial Soundscapes, a book project that traces the evolution of noise legislation and public discourses decrying noise as technologies of racial control in the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora, while highlighting the ways Afro-Caribbean women writers have reclaimed noise against the grain of colonial injunctions to remain quiet as a condition of civic inclusion.

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Feb 16 2018

1hr 10mins

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Rank #9: Joyce Ashuntantang, "A Basket of Flaming Ashes" (African Books Collective, 2010)

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Joyce Ashuntantang talks about her experiences as a traveler and a poet, from her childhood Cameroon to her years studying in Great Britain and the United States. Ashuntantang is a professor of English at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. She is the author of many works of poetry, including A Basket of Flaming Ashes.

Ashuntantang is an extraordinary weaver of words who showcases vivid pictures that compete with 3D simulation. Her greatest asset is her use of the beautiful traditional Cameroonian anchor that evokes folk tales with its moonlight romance and glory. You feel, laugh, weep, shiver, wonder, and hail the triumphant spirit of the persona as it navigates African postcolonial and global experiences with the melancholy of an exile who is purposeful, strategic, and a lot of fun.

Michael F. Robinson is professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. He's the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and The Lost White Tribe: Scientists, Explorers, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (Oxford University Press, 2016). He's also the host of the podcast Time to Eat the Dogs, a weekly podcast about science, history, and exploration.

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Dec 20 2019

44mins

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Rank #10: Simon Critchley, “ABC of Impossibility” (Univocal Publishing, 2015)

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From its opening fragment on “Fragments” to its “Possibly dolorous tropical lyrical coda,” Simon Critchley‘s new book is a pleasure to hold in the hand and the mind. ABC of Impossibility (Univocal Publishing, 2015) is a collection of fragments and a catalog of “impossible objects”: poetry, America, emptiness, indirection, money, and more. Thoughts and jokes and quotes and small essays ranging from one line to several pages are arranged in a sequence that plays with unusual juxtapositions and acts as a form of “counterpoint,” riffing on and playing off of the work of Pessoa and Augustine and Rousseau and Blake and Heidegger and others. This is a thoughtful and playful book about time, and the sea, and humor, and loss, and slavery, and the importance of unlearning. Highly recommended!

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Mar 07 2016

1hr 5mins

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Rank #11: Megan Burns, "Basic Programming" (Lavender Ink, 2018)

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Basic Programming ( Lavender Ink, 2018), the latest collection by Megan Burns, is an exercise in balance. Between grief and healing. Between humanness and technology. Between examination and acceptance. Building from her brother's death and journeying through her grieving process, Burns guides readers into her heart and back out the other side, all of us changed and inquisitive after learning just what it means to be who we are both as people and programs. 

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Feb 21 2019

33mins

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Rank #12: Sally Wen Mao, "Oculus" (Graywolf Press, 2019)

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In Oculus (Graywolf Press, 2019), Sally Wen Mao explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology. The title poem follows a girl in Shanghai who uploaded her suicide onto Instagram. Other poems cross into animated worlds, examine robot culture, and haunt a necropolis for electronic waste. A fascinating sequence speaks in the voice of international icon and first Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong, who travels through the history of cinema with a time machine, even past her death and into the future of film, where she finds she has no progeny. With a speculative imagination and a sharpened wit, Mao powerfully confronts the paradoxes of seeing and being seen, the intimacies made possible and ruined by the screen, and the many roles and representations that women of color are made to endure in order to survive a culture that seeks to consume them.

“I’ve tried to hard to erase myself.

That iconography—my face

in Technicolor, the manta ray

eyelashes, the nacre and chignon.

I’ll bet four limbs they’d cast me as another

Mongol slave. I will blow a hole

in the airwaves, duck lasers in my dugout.

I’m done kidding them. Today I fly

the hell out in my Chrono-Jet.”

— from “Anna May Wong Fans Her Time Machine”

Sally Wen Mao is the author of Oculus (Graywolf Press, 2019) and Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). Her work won a 2017 Pushcart Prize and is published or forthcoming in A Public Space, Poetry, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, The Missouri Review, Tin House, The Best of the Net 2014, and The Best American Poetry 2013, among others. The recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, the New York Public Library Cullman Center, and Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Mao holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University. Learn more at: www.sallywenmao.com.

Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. She is the author of Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch (2018) a collection of erasure poems created from the pages of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers, and coauthor of Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press, 2018), a collaborative chapbook written with Laura Madeline Wiseman. She is cohost of the New Books in Poetry podcast, serves as an associate editor for Zoetic Press, and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. Learn more at: www.andreablythe.com

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May 22 2019

51mins

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Rank #13: Leia Penina Wilson, “i built a boat with all the towels in your closet” (Red Hen Press, 2014)

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There’s a phrase that sometimes comes up among those of us who love poetry. Its called the “heresy of paraphrase.” It’s from a book published in 1947 by Cleanth Brooks titled The Well Wrought Urn, but it captures an idea that goes back to Aristotle. And this is the idea: a poem–at least a good poem–is a finally crafted work of art, and the way its crafted, the way its words are structured, is intrinsic to its meaning. You can’t paraphrase a poem. You can’t say it really means or basically means this or that, like you can with other sorts of communication, without distorting it, because how a poem uses language is as important as what its language conveys. In a poem, form and content are inseparable.


This view of poetry is the reason those of us who love poetry end up running to our bookshelves in the middle of a dinner party and pulling down our favorite poems and reading them aloud to our unsuspecting guests, because once you mention a poem you love, it doesn’t only feel inaccurate to say its about this or that, it feels like a kind of heresy, like your clumsy paraphrase is damaging it. And that’s exactly how I feel about the poet I’m interviewing today. Leia Penina Wilson’s new book is called i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown) (Red Hen Press, 2014). And if your ear or your mind popped a little when I said that title, that’s because even her titles are poetry. Here’s another title: “she eats his heart she has two hearts she doesn’t know which one to use she begins to call the second heart ‘little baby’ or ‘blitzkrieg.'”


As you can hear, the sheer verbal energy, the grammatical verve and irreverent jolts, of her language are dazzling, surprising, unparaphrasable, and if you happened to find yourself at my house for dinner, you’d be hearing me read it over more than one glass of wine. Fortunately, we have her here.

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Mar 21 2017

50mins

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Rank #14: Hope Wabuke, “Movement No. 1: Trains” (Dancing Girl Press, 2015)

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The poem fragments in Hope Wabuke‘s Movement No. 1: Trains (Dancing Girl Press, 2015) function more as meditations than portions of a whole. They meditate on movement’s power over the body and mind. What are the vessels that carry our bodies through cities, from home to beyond? Who are the people inhabiting our thoughts, moving our mind from idea to emotion to dream?


the city is color electric, neon; the humming static pulsing


further away. and she understands the way a charge moves through


air in the meeting of two bodies, but she does not understand the


afterwards, the pressing of a thing into the shape of something else.


These poems appear gentle but do not be deceived by the calm voice. Trains shudder and jolt, tracks shift and bump. There is a recognition of longing present each time the beloved is invoked, and a reluctant understanding that when in motion, the familiar becomes foreign.

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Oct 21 2015

13mins

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Rank #15: Nick Admussen, “Recite and Refuse: Contemporary Chinese Prose Poetry” (U Hawaii Press, 2016)

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Published by the University of Hawaii Press in 2016, Nick Admussen’s exciting new book Recite and Refuse: Contemporary Chinese Prose Poetry explores the development of twentieth-century prose poetry within the unique political and cultural context of Communist China. In this ambitious study, Admussen attempts not only to define prose poetry but also to trace its ever-shifting role in modern Chinese society. In doing so, he produces a study which comprehensively analyses the dynamic manner in which Chinese prose poetry engages with a range of diverse cultural discourses, including science, popular culture and political rhetoric. Throughout the book, Admussen foregrounds the protean nature of the genre by exploring how prose poetry has been used by poets working both within and outside of official Communist Party strictures. Moreover, he identifies Chinese prose poetry as a unique tradition, distinct from Euro-American manifestations of the genre. In addition to these insightful analyses, Recite and Refuse also contains a number of original translations of important Chinese prose poems, including Ouyang Jianghe’s stunning “Hanging Coffin”.


Miranda Corcoran received her PhD in 2016 from University College Cork, where she currently teaches American literature. Her research interests include Cold-War literature, genre fiction, literature and psychology, and popular culture. She has published articles on paranoia, literature, and Cold-War popular culture in The Boolean, Americana, and Transverse, and contributed a book chapter on transnational   paranoia to the recently published book Atlantic Crossings: Archaeology, Literature, and Spatial Culture.

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Apr 11 2018

1hr 2mins

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Rank #16: Frances Donovan, "Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore" (Reaching Press, 2018)

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Grey Held writes of Frances Donovan's book, Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore (Reaching Press 2018 ), "there is hunting for love, there is basking in love, there is longing." This collection offers all of these things. It examines what it is to love romantically, sexually, as a friend, and as a resident of the world. It pulls us down into the micro-moments of our lives and then catapults us out into the universe. In this episode, we touch upon marginalization, hope for inclusion, the writer's journey, and how we come to the page on our own terms.

Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore was named a finalist in the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards. Her publication credits include The Rumpus, Snapdragon, and SWWIM. An MFA candidate at Lesley University, she is a certified Poet Educator with Mass Poetry and has appeared as a featured reader at numerous venues. She once drove a bulldozer in a GLBT Pride parade while wearing a bustier and combat boots. You can find her climbing hills in Boston and online at www.gardenofwords.com.

Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Athena Dixon is a writer and editor. She is Founder of Linden Avenue Literary Journal. Athena's work has appeared in various publications both online and in print. She has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Athena has attended workshops with Callaloo, V.O.N.A., and Tin House. She is a member of the Moving Forewards Memoir Writers Collective. She is the author of No God In This Room (Argus House Press). Her work also appears in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Books). She writes, edits, and resides in Philadelphia.

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Apr 24 2019

44mins

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Rank #17: Amy Wright, “Cracker Sonnets” (BrickRoad Poetry Press, 2016)

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My grandmother, who’s now ninety-eight, lived most of her life in a little town in Southwestern Ohio called Waynesville. The town has reinvented itself in the last few years as a destination for antiquers wiling to pay top-dollar for what she might call junk, but when she was there the town was the small center of a lot of small family farms, including her own. In her years there, she helped run the farm, started a dry-cleaning business, drove the school bus, served as an EMT and worked in the sheriff’s office. She was one of the folks everyone knew. On Sundays, she cooked biscuits for the prisoners in the local penitentiary. For me, growing up, she was just grandma. I didn’t realize the richness of her character until years later, with age and distance, maybe even a little wisdom.


In her latest poetry collection, Amy Wright takes this kind of realization and transforms it into powerful, moving, and often times hilarious art. She was raised in the Appalachian region of Southwest Virginia, and her poems, which she calls Cracker Sonnets (BrickRoad Poetry Press, 2016), bring this region and its characters to life. Jax Ovie, Virginia Leabus, Coralee Robins, Leda Burke, Belle Neely, and Edna Culpepper, these are just a few of the folks whose daily grinds and deep affections fill Wright’s poems. And as you can tell from these names alone, Wright portrays her people with what you’d hope from a poet: lyric delight.

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Aug 18 2016

49mins

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Rank #18: Joshua Edwards, “Imperial Nostalgias” (Ugly Duckling Press, 2013)

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Joshua Edwards‘ new book and its title, Imperial Nostalgias (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013), hint at a yearning for a lost world all of us helped to destroy or at the very least forgot. While tipping his hat to the social sciences throughout the book, Imperial Nostalgias is cunningly personal: each page is an intimate window to look out of, a window to take siesta in, a window to shout from, to lean beyond, but never a window to leap from because the poems don’t harass the reader into annihilation. Instead, they are oddly charming and innocent, perhaps a counter-force to what his eye must behold. Most of his poems are like games of tag between imagery and aphorism, between abstraction and the concrete, and this is the direct result of a person devoted to travel, which Imperial Nostalgias seems a direct result of.


In fact, when I finished the book, I felt like I hadn’t talked to another person in weeks, as if sitting on a cross-country train ride as the subjects of his poems flashed by: the historical – literary and otherwise – until that moment at dusk when the landscape darkened into the candor of personal meditation. The poet’s voice reflects the plain vernacular of talking to oneself, that most humble act, while simultaneously making the same voice sound as if it desires to be heard by all. Imperial Nostalgias is the labor of a frenzied (but measured) poet and the book reflects this in its restless pursuits: not only do we discover poetry in the book, but strange photographs and severe fragments of language that also accompany us on our reading journey. And not only are these vagrant busy pieces made strange by being collected as one, but the book itself – this bounded object – worked equally strange on me as a reader: because of its modest size I found myself preferring to carry the book in my back pocket and since inside the book several empty panels of white space exist, I found myself drawing and writing inside Imperial Nostagias, and by doing so the book became an amicable traveling companion. It is in this experience when I discovered Joshua Edwards’ generosity as an artist. While his work made solitude palpable for me, at some mysterious point I discovered the poet was with me the entire time I thought I was alone. During our discussion we talk about the relationship between travel and poetry, the genesis of his latest book, the conundrum of being both American and a poet, and so much more. I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did.

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May 27 2013

1hr 7mins

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Rank #19: Lynn Strongin, “The Burn Poems” (Headmistress Press, 2015)

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When Denise Levertov called Lynn Strongin a “true poet,” she recognized an awareness that transcended the young poet’s age. This very human awareness can come with suffering. Inflicted with Polio as a child, Strongin speaks with a voice that understands states of varied ability, that knows real pain, and has navigated the way relationships change in the face of illness.


Composed entirely in singlets, The Burn Poems (Headmistress Press, 2015) pull at strings of understanding until meaning has unraveled and reassembled itself. There is a longing that emanates the pieces, a longing well-learned and well-developed that shifts its focus, but never loses intensity.


I want her to stay


Close


Not paralyzed like me


But content in her apron of photography: printed, filmic security


The image holy, holy, holy.


Bliss comes like flare of lit match


And can be blown out as quickly:


By word


It is rare for one to realize their conversation is inhabiting a moment of history-yet-to-come as it actively engages the present. When speaking with Strongin, I heard a voice that has resonated for generations and will continue to resonate for many to come. She has tapped into the undeniable, fragile force that makes us human and she allows that well-spring to flow.

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Oct 27 2015

21mins

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Rank #20: Lyric Hunter “Swallower” (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014)

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Chapbookapalooza, 2014

Lyric Hunter

Swallower


Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014


Mastering a bi-lingual prosody, these poems confront the idea of “city” and our romanticizing of containers. They show a brilliant mind disassembling trite societal structures.

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Sep 05 2014

13mins

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