Ep 106. David Brooks on opening

‘Some of the things we hold most dear about poetry may be things that we have to clear our minds of, in order that we see other things more clearly.’

After admiring his work for many years, I had the chance to talk with David Brooks at his home in the Blue Mountains back in June. We talked about his latest book The Grass Library (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2019) along with the role of poetry in his life today, how he sees his previous collections, animal rights, ancient Chinese poetry, recognition and more.

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Ep 105. A found poem for spring

Look, I don’t love e e cummings. But his influence is hard to ignore completely (even if I have ignored it for 104 episodes). Here I look at a poem of his – found handwritten in a very old anthology – and talk a little about springtime, legacy, old-school avant-gardism and future echoes.

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Ep 104. Pam Brown: Skeptical optimism in a post-human age

Plastic orchids, a foggy morning, the differences between ‘basically’ and ‘literally’ – Pam Brown could make any material into a poem and it would somehow work. It was an absolute joy to talk to Pam about what she’s reading, how Sydney continues to change, how she puts her poems together, what it is to write poetry in the early 21st century, and what the purposes of such an activity might be.

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Ep 103. Finally reading Donald Hall

I’ve resisted reading Donald Hall for so long, probably as a misguided act of loyalty to my favourite poet, Donald’s late wife Jane Kenyon. Recently I was given his book A Blue Wing Tilts At The Edge Of The Sea and finally opened it up to find another view on Hall and Kenyon’s relationship through the poem ‘Long Days’.

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Ep 102. Chris Wallace-Crabbe on ‘Rondo’

In this conversation, Chris Wallace-Crabbe discusses his latest collection, Rondo, which brings together around a decade’s worth of new writing. He talks about how the collection tracks parts of his family history, the use of language that defines his work, his experiences as an Australian poet living in the US, and how poems come to him.

Ep 101. Letting go of poetry books

My dear friend Eleanor Smagarinsky is one of the most dillegent readers I know. In this episode, we talk through the books she’s considering letting go of, but none of these decisions are easy…

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Ep 100. Louise Carter interviews Alice Allan

Through making 100 episodes of Poetry Says I’ve had the chance to talk to almost 50 poets from Australia and elsewhere about how they work and the poets they love. Louise Carter was one of the first to take a chance on my new venture (and since came back for a repeat visit!).

In this episode she turns the tables on me and we talk about putting together our first collections, trying/failing to be Helen Garner, gradually becoming more visible, and our disproportionate reactions to office kitchens.

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Ep 98. Jeanine Leane: Education, representation and unasked questions

Talking with Jeanine Leane gave me so much to think about. We covered what it was like to study and write in Canberra in the 1980s, the role of writing groups in her writing process, the difference between racism and white privilege, the understanding (or lack thereof) of Indigenous Australians amongst settler critics and publishers, and the questions she never gets asked in interviews.

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Ep 97. What makes poets lucky

My favourite poem – ever – is Dorothy Porter’s ‘Lucky’. In this episode I talk about why it matters so much to me and what it is to have someone who’ll make you coffee while you’re trying to decide where the hell to put that line break.

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