UK-based psychotherapist Steve Wasserman sees poetry as having a kind of medicinal power, especially when memorised. We chat about using memorisation to step outside the churn of the mind, then Steve recites the very tricky Wallace Stevens poem Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour (newly memorised!).
Sydney poets Benjamin Dodds and Mran-Maree Laing were brave enough to let me record while we workshopped three unpublished poems. We wanted to show what the workshop process can be like for those who might feel intimidated by the idea. I think the result is pretty representative of what a top-notch workshop can do for a poem. It was such a pleasure to share work with these two fantastic writers!
Grab yourself a beverage, pull up a chair and listen in as I ask Toby Fitch to help me understand Rimbaud, figure out where the keys to poetry are hiding and keep my sense of humour about me along the way. Toby reads us a new, very funny poem during this chat and talks a little bit about his latest manuscript-in-progress, along with how he finds ways to make writing happen alongside everything else.
For my 50th episode I wanted to talk about how I got started with this podcast, which took me back to a pretty painful decision point in my life. These are the poems (and quotes) that helped me stop being so busy, sit down and actually make something.
In an episode that spans countries, languages and histories, Melbourne poet Gemma Mahadeo shares the poem Calypso History Lesson from Fred D’Aguiar’s book The Rose of Toulouse. We start off with some thoughts on Ted Hughes’ Crow before D’Aguiar’s poem takes us in all sorts of directions, from Hansonism to urban foxes to West Indian cricket commentary.
Benjamin Solah can recite a calendar of upcoming spoken word gigs from memory. We talk about what spoken word actually is (or might be), whether there’s a particular slam style, how politics plays into this kind of poetry and why you should just get up there and perform at the next open mic.