This week South Australian poet SB Wright gets real about the fact that perfect poetry doesn’t happen the moment the pen hits the page. Sean’s spending a year focusing on poetry, which leads us to Ira Glass’s advice on the gap between taste and ability, William Stafford’s A Way of Writing, fixed vs. growth mindsets and Jo Bell’s poetry checklist.
After looking at Kay Ryan’s A Certain Kind of Eden, we also dare to approach the A Word (…accessible), which leads me to rant on a favourite topic: Al Filreis’s distinction between (Walt) Whitmanian and (Emily) Dickinsonian poems.
To end Sean reads his poem Black Snake Driving, and we talk about how it came together and why Sean decided to open up about the process of getting to publication.
A grab-bag of thoughts about the awe-inspiring (but not at all intimidating) Olena Kalytiak Davis and my ideas on how to approach a poet/poem for the first time. Check out:
This week I had fun chatting to Sydney-based poet Benjamin Dodds, author of Regulator published by Puncher and Wattman. We get a window into his current project about ‘ethically troubling scientific discoveries’, then hear the prose poem Ape by Russell Edson. (Put down your breakfast while listening to this one.)
Benjamin also reads his beautiful poem Surrogacy. Next we cover how he shares work with Stuart Barnes, ask why Billy Collins might have a Coldplay problem, and reveal how Tori Amos got us through high school.
This week I’m attempting to answer a listener question: How do I get into poetry?
Poems in this week’s episode:
- Stopping by woods on a snowy evening by Robert Frost
- One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
- Burning Sappho by Gwen Harwood
- Lucky by Dorothy Porter
- praise song by Nate Marshall
Bonus poems (if you’ve got other ideas for starter poems, let me know!):
- We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks
- The Lyrebird by David Brooks
- My Country by Dorothea McKellar
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
- Growing a Bear by Hannah Gamble
You can find plenty of qualified peeps ready to guide you into poetry on Coursera, edX, Poetry Foundation, iTunesU (check out Open Yale Courses to start with) and YouTube (here’s a great lecture on Eliot’s The Wasteland).
This week I got to talk with Lisa Brockwell about three poems that play with the theme of ‘the girl in the poet and the poet in the girl’. We also cover why it’s important to keep reading even when the poems go quiet, the question of poetry ‘scenes’ and, importantly, HBO’s Looking.
This week’s poems: