Ep 49. Gemma Mahadeo on Ted Hughes and Fred D’Aguiar

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.

Show notes

  • The Vulture Goddess from Fred D’Aguiar’s American Vulture.
  • The Story in History: interview with D’Aguiar on the place of history in his work.
  • ‘There is no sophistry in my body: / My manners are tearing off heads – ’ is from Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes.

Ep 48. Benjamin Solah on spoken word in Melbourne

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.

Show notes

Ep 47. Jack Spicer channels the Martians

Can poems really be ‘dictated’ from somewhere outside the poet? Or is this just a slice of California woo? In his 1965 lecture series Jack Spicer had opinions, and plenty of ’em.

Show notes

Ep 46. Imposter syndrome

Louise Carter and I get real about feeling like frauds. Why do poets sometimes end up with what’s known as ‘imposter syndrome’? And can we get past it enough to enjoy our accomplishments? Whether you’re new to writing poetry or a widely published poet, I think there’ll be something in this one for you.

Bonus: The day after reading that difficult poem…

I check back in with Eleanor 24 hours after we finished our recording about Emily Berry’s The End. What did she learn? How did she feel?

We chat about getting back into reading poetry after a break, feeling like being an outsider/insider and feeling like you may have got it ‘wrong’.

Shout out to Jen Campbell for her fantastic YouTube review of Emily Berry’s Stranger, Baby!

Ep 45. Getting into poetry: Reading a ‘difficult’ poem for the first time

Are poets who write ‘difficult’ poems being intentionally obtuse? Are they trying to hide something? How on earth do you approach poems like these for the first time?

Today I chat with ModPo classmate and friend Eleanor about Emily Berry’s The End, just out in Poetry magazine. We make our way through a totally unprepared first reading of the poem’s first few lines.

Ready for more? Here’s a bonus follow-up with Eleanor’s thoughts on this poem after doing some further research. And you can also check out Jacket2’s First Readings.